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Sergio Garcia hits a 675 yard 'Whack from the Track'
January 20, 2010

European Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia fired a 675 yard drive in the inaugural 'Whack from the Track' golf challenge at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit, host of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, at the invitation of Etihad Airways, a diamond sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

To celebrate the airline's partnership with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and on the eve of the tournament, 'El Niño' drove a golf ball along the longest straight of the Yas Marina Circuit, attempting to beat the Asian long drive record of 721 yards set by Sweden's Henrik Stenson in 2007.

Sergio Garcia's Abu Dhabi 'Whack from the Track'
Sergio fell 46 yards short of Henrik Stenson's record - but Stenson was standing on an A330 wing. Sergio's 675 yard drive was a gentle draw (the ball can be seen directly over the tee in the mat).

Although unsuccessful in beating Henrik's record, Sergio said: "This is certainly one of the most fun golf challenges I have been involved in and it was a great way to prepare for the tournament. The circuit is incredible and while I did not beat Henrik on this occasion, I do intend to do everything I can to win here in Abu Dhabi this week. I also hope that Fernando Alonso will win for Ferrari later this year when he drives in the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix."

The 'Whack from the Track' challenge follows Etihad's hugely successful 'Swing from the Wing' challenge, a long drive competition from the wing of an A330 aircraft held from 2005 to 2007, where Henrik's record was set, and last year's 'Shot from the Yacht' event, where US Masters champion Trevor Immelman took part in hitting ten golf balls from the super-yacht 'Aviva' over the sea and onto a putting green in the grounds of the Emirates Palace Hotel.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways' chief commercial officer, said: "Etihad is proud to offer innovative events around its sponsorships and each year we have created a different golf challenge with one of the game's top stars. This year is no exception, and with our sponsorship of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we are particularly excited that Sergio could participate in the challenge at the Yas Marina Circuit. We wish him well in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship."

As well as taking part in the 'Whack from the Track' challenge, Sergio met students from the British School Al Khubairat, who were present as part of Etihad's "My First Golf Lesson" promotion, and also participated in a Par 3 challenge where he had to hit 'from Abu Dhabi to Tokyo', as part of Etihad's promotional launch of their new Japanese route.

Etihad's involvement with the Championship is one of the many high-profile sports sponsorships for the airline and complements existing partnerships with the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari F1 Team, Manchester City Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club and the GAA All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships.

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi, and currently offers flights to 60 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and Asia.


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