European Tour Keith Executive, Keith Pelley has described this as “one the most significant advancements in the Tour’s 44 years” so it is only right that we get equally excited by this development of The Rolex Series in creating a new initiative which will see no less than 7 tournaments across the globe with prize funds of at least $7,000,000.
The Rolex Series of events will see 3 tournaments touch The UK with The BMW Championship at Wentworth in May, The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation at Portstewart Golf Club and The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on the west coast’s Dundonald Links.
The Swiss watchmaker then heads to The Italian Open in October at Olgiata Golf Club near Rome, followed by The Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, The Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa and finally the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates where the prize fund will increase to $8,000,000.
So what does this mean for The European Tour?
– increased prize funds
– better fields
– platform to grow…a minimum of 7 tournaments is projected for 2016, there is talk of more
Well, in short, it should secure a world class field…not that they don’t already but money talks and an international field of players will certainly travel. Perhaps the most significant entry in the list is The Irish Open which will see an increase of more than 2 million on the prize fund for 2016, with a date just 2 weeks prior to The Open at Royal Birkdale and on a great fast running links course in Portstewart it should see some trying to get their game in shape prior to golf’s oldest major. McIlroy expects an uplift in international golfers, saying “So I think you might see more guys spending prolonged periods in either/or, because jumping back and forth, you can do it for so long, but in the long run, it just doesn’t work too well.”
Here’s a closer look at the Rolex Series Tournaments and who might well be in the running to claim these increased prize funds…
- 2016 winner – Chris Wood
- -9 winning total
- Did you know…Wentworth has held a Ryder Cup…but it wasn’t on The West Course, it was the East which is a testing par-68 layout with the first tee about half way up the first hole on the West.
- 2017 dates – 25th – 28th May 2017
- 2016 winner – Rory McIlroy
- -12 winning total
- Portstewart is one of three great courses in this corner of Northern Ireland. Within a short drive is Royal Portrush, home course of Your Golf Travel ambassador Darren Clarke and Castlerock Golf Club, an experience of all 3 as part of a golf tour is pretty hard to beat..
- 6th – 9th July 2017
- 2016 winner – Alex Noren
- 14 under par
- Did you know…2017 will see Dundonald Links in Ayrshire host The European Tour for the first time. Designed by famed architect Kyle Phillips, golfers can expect a stern test against the picturesque Scottish east coastline. With the final 4 holes including 2 par-5’s over 500 yards, a 215 yard par-3 and 2 par-4’s over 420 yards it looks set to provide plenty of changes to the leaderboard in the closing stages as they seek to break par on the 7,100 yard, par-72 layout.
- 13th – 16th July 2017
- 2016 winner – Francesco Molinari
- 22 under par
- Did you know…2017 sees an incredible jump in prize fund having seen the 2016 tournament compete for 3,000,000 euros, we’ll now see it leap to $7,000,000. Olgiata Golf Club is the host and is one of Italy’s most impressive clubs with a rich history including hosting the likes of The Eisenhower Trophy (won by UK & Ireland including Sir Michael Bonallack), The World Cup of Golf and The Italian Open (won by Tony Jacklin in 1973 and Ian Poulter in 2002).
- 12th – 15th October 2017
- 2016 winner – Thorbjorn Olesen
- 20 under par
- Did you know…not only is it possible to play the entire course at Regnum Carya Golf Course under floodlights but it also enjoys a slightly off-piste design. The 16th hole, for the 2016 tournament at least, increased its yardage by 34 yards, making it 463 yards courtesy of an elevated tee which was created above one of the villas which adjoin the course.
- 2nd – 5th November 2017
- 2016 winner – Alex Noren
- 14 under par
- Did you know…The Gary Player Country Club measures over 7,800 yards from the Championship tees. Against a par of 72 this should be one of the sternest tests on The European Tour but year after year the pros are able to produce incredible scoring feats, most notably seen in Noren’s closing 63 which saw him claim a 6-shot victory in 2016.
- 9th – 12th November 2017
- 2015 winner – Rory McIlroy
- 21 under par
- Did you know…5 years ago Alvaro Quiros was celebrating the biggest cheque of his playing career in claiming the 2011 DP World Tour Championship, today he is at Qualifying School attempting to regain his playing rights for the next season.
- 16th – 19th November 2017