The PGA National Pro-Am Championship Europe’s largest pro-am – is set to soar after securing a sponsorship deal with Britain’s award-winning long-haul airline Virgin Atlantic.
The airline, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is jetting into golf, having been the European Ryder Cup team’s trans-Atlantic carrier on the past two occasions the contest has been held Stateside.
Now Virgin Atlantic are moving into tournament golf by backing the popular PGA National Pro-Am Championship, which was first played for in 1979 and won by former Ryder Cup player Brian Waites.
Paul Wait, general manager sales for Virgin Atlantic commented, “We are delighted that Virgin Atlantic and the PGA have moved closer to a productive working relationship that is intended to benefit its members and all those interested in the business of golf. This is an exciting opportunity that we believe will be a major success.”
Last year’s tournament was won by Forest Pines professional Dan Greenwood and his 18-year-old amateur partner James Phillips, after two stunning rounds over the equally impressive PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club, Turkey.
This year’s final, which carries a £30,000 prize fund, will be staged at the venue for the third successive year with each of the 16 finalists enjoying an all expenses trip to the Sirene Beach & Golf Resort in early December.
Ugur Budak, director of golf at the club said, “Our success at hosting this event was one of the reasons why Antalya Golf Club’s PGA Sultan course was selected as the host of the 2012 Eisenhower Trophy. Now we proudly host the PGA National Pro-Am Championship for the third time. With the arrival of Virgin Atlantic I am sure the event will be even bigger success.”
The tournament attracts thousands of amateur golfers from across Great Britain and Ireland, with the winners from their club’s monthly medals teaming up with their PGA professional at one of 16 regional finals – at some the country’s best courses – with the winners qualifying for the grand final.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said, “Given the current economic climate being felt across all industries, we welcome Virgin Atlantic’s decision to back this event and welcome them to the PGA family. We hope that this will be the first year of a long and valued relationship between the two organisations.
“I know that Virgin Atlantic’s sponsorship of the event will certainly increase further interest in a tournament that has been enjoyed by the many thousands of amateurs and professionals who have competed over the years and continue to do so.
“With the prospect of an enticing grand final at the magnificent surrounds of the Sirene Beach and Hotel resort and Antalya Golf Club, this year’s tournament promises to be a very successful and eagerly competitive one.”
The 16 regional finals for the Virgin Atlantic PGA National Pro-Am Championship commence on Wednesday 6th May at Saunton Golf Club