The 2013 European Tour International Schedule, announced today, features a minimum of 45 tournaments across the world, providing a varied and exciting global platform for the Tour’s wide-ranging international Membership.
Starting in Africa in two weeks’ time, the 12 month golfing odyssey will see the schedule travel though Asia, America, Australasia and its home continent of Europe, before ending back in Dubai with the 2013 DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 14-17.
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai will itself be the culmination of a new and exciting climax to The 2013 Race to Dubai where four tournaments will combine to form ‘The Final Series.’
The four tournaments are the US$7 million BMW Masters, the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions, the US$7 million Turkish Open and the US$8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – making the total prize fund for ‘The Final Series’ a staggering US$30.5 million.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to announce another comprehensive International Schedule that once again shows the strength in depth of The European Tour.
“With 45 tournaments already confirmed, we are hopeful of making additional tournament announcements in the near future which will further strengthen the playing schedule we are able to offer the broad spectrum of our Membership.
“We would once again like the thank our partners, promoters and colleagues in golf’s governing bodies around the world for their support of The European Tour, and we look forward to welcoming them all to the 2013 season.”
As in previous seasons, The 2013 European Tour International Schedule is an eclectic mix of globally diverse locations, beginning in South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa from December 6-9, 2012.
A total of six events will be staged in South Africa on the 2013 Schedule, including the Volvo Golf Champions from January 10-13, 2013, where many of the Tour’s 2012 champions will gather at Durban Country Club.
From there, the Tour moves into its formidable desert swing of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before heading to the United States for the first two of the four World Golf Championship events scheduled for 2013.
Other highlights include The European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 23-26, as well as the four Major Championships with The Open at Muirfield preceded by four of the Tour’s most significant tournaments as the BMW International Open returns to Munich and the Golfclub München Eichenried on its 25th Anniversary; the Irish Open moves to Carton House in County Kildare; the magnificent Golf National in Paris once again hosts the Alstom Open de France and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open returns to the links terrain of Castle Stuart the week before The Open.
Elsewhere, the Volvo World Match Play Championship breaks new ground by taking the Tour to Bulgaria for the first time, to the stunning Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Kavarna, from May 16-19, while the KLM Open returns to familiar territory at Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort, where it was staged for four years in succession from 2006 to 2009.
The 2013 KLM Open is part of an on-going six year commitment to The European Tour which will see the tournament staged at Kennemer from 2013 to 2015 before a move to The Dutch in Spijk – a Colin Montgomerie-designed course which is part of The European Tour Properties portfolio – from 2016 to 2018.
There may be no Ryder Cup in 2013, but the biennial match against the United States, won so dramatically by José María Olazábal’s European Team at Medinah Country Club in Chicago in September, is never far from consideration.
With that in mind, the qualification process to make the 2014 team at The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland will have a different beginning this year as the points race kicks off with the ISPS Handa Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort, the scene of Europe’s dramatic 2010 Ryder Cup victory, which has moved to its new date of August 29 – September 1.
There are also significant date changes in 2013 for the Avantha Masters (March 14-17), the Maybank Malaysian Open (March 21-24), the Reale Seguros Open de España (April 18-21), the Nordea Masters (May 30 – June 2) and the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity (June 6-9), while the Russian Masters, from July 25-28, sees the Tour return to Russia for the first time since 2008.
Later in the year, the Vivendi Seve Trophy makes its biennial appearance from October 3-6 with its staging coinciding with a change to The European Tour’s Minimum Tournament Regulations. From 2013, the Tour has announced that The Ryder Cup, The Presidents Cup and the Vivendi Seve Trophy will count towards the minimum number of 13 events in which a Full Member in Categories 1-11 must participate to obtain inclusion in the final Race to Dubai ranking.
Another regulation change set to take effect at the end of 2013 is a reduction in the number of Members exempt in Category 8: from 115 (excluding Affiliate Members) to 110 (including Affiliate Members). The reduction in Category 8 Members for the 2014 season will increase playing opportunities for players graduating from the Challenge Tour and European Tour Qualifying School.
The Vivendi Seve Trophy follows the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the schedule before two more events – the Portugal Masters and the Perth International in Australia – lead into ‘The Final Series.’
Any European Tour Member hoping to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – and therefore the chance to play for The Race to Dubai Bonus Pool – will have to participate in two of the three tournaments preceding the season finalé.
Furthermore, any Member participating in the first three tournaments in ‘The Final Series’ will receive a 20 per cent bonus on The Race to Dubai points earned from those three events, the bonus being added to the respective players’ points total before the DP World Tour Championship.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The introduction of ‘The Final Series’ and the associated changes to the structure are being made to bring even more drama and excitement to the conclusion of our season, and to further enhance The Race to Dubai.
“To have our Members finishing The European Tour season at tournaments of genuine quality such as the BMW Masters, the WGC-HSBC Champions, the Turkish Open and the DP World Tour Championship is exciting.
“We felt there had to be an additional level of commitment from the Membership to these important tournaments, hence the new regulation. The response from our leading players to this change has been extremely encouraging, and we take confidence from their support as we look to continue the positive evolution of The European Tour in an extremely challenging economic climate.”