The European Tour returns to Gleneagles this week for the Scottish PGA Championship, an event co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Professional Golfers Association.
Former Ryder Cup player Sam Torrance, one of Mark James’ right hand men, heads the entries for the first European Tour event to be played on the Monarchs Course.
Torrance is one of a number of past champions in the field having won the title in its old format on five previous occasions, most recently in 1993. Ross Drummond, who won the European Tour Qualifying School last November to regain his Tour card, is another four-time winner of the Championship playing this week. West Lothian’s Colin Gillies won the title last year and will join other past winners Gordon Law and Brian Marchbank in the starting line-up.
David Howell, winner of the Dubai Desert Classic, is another player expected to be among the leading challengers along with Sweden’s Mathias Grönberg, the 1998 Smurfit European Open champion.
The Scottish PGA Championship is steeped in history and tradition but this will be the first time as a Volvo Order of Merit tournament. The field is made up of 73 European Tour Members, 73 Scottish registered professionals and ten sponsors invites.
The overall winner will become the Scottish PGA Champion and the top Scot will be awarded the Scottish PGA Champion of Scotland title. The championship has produced many famous winners including Bernard Gallacher and Open Champion Paul Lawrie.
The European Tour was last at Gleneagles five years ago when Carl Mason triumphed in the Scottish Open on the Kings course. This week the Monarch’s course will host the event. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1993, the course incorporates all that is best in the other two courses at The Gleneagles Hotel. From the back tees the Monarch’s measures 7,081 yards, the longest inland course in Scotland. The course begins by playing southeast toward the famed glen of the eagles sweeping up the Ochil Hills to the summit of the pass below Ben Shee which joins it to Glendevon. A feature of the Monarch’s is the spectacular views of the magnificent countryside in which Gleneagles is set.