The continuing strength in depth of The European Tour is splendidly illustrated today with the release of The 2007 European Tour International Schedule in full, a schedule which features a record minimum number of 50 counting events for the Order of Merit, in addition to The Seve Trophy which returns to Ireland. It is a momentous milestone in the development of The European Tour and compares with the 21 tournaments staged in 1977, 27 in 1987, and 34 in 1997.
Included in that number are two tournaments new to The European Tour International Schedule – the MasterCard Masters in Australia and the Portugal Masters – while the Blue Chip New Zealand Open returns, along with the Mercedes Benz Championship, which continues the traditional Tour competition staged by Langer Sport Marketing since the launch of the German Masters in 1987.
Keith Waters, director of international policy for the European Tour, said’ “We share with all sports, the incentive to break records and we are naturally both delighted and encouraged to announce, that for the first time in our 36 year history, there will be more than 50 tournaments on the schedule.
“This can be attributed to many components, not least of all the considerable strength in depth of our Membership, but we would like to particularly thank all promoters and sponsors for their superb support which enabled us to assemble The 2007 European Tour International Schedule.”
The €3 million Portugal Masters, featuring a first prize of €500,000, will be staged at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura, from October 18-21, 2007. It is the first of a minimum three year arrangement and will be jointly staged by The European Tour and the Portugese Tourist Board (ITP).
The tournament further enhances Portugal’s commitment to The European Tour, the country already playing host to two consecutive weeks of golf, starting with the Madeira Island Open from March 22 – 25, 2007, and followed by the Open de Portugal from March 29 – April 1, 2007.
Luis Patrà£o, President of the Portuguese National Tourism Board (ITP) said, “We are very proud to host the first Portugal Masters, an event that will hopefully become a regular addition on The European Tour calendar.
“Portugal is already well known for its high standard in golfing holiday facilities with the largest concentration of courses along the Algarve, where sun, sea and over 30 courses offer a constant challenge. This is closely followed by the Lisboa Golf Coast with over 20 courses boasting an impressive portfolio of excellent layouts designed by some of the game’s greatest names. To be associated with the prestigious European Tour demonstrates further that Portugal has world-class golfing facilities and a strong infrastructure to host international events.”
There are also several significant date changes to be announced for 2007, most notably in terms of the BMW International Open and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles which exchange places in the calendar, the former taking place at Golfclub Munchen-Nord, Eichenried, Munich, Germany, from June 21-24, 2007, while the latter takes place at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland, from August 30 – September 2, 2007.
Also moving dates are The Quinn Direct British Masters which will be staged at The De Vere Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England, from September 19-23, 2007, while the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club reverts to its former traditional date of October 11-14, 2007.
The full schedule can be viewed on www.europeantour.com