Emirates Golf Club turned pink on day three of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic as players, caddies, staff, and spectators all wore a certain shade of rose to raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer. The initiative is part of the event's traditional Pink Saturday festivities – where even the pin flags are in on the act, taking on a deep pink hue for the day.
With all donations going to Al Jalila Foundation, the likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Ryan Fox, who claimed the tournament's first hole-in-one on Saturday, all donned a range of pink shirts, hats, and ribbons in support of the cause, which aims to highlight the importance of early breast cancer detection and the diversity of treatments available for what is the world's most-commonly diagnosed cancer.
"Obviously, it is a very important charity worldwide and seems like everyone here gets involved," said Fox, after carding a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole. "I've seen a lot of pink – a lot of very bright pink as well! Hopefully it will raise a bit of money and raise some awareness as well."
In Tournament Town, as music played and inflatable attractions swayed, a sea of rose-tinted fans enjoyed the chance to try their hand at crazy golf, putting for prizes, and a swing simulator, all under the watchful gaze of a hot-pink polygonal crocodile designed by French-Tunisian artist Idriss B.
"It's such a fantastic – and worthy – initiative for an important cause," said Amanda Modesto, a Brazilian dressed in a pale pink two-piece dress suit attending the tournament with her daughter Aquira, who sported a pink winged-dinosaur outfit. "As much as there is the whole golf side of things, there is also that social element and so much for families to do: the bouncy castle, the running wall, the painting area... we are loving it."
A pink flower wall adorned with roses and facts about breast cancer also attracted much attention as people wrote supportive messages before posing, pouting, and posting photos on social media. Messages included: "Girls can do anything!" and "Be confident, strong, and happy!"
"The reason we came wearing our pink turbans today is to raise awareness of breast cancer and show our support for Al Jalila Foundation," said Indian Baraj Kohli, attending the Slync.io Desert Classic with his father Moshe, a former captain at Emirates Golf Club. "It's a very significant foundation because it helps the colour pink become a symbol for a very important cause – and one that is of urgent importance."
With 1.4 million women diagnosed with breast cancer each year and one in eight diagnosed in their lifetime according to the World Health Organisation, the Al Jalila Foundation has invested more than Dh8 million into life-saving treatment and research.
"The engagement Pink Saturday has generated this year has been great to see," said Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director of Falcon & Associates, organisers of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. "Raising awareness about breast cancer is so important, the way everybody has embraced the initiative makes us all very proud."
The Rolex Series Event's final day will see the off-course focus switch to the environment as the event's inaugural Sustainability Sunday showcases the tournament's ecological efforts, which fall under four themes: waste, transport, energy, and legacy. Players have already taken part in a symbolic seed planting of the Ghaf tree, the national tree of the UAE.
Other initiatives include a switch to digital ticketing to save paper, a campaign to encourage the use of metro and public transport by spectators, and the replacement of on-course plastic bottles with refillable options.
For more information about the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic, please visit: https://www.slyncdubaidesertclassic.com/