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Kingdom of Bahrain: The European Tours Latest Sandbox

by Jeff Skinner

The European Tour isn’t afraid to take its tournaments to new locations.  They’ll go anywhere that promises to pay the purse.  This week they are in The Kingdom of Bahrain, another of the wealthy little countries that builds golf courses in the middle of their desert.  You know where it is…it’s right up the road Abu Dhabi and a short hop from Qatar.

On the course today at The Volvo Champions, Paul Casey shot 67 to move up four slots and tie Peter Hanson for the lead at 16 under.  The Coolest Guy in Golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez, was back playing with a new putter after finishing yesterdays round putting with his sand wedge after he “accidentally” broke his putter.  He only managed three birdies and has fallen two shots of the lead which he shared yesterday.  Maybe he should go back to his sand wedge and start dropping some more putts. Stay thirsty my friends.

Area: 665 sq km
Population: 698,585 (including over 230,000 expatriates)
Capital City: Manama (Al Manamah)
People: Arab, Muslim majority, of whom some 33% are Sunni and 66% are Shia
Languages: Arabic is the official language; English is widely spoken and is the main commercial language
Religion(s): Islam is the state religion; places of worship for other faiths exist
Currency: Bahraini Dinar (BD); 1 Bahraini Dinar = 1,000 fils (tied to the US dollar)
Major political parties: Political Parties are officially banned but Political Associations have been allowed to expand. These include Islamic groupings (Sunni and Shi’a), as well as secular and liberal associations.
Government: Monarchy with appointed upper and elected lower chambers of Parliament
Head of State: His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa
Crown Prince: His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Prime Minister: His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa
Deputy Prime Ministers: His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa, His Excellency Jawad Al-Arrayed, His Excellency Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa
Foreign Minister: His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa
Membership of international groups/organisations: Arab League, Gulf Co-operation Council, Organisation of the Islamic Conference, United Nations

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