The European Tour will reach a significant milestone this week when the Volvo PGA Championship becomes the 1000th official counting tournament to be played since the Tour’s inaugural event, the Spanish Open at Pals Golf Club on 12 April 1972.
By coincidence, the 1000th tournament falls on the 50th anniversary of the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, from 27-30 May creating a notable landmark week for the Tour at their headquarters on the Wentworth Estate.
Another remarkable coincidence links the first tournament and the 1000th. Antonio Garrido was the winner of the Spanish Open 33 years ago to inaugurate the Tour’s birth, while his son, Ignacio, is defending champion at this week’s 50th Volvo PGA Championship.
During the past 33 years and, taking all 1000 official money tournaments into consideration, European Tour members have played for a remarkable total of more than three quarters of a billion euro – €790,431,959 (£534,272,454) to be exact.
It took 20 seasons to notch up the 500th tournament – the 1991 European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland – but only 13 more to achieve the 1000th.
Over the span of more than three decades, the Tour has visited a total of 34 countries, as diverse as the Czech Republic to the People’s Republic of China. A total of 31 countries have been successful on the Tour with England (201 winners), Spain (127) and Scotland (116) leading the way.
England, with 65, also head the table for the number of different players to have won titles, followed by the United States (44) and Australia (30). The average winning score has been 275 and the average score in relation to par being 12 under. The average winning margin was two strokes and the average cut three over par. In total, the European Tour winners from 1972 to last week’s Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe are, cumulatively, 11,804 under par.
Seve Ballesteros, with 50, has won most titles and has most top ten finishes (170). Sam Torrance has teed up most times – 686 in all before joining the ranks of senior golfers last year. The Scot is currently 76 events ahead Eamonn Darcy of Ireland while England’s Roger Chapman tops the list of active players on The European Tour with 580 appearances on the first tee.
There have been 170 play-offs, 16 of them involving the current European Ryder Cup Captain, Bernhard Langer, who also heads the list for most consecutive cuts made, with 69. Torrance holds the record for most cuts made with 525 to his name.
South African, Dale Hayes, at 18 years and 290 days, is the youngest winner and Ireland’s Des Smyth, at 48 years and 34 days, the oldest.
There have been 548 holes in one – Montgomerie holding the record for the most in Tour competition with eight aces. There have been 45 albatrosses, with 2004 Ryder Cup Vice Captain, Anders Forsbrand of Sweden, heading the competition by making three of that rarest of birds in his professional career.
The European Tour www.europeantour.com