The tournament sees the return of top level European Tour golf to The De Vere Belfry, which was the last European venue to host the Ryder Cup four years ago.
Three heroes from that victorious European Ryder Cup team have already confirmed their presence at this year’s prestigious event – British Masters defending champion Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke, ranked 18 in the world and European Tour Number Three from 2005, Paul McGinley. Other past and present Ryder Cup stars look set to join them from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 May to compete for the £1.8 million prize fund.
Commenting on the unveiling, Darren Clarke said, “The Belfry is synonymous with many of the great things that have happened to European Golf over the last two decades, so it is fitting that once again it is hosting one of our top tournaments.”
Paul McGinley said; “I would like thank Quinn Direct Insurance for taking one of my favourite events of the season back to one of my favourite courses anywhere in the world. The Belfry is renowned for top quality golf and there is bound to be plenty on offer next May. I can’t wait to return to a course which has such wonderful memories for me.”
Quinn Direct Insurance is the general insurance arm of Quinn Group. It was established in Ireland in 1996 and is now a major player in the Irish and UK insurance markets with over 350,000 active policyholders and a workforce of over 1,300. The company had premium income of €473m in 2004 and is expecting premium income of over €600m in 2005. This sponsorship reinforces the company’s position in the UK marketplace as a leading provider of financial services.
The Quinn Group is a multinational organisation with substantial interests in a range of diverse industry sectors including financial services, cement production, the manufacture of related concrete products and hotel and property management and is the owner of The Belfry with De Vere having a management contract to run the hotel for the next 25 years.
Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler, managing director of promoters International Sports Management said, “Ever since we took over the promotion of the British Masters it has been our intention to improve the event year on year. We have been successful in that objective and now with the wonderful support of The Quinn Group the upward graph will continue. It will be bigger and better and I am sure it will attract the best that Europe can offer.”
Colin Morgan, general manager of Quinn Direct Insurance said, “We are delighted to sponsor the British Masters, which we know is one of the pre-eminent events on the European Tour. We are equally pleased that the event will take place at the fantastic Belfry venue that was acquired by Quinn Group in March 2005. We believe that sponsoring the British Masters will further enhance the Quinn-direct brand and allow us to continue to grow our insurance business in the UK.”
George O’Grady, executive director of The European Tour said, “Andrew Chandler’s entrepreneurial skills have seen his ISM group superbly mastermind the continuing growth and progression of the British Masters. We congratulate Andrew on his latest achievement in unveiling Quinn Direct Insurance as the new title sponsors. We also congratulate and thank Quinn Direct Insurance for their commitment which coincides with the 60th playing of this prestigious tournament and the return of Tour competition to The De Vere Belfry where golf has enjoyed many history-making occasions, highlighted, of course, by European Team victories in The Ryder Cup.”
David Webster, general manager of The De Vere Belfry added, “The De Vere Belfry is the perfect venue for world-class events, and we are delighted to be hosting this prestigious tournament. The resort has a very special place in the hearts of many professional golfers as well as keen amateurs and spectators, and we look forward to welcoming them in May 2006.”
The Quinn Direct British Masters www.quinndirectbritishmasters.com