After an absence of a decade, the BA-CA Golf Open, presented by Telekom Austria, returns to The European Tour International Schedule this week with a field brim full of quality and boasting a prize fund of €1,300,000.
Played at the outstanding Fontana Golf Club on the outskirts of Vienna, the BA-CA Golf Open 2006 signals Austria’s renewed commitment to top level golf after three productive years on the European Challenge Tour.
The event has attracted a high level of support from a playing standpoint and also from Austrian companies and sponsors from neighbouring countries in the Danube region such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia.
Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, the eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner, will headline a world class field which includes his fellow Ryder Cup winners, Thomas Björn of Denmark, Scotland’s Gordon Brand Jnr, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez, Swede Per-Ulrik Johansson, Ireland’s Paul McGinley and Costantino Rocca of Italy.
McGinley, in fact, won the title ten years ago and some other illustrious past champions include 2004 winning European Ryder Cup Captain, Bernhard Langer of Germany (1990) and his fellow countryman Alex Cejka (1995).
This groundswell of support has allowed tournament promoters Emotion Management, owned by Edwin Weindorfer and Herwig Straka, to confirm that the BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria - which had been part of the Challenge Tour Schedule since 2003 - will feature on The European Tour for the next three seasons.
For the last four years, Montgomerie has filled an ambassadorial role, promoting Austrian golf and Fontana Golf Club in particular. Now the Scot has an opportunity to apply his knowledge of the facility by adding to his 30 European Tour titles.
Montgomerie featured in the “Super Tuesday’’ exhibition day preceding each Challenge Tour event staged at Fontana Golf Club since 2003. Last year’s “Super Tuesday’’ was another huge success, with thousands of spectators flocking to Fontana to see Montgomerie and Langer, as well as Austrian Number One Markus Brier.
He said: “This is a very exciting time to have the BA-CA Open back on the International Schedule – I am glad to have been part of the organisation that has helped bring the tournament back to Austria.
“I just think that the course here, the clubhouse, the facilities are all set up for a wonderful tournament and I just look forward to competing – everything is here for a great event.
“I think it was a shame that the National Open of Austria had been lost off the calendar for ten years now, but the finance and the course and all that is needed to get the BA-CA Open back is now in place and it proves how popular the event is.
“You just have to look at the crowds that came out to see the Super Tuesday event There were so many people here just to watch two groups. With a full European Tour field it will be fantastic.”
Björn arrives in Austria in fine form following his victory in the Nissan Irish Open at Carton House Golf Club last month, while McGinley makes his second appearance since undergoing key-hole knee surgery during the week in which Björn captured his latest title.