Bridgestone, the world-renowned premium tyre manufacturer, has been announced as the title sponsor of an event which marks the return of the European Challenge Tour to English soil for the first time in four years.
The Bridgestone Challenge, which will take place at Heythrop Park Resort from August 25-28, will form part of the company’s three-pronged association with golf, which includes sponsorship of the British Masters supported by Sky Sports on The European Tour as well as the creation of a new amateur event.
Promoted by BlackStar Golf Management, it will be a welcome return to England of Europe’s top developmental tour, which when last played in 2012 was won by home favourite Chris Paisley – now a fully-fledged European Tour player – while the likes of Byeong Hun An, Branden Grace and Brooks Koepka have all played the event in the past.
It will be the first time Heythrop Park’s Bainbridge Course, a stunning Oxfordshire layout which was redesigned in 2009 by renowned course architect Tom MacKenzie, will host a professional tournament under the auspices of The European Tour group.
Alain de Soultrait, Challenge Tour Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to partner with Bridgestone and are excited to be bringing the Challenge Tour back to England, aided by the support of England Golf.
“The Challenge Tour offers the best way for talented young golfers to develop their professional game and a large number of our recent success stories have been English players.
“Major Champion Justin Rose and Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter both came through our ranks while Tommy Fleetwood and Andrew Johnston both finished top of the Challenge Tour Rankings in recent years.
“The commitment Bridgestone are showing to encourage the growth of the game in England will hopefully lead to similar success stories in future years, and there is no better place for talented youngsters to come and be inspired than the Bridgestone Challenge in August.”
The event will be sponsored by Bridgestone as part of a much broader and more fulsome involvement in the game of golf as the tyre industry giants attempt to engage with thousands of amateur players across England, and also help the country’s most talented young golfers progress through the ranks en route to the highest echelons of the professional game.
Farrell Dolan, Bridgestone’s north region consumer sales and marketing director said: “We have identified huge potential from the world of golf and are extremely excited to be entering into a series of sponsorships covering such a broad range of the sport.
“We also feel that the core values that underpin the sport are synonymous with our own, most notably that of respect, integrity and excellence.
“We will be engaging with hundreds of amateur players who will already be familiar with our brand and we have structured our sponsorships to actually give them an opportunity to play at the very top of the game.
“To be able to leverage our innovative new DriveGuard category of tyres through this sports sponsorship is also great news, as we are able to amplify the product to a captive and vibrant new audience.
“Not only this, but the exposure we will generate from our British Masters partnership and English Challenge Tour title sponsorships is vast, the latter of which will be making a welcome return to the golfing calendar after a three-year absence.”