Rolex and the R&A have stepped in to offer financial support for the European Challenge Tour, whose 2020 schedule has been heavily disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Following the decision to cancel the Rolex Trophy, which had been scheduled for August 19–22, Rolex has offered to switch the tournament prize fund to benefit the wider Challenge Tour schedule and its players once the tour has re-started.
The Rolex Trophy is the longest running event on the Challenge Tour schedule, having been played at Golf Club de Genève since 1991. The redirected funding will now help create and enhance playing opportunities for Challenge Tour players during the remainder of the season.
The tour’s finances have been further boosted by an additional £300,000 donation from the R&A’s COVID-19 Support Fund – a £7 million package to help golf deal with the impact of the global pandemic – on top of its existing £120,000 annual grant, bringing its total donation to the Challenge Tour in 2020 to £420,000.
Jamie Hodges, Head of the Challenge Tour, said: “Both Rolex and the R&A are dedicated to supporting golf and their additional help this year is a fantastic gesture, which demonstrates their commitment to the development of our sport and the value they place on the role of the Challenge Tour in producing the stars of the future. The Challenge Tour has been a proven training ground for future European Tour winners, major champions and Ryder Cup stars since its inception in 1987.
“While there is no formal graduation to the European Tour this year, this funding will greatly help us in creating as many playing opportunities as possible in the circumstances this year, providing a platform for tomorrow’s champions to continue to gain vital experience and compete on the international stage.”
Full details of the revised 2020 Challenge Tour schedule have yet to be announced, although the tour will start back with two tournaments in Austria in July.