The European Senior Tour will return to Italy after a six year absence with the announcement of the 2016 Italian Senior Open at Golf Club Udine.
Taking place from October 21-23, the new €350,000 tournament is part of the commitment to European golf made by the successful Italian 2022 Ryder Cup bid. It will be the penultimate event of the 2016 season, providing the final opportunity to qualify for the season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.
The Italian Senior Open will be the first time a Senior Tour event has been played in Italy since the 2010 Sicilian Senior Open, won by Spaniard Domingo Hospital, and will be the ninth Senior Tour event to have been played on Italian soil.
It is the second new event on the 2016 Senior Tour schedule, joining the Willow Senior Golf Classic which was announced last month.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “We are delighted to announce the Italian Senior Open which follows the Willow Senior Golf Classic as a new event on our 2016 schedule.
“Italy has a rich history on the Senior Tour, having previously hosted eight events and produced our 2007 Rookie of the Year, Costantino Rocca, who of course has played such a pivotal role in the country’s golf heritage as their first Ryder Cup player.
“We are delighted that the successful 2022 Ryder Cup bid has led to this event and we are looking forward to returning to Italy in October.”
Franco Chimenti, President of the Italian Golf Federation, added: “I am very happy to announce that the Italian Senior Open tournament will take place at the Golf Club Udine which represents the perfect location to host such a prestigious event.
“I want to thank Golf Club Udine President Gabriele Lualdi as I believe that he and his staff, together with the Italian Golf Federation Committee, will host a high-level tournament.
“The Italian region of Friuli proves once again to be an area where golf is constantly growing. The introduction of the Senior Tour within the schedule of the Italian Pro Tour shows the will of the Italian Golf Federation to emphasise the champions who have made history in this sport.
“Our path towards the 2022 Ryder Cup is connected with promotional events like the Italian Senior Open.”
Italy was confirmed as the 2022 Ryder Cup hosts at the end of last year following an extensive Bid Process.
The biennial contest will be staged on the Continent of Europe for the third time and will be held at The Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, 17km from the centre of Rome.
As well as helping to secure the Italian Senior Open, the successful bid also included a hugely significant commitment to the Italian Open in terms of guaranteeing a €7 million prize fund for the championship for 11 years, beginning in 2017. In 2016, the prize fund will double from its current figure of €1.5 million to a minimum of €3 million.
Rocca became the first Italian golfer to play in the Ryder Cup in 1993 and also featured in 1995 and 1997, while more recently, brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari have represented Europe in the contest against the United States
The pair appeared in Europe’s 2010 victory at The Celtic Manor Resort while Francesco’s half point two years later in his single match against Tiger Woods completed Europe’s remarkable comeback against the United States in the Miracle of Medinah.
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