Having hosted some of the highest profile global events, Gleneagles is used to being in the spotlight. However, when the first players tee off in the Johnnie Walker Championship on 23rd August, it will be the focus of attention for the golfing world.
As the last counting event in the race for Ryder Cup points, for some players, it will be their most important tournament of the year. As event Chairman, former Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has always been a strong supporter of the Johnnie Walker Championship having played every year since 2003.
He said: “As Chairman of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, I am obviously delighted that our tournament will feature so strongly on the golfing calendar again this year. I’m sure there will be a number of players that are in contention to make the Ryder Cup Team come the Sunday of the Championship. It will be exciting to see José María Olazábal make his wildcard picks the next day.
“I think the players will really enjoy the new challenges of the recently re-opened PGA Centenary Course. With the new sub air system which has been put in place, the players, resort guests and members will all benefit from a dramatic improvement in the quality of the greens and surrounds. I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to make birdies at the Johnnie Walker Championship which the fans will love. I remember the excitement but also the drama back here in 2010 when we all found out who was in my Team and I don’t expect it to be any different this time round.”
Graeme Marchbank, Championship Director and Head of Global Sports Category at Diageo, said: “We are delighted that our Championship Chairman Colin Montgomerie will play in this year’s event. His commitment and presence each year definitely adds to the stature of the tournament.
“With final Ryder Cup points at stake, it’s going to be an especially exciting event for players and spectators alike. We know the players and their families love coming to Gleneagles and enjoy the welcome they get from the Scottish crowds.”
Bernard Murphy, General Manager of Gleneagles, said: “We always enjoy the week of the Johnnie Walker Championship and the special Ryder Cup focus this year adds to the excitement for our team.
”Our preparations are going well and after many months of working closely with Jack Nicklaus and his team to re-model The PGA Centenary Course, I look forward to seeing how the professionals tackle the changes. The stage is set for some exciting and challenging golf.”
Previous winners of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles include England’s Warren Bennett in 1999; Sweden’s Pierre Fulke in 2000; Englishman Paul Casey in 2001 and 2006 (the only player to win on two occasions); Australia’s Adam Scott in 2002; Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen (2003); England’s Miles Tunnicliff (2004); Italy’s Emanuele Canonica (2005); Marc Warren, the only Scot to win, in 2007; Grégory Havret of France (2008); Sweden’s Peter Hedblom in 2009; Edoardo Molinari in 2010 and Thomas Björn in 2011.
The prize fund is £1.4 million with the winner receiving a cheque for £233,330.
The 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will again be broadcast on Sky Sports and will be played over The PGA Centenary Course from August 23-26.
For the second successive year the Championship organisers have set the Friday ticket price at just £5. Once again Gleneagles will donate all the revenue from on-the-day ticket sales to clubgolf – Scotland’s junior golf development programme.
Tickets are available at the course and at www.europeantourtickets.com. Parking is free. For full details on the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles visit www.johnniewalkerchampionship.com; for further details on The Gleneagles Hotel or golf at Gleneagles, visit www.gleneagles.com