The British Masters is set to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year with a new sponsor in Quinn Direct Insurance and a new venue in The De Vere Belfry for the staging of the 2006 tournament from May 11-14, 2006.
The Quinn Direct British Masters will feature a prize fund of £1.8 million – an increase of £100,000 on 2005 - and represents the first of a three year deal, sponsorship which reinforces the company’s position in the UK marketplace as a leading provider of financial services.
The tournament also sees the return of top level European Tour golf to the Warwickshire course, which was the last European venue to host The Ryder Cup in September 2002. Three Members of the victorious European Team then – Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley – have already confirmed their intention to participate.
McGinley – who holed the winning putt in The 2002 Ryder Cup, said; “I would like thank Quinn Direct Insurance for taking one of my favourite events of the season back to one of my favourite courses anywhere in the world. The Belfry is synonymous with top quality golf and there is bound to be plenty on offer next May. I can’t wait to return to a course which has such wonderful memories for me.”
Clarke said; “Many great things that have happened to European golf over the last two decades have occurred at The Belfry, so it is fitting that once again it is hosting one of our top tournaments.”
In total, The De Vere Belfry hosted The Ryder Cup on four occasions – 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002. Europe won 16 ½ - 11 ½ in 1985 and 15 ½ - 12 ½ in 2002, the United States won 15-13 in 1993 and the 1989 contest ended tied 14-14, Europe retaining the trophy thanks to their victory at Muirfield Village in 1987.
The European Tour is no stranger to The De Vere Belfry either, having staged the English Open from 1979 to 1983 and from 1989 to 1992, and the Benson and Hedges International Open from 2000 to 2003.
George O’Grady, Executive Director of The European Tour said; “Andrew Chandler’s entrepreneurial skills have seen his International Sports Management group superbly mastermind the continuing growth and progression of the British Masters. We congratulate Andrew on his latest achievement in unveiling Quinn Direct Insurance as the new title sponsors.
“We also congratulate and thank Quinn Direct Insurance for their commitment which coincides with the 60th playing of this prestigious tournament and the return of Tour competition to The De Vere Belfry where golf has enjoyed many history-making occasions highlighted, of course, by European Team victories in The Ryder Cup.”
Andrew Chandler, Managing Director of promoters ISM, said; “Ever since we took over the promotion of the British Masters it has been our intention to improve the event year on year. We have been successful in that objective and now with the wonderful support of The Quinn Group the upward graph will continue. It will be bigger and better and I am sure it will attract the best that Europe can offer.”
Colin Morgan, General Manager of Quinn Direct Insurance said; “We are delighted to sponsor the British Masters, which we know is one of the pre-eminent events on The European Tour. We are equally pleased that the event will take place at the fantastic Belfry venue that was acquired by Quinn Group in March 2005. We believe that sponsoring the British Masters will further enhance the Quinn Direct brand and allow us to continue to grow our insurance business in the UK.”
David Webster, General Manager of The De Vere Belfry, said; “The De Vere Belfry is the perfect venue for world-class events, and we are delighted to be hosting this prestigious tournament. The resort has a very special place in the hearts of many professional golfers as well as keen amateurs and spectators, and we are look forward to welcoming them in May 2006.”