October 8, 2016: Oman’s lone representative at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Incheon, Azzan Al Rumhi has more than golf to keep him occupied as the father-of-two keeps an eye on his day jobs – running an Indian restaurant and a pool construction business.
Now 32 the Muscat-based businessman looks a decade younger and is his country’s sole player at the AAC for a second year after making his debut alongside compatriot Hamood Al Harthy two years ago in Melbourne where a second-round 74 remains his championship highlight.
Despite missing the cut for a third year Al Rumhi was delighted to have played in Incheon where he also represented Oman at the 2014 Asian Games. He admits, however, that golf is not the priority it once was.
“I’ve now got two businesses. One is an urban Indian restaurant in Muscat and I’ve had that for a year. It’s Indian cuisine but very casual and contemporary, not a typical Indian restaurant. The year before it opened I went to India to recruit the cook and the whole kitchen team and service team. The plan is to have a few more branches in 2017,” Al Rumhi said.
“The other business is a swimming pool construction company. We build swimming pools and water fountains. I didn’t found that. I became a 50-50 partner with a foreigner in Oman who founded the company. I don’t have any other businesses – that’s more than enough.”
Al Rumhi’s diversity of businesses is matched by the diversity of his sporting pedigree. As a youngster he represented Oman in tennis before focusing on golf.
“I represented Oman in the junior tennis team for four years and then switched to golf in 1998. It was my dad who encouraged me to take up the game,” said Al Rumhi who was married in 2008 and has a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.
“I did get to scratch but right now my handicap is 3.1 as I’m kind of busy with business and the family. Last year I got my wife to come with me to the AAC in Hong Kong which was nice. I’m Oman’s only player here but I recognise quite a few players from the last two events and many also played in the last Asian Games.”
Al Rumhi is proud of the growing golf industry in Oman and the country’s increasing importance as a host of professional events.
Following the lead of The European Tour’s Road to Dubai, The European Challenge Tour launched the Road to Oman in 2015 and early next month the circuit will culminate with the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Muscat for a second year.
“Right now we have four golf courses but we didn’t have any until 2009. People used to play on sand and hit off mats so that’s how I started playing,” Al Rumhi said.
“Because I’m in the national team I get to play at all of the courses but my home club is Ghala Golf Club which this month is hosting the Ghala Open on the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Golf Tour. I’m looking forward to that. And yes, I hope to be at the next AAC in New Zealand if I qualify.”