The European Tour is pleased to announce its international schedule for the 2017 season, which will feature a minimum of 48 tournaments, one more than in 2016.
It will be headlined by the Rolex Series, an innovative alliance of tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of $7million, which comprises: the BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28), the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 6-9), the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (July 13-16), the Italian Open (October 12-15), the Turkish Airlines Open (November 2-5), the Nedbank Golf Challenge (November 9-12) and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 16-19), where the 2017 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.
The 2017 schedule also features the return of three tournaments in new guises, the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort from May 11-14, the Rocco Forte Open – Verdura in Sicily from May 18-21 and the Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation from October 19-22.
The Rocco Forte Open – Verdura marks the European Tour’s return to Sicily for the first time since Dane Thorbjørn Olesen won at Verdura Golf and Spa Resort in 2012, while the tournament is also the first time luxury hotels and resorts group Rocco Forte Hotels has been a title sponsor of a European Tour event.
Sir Rocco Forte, Founder and Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, said: “I am delighted that Verdura Resort will be hosting the Rocco Forte Open – Verdura. Our Sicilian resort offers two 18-hole links golf courses designed by Kyle Phillips and is visited regularly by some of the most famous names in European golf. The resort is set along two kilometres of coastline so every hole has sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea. As an enthusiastic golfer myself, I will be sure to be there.”
The Andalucía Valderrama Masters returns to the revered Real Club Valderrama, the venue which hosted The 1997 Ryder Cup as well as the previous two editions of the Andalucía Masters in 2010 and 2011, won by Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia respectively. The latter player will take on the responsibility of tournament host on home soil in October on behalf of the Sergio Garcia Foundation.
Meanwhile, the Open de Portugal is back on the schedule after an absence of seven years following Thomas Bjørn’s victory at Penha Longa in 2010. It will be played at Morgado Golf Resort in Portimão.
Although only 47 tournaments are announced today, a further tournament will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “The 2017 season promises to be a very significant one for the European Tour, with the start of the Rolex Series and the inclusion of three returning events in Portugal, Sicily and Spain, plus at least one more tournament to be confirmed shortly.
“That will give us 48 tournaments around the world, once again demonstrating the global footprint of the European Tour, while at the same time offering a wide range of playing opportunities for our members.”