For the Golf Challenge with Rory McIlroy, the eternal ice on the Jungfraujoch was transformed into a golf course. A grandstand, a driving range and a nine-hole scoring wall were set up. Today, Thursday, 4 October, Golf star Rory McIlroy demonstrated how accurate he is in a direct duel with three Swiss U16 junior talents. Over a distance of around 30 metres, the 29-year-old Northern Irishman and four-time major champion struck the balls deliberately into the holes in the scoring wall.
Promising young talents
He was challenged by three Swiss golf talents, who this morning won the pre-qualification featuring 18 participants from the Bern, Wylihof, Limpachtal, Neuchâtel, St. Apollinaire and Interlaken-Unterseen golf clubs. With a great performance on the Jungfraujoch they were able to show their role model that they wanted to follow in his footsteps one day.
Rory McIlroy is the second golfer ever to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money list. After the Golf Challenge, the OMEGA brand ambassador answered questions from the global media. The current number 11 in the world rankings joked that he usually plays “on much greener greens” and then expressed his admiration for the young players: “They are so incredibly focused and determined to win. Life on the tour is high pressure, but they clearly have the skills and the right attitude to succeed in professional sport”. More than 100 travelling journalists from Asia, Europe, America and Switzerland witnessed the Challenge on the Top of Europe. The event was hosted by the popular Swiss presenter and beauty queen Christa Rigozzi.
A well-rehearsed team
Jungfrau Railways boss Urs Kessler was there and attempted a tee shot on the glacier golf course. Kessler admitted: “My handicap is not enough for a star like Rory McIlroy. However, thanks to the partnership with OMEGA, Jungfrau Railways are proud to welcome one of the most successful golfers to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. The coverage of the travelling media will further increase the awareness of our destination in Asia and Europe.” Raynald Aeschlimann was also enthusiastic: “For me, the pleasure is threefold. In addition to the pleasure of watching Rory play, I can experience the future of Swiss golf. Add to that the Jungfraujoch, a literally breathtaking place.”
Federer, McIlroy and…
Several sports events have already been held with world-famous athletes on the Jungfraujoch. It was kicked off by the Swiss national football team, followed by the best cricket players from India. The Klitschko brothers, NBA star Tony Parker, sprinter Asafa Powell and none other than tennis ace Roger Federer have since turned heads at the Top of Europe. “After getting a golf pro, Rory McIlroy, for the 11th event, the task will not be easy next year,” admits Urs Kessler, CEO of Jungfrau Railways. It would be a special challenge to bring another internationally known sports magnet to the Aletsch glacier and to find a sport that has never been performed at 3,454 metres above sea level. “I already have some initial ideas, but I won’t tell you any more,” Kessler told media and invited guests with a mysterious smile.