Saturday, 02 January 1999
In 1998 Vijay Singh became the first graduate of MacGregor Week to win a major championship when he won the US PGA Championship at Sahalee in August.
The 1999 European Tour Training School will again be held at San Roque from 3rd-10th January.

The Fijian was among the first crop of new players invited to the European Tour Training School as preparation for a season on the European Tour and since then more than 200 players have similarly received invaluable advice and tuition as they set out on the Tour.

In the past week there has been more success for MacGregor Week graduates with David Carter, from the class of 1995, and Lee Westwood, a graduate in 1994, both winning in different corners of the world.

Over the past decade 24 graduates from the European Tour training week have won some 70 events world-wide. Of the players who have attended the week 44 finished in the top 116 of the 1998 Volvo Ranking and five finished in the top 10. Some £43.5 million of prize money has been amassed by past graduates and players from 18 different countries have attended. Five graduates have progressed to Ryder Cup status.

Next year another group of more than 20 players, graduates from the European Challenge Tour and European Tour Qualifying School Finals, will be invited to attend the 11th annual European Tour Training School, sponsored by MacGregor for the second successive year, which will again be held at the San Roque Club - the Andalucian Headquarters of the European Tour - in Sotogrande, Spain, on January 3-1.

The players, hoping to lift off their careers on the Tour, will be there to absorb the collective knowledge and wisdom of some of the finest coaches, psychologists, physiologists and nutritionists in the game.

Among the coaches will be Tommy Horton, a former Ryder Cup player and currently number one on the European Seniors Tour, John Jacobs, Director General of the European Tour in its formative years and regarded as one of the finest teachers of the game, and Denis Pugh, who has worked with many of the world's leading players.

Harold Swash, a putting guru who has been at the forefront of putting technology for the past 30 years, will be on hand to give advice on the greens while Alan Fine will offer advice on the psychology side of the game. Guy Delacave, head of the European Tour's 3M Physio Unit, and Helen Lennon, a leading sports scientist in swing biomechanics and physiology who specialises in building and maintaining fitness and performance, will conduct daily sessions dealing with the physical preparations necessary for playing successfully on the European Tour.

Apart from playing at San Roque and Valderrama and taking advantage of daily coaching sessions, lectures are held most mornings and evenings to help prepare players for life on the Tour. These include instruction on the Rules of Golf, talks on "Inside the European Tour", and insights into management, marketing and sponsorship. There is also the chance to experience giving press, radio and TV interviews.

Last January Spain's Ivo Giner emerged as the winner of the MacGregor Challenge held a Valderrama, the scene of Europe's Ryder Cup victory a few months earlier. The win earned him an invitation to the Acom International Tournament in Japan where he finished joint 18th in the modified stableford event earlier this month.

Giner said: "MacGregor Week is extremely interesting. There are so many coaches there who you can learn from, taking tips on to the main Tour. While we are all there to learn something it is also a very friendly week. There is such a great family spirit and good atmosphere.

"It was a good experience playing in Japan. The Japanese really took care of us and it was nice to play well over there.

"You have to go to MacGregor Week once if you have the chance to see how the Tour works. It's a great experience and if I could go back I would."

Among the past graduates are Thomas Björn, David Carter, Andrew Coltart, Mathias Grönberg, Mats Lanner, Patrik Sjöland, Sven Strüver and Lee Westwood, all winners on the European Tour this season.

Padraig Harrington, winner of the 1997 World Cup of Golf alongside Paul McGinley, is another past graduate to have benefited from the MacGregor Week. Last January he returned to San Roque as a special guest. He said: "Coming back to this week for me is like a refresher course. I learned so much when I came here the first time that each time I return I learn a little bit more. You are always learning, you always go away from this week with something new so it's very important for me to come back each year."

MacGregor Week was developed from an original Young Professionals School started by Tommy Horton in 1977 and later involving John Jacobs. It was intended as an educational week, a development for young players just about to go on Tour. Thanks to the hard work of all involved those objectives have been met and at the start of next year another group of young professionals will begin their preparations for the European Tour.

William Marsh, President and CEO of MacGregor Golf, said: "This has been a successful and entertaining week. I have seen the coaches working tirelessly and with such enthusiasm. This embodies what MacGregor Week is all about and as far as the players are concerned I sincerely hope they take away something that will help them achieve whatever they want to achieve in the future."

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