Former Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance has been given an invitation to next week's The Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, taking the number of Scottish golfers challenging for the title to 23 of the 156-man field.
The 23 pretenders include the likes of Tournament Chairman and current Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, Sam’s fellow invitee, George Murray, and 2007 Champion, Marc Warren, the only Scot to date to have won the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Fans will be also be looking forward to watching Stephen Gallacher, who played well in the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits last week and who also finished tied fourth in The Barclays Scottish Open in July; Richie Ramsay, who won his first Tour title in South Africa earlier this season; and the 1999 Open Champion, Paul Lawrie.
There will be stiff international competition at Gleneagles for the Scots as joining the 2008 and 2009 Champions, Grégory Havret and Peter Hedblom, are no fewer than 90 players with wins on The European Tour boasting a total of 252 titles between them including America’s Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Open Champion.
With this the final qualifying event for The 2010 Ryder Cup, there are 27 of the top 50 on the current European Ryder Cup Ranking in the field, each looking to seize their final chance to claim vital Ryder Cup points or catch the eye of Captain Montgomerie and his Vice Captains as they ponder the three wildcards picks. These include Simon Dyson, Alvaro Quiros, Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Peter Hanson, Ross McGowan, Rhys Davies and Grégory Havret who will all be looking to claim a victory which could help secure a place on the team.
Sam Torrance, victorious Captain of the 2002 European Ryder Cup team at the Belfry, will no doubt be an asset to Captain Montgomerie in this key week in his campaign. He said “I love playing in front of my home fans and was thrilled to be invited by the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to play next week. I’ll be fully acclimatised as I am playing in the Cleveland Golf / Srixon Scottish Senior Open this weekend and I am really looking forward to returning to The European Tour and hoping for a great week at Gleneagles. With The Ryder Cup in mind, I am also looking forward to being around when Monty’s team takes shape and will certainly be available if he wants to chat about anything during the week.”
Previous winners of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles include Englishmen Warren Bennett (1999) and Miles Tunnicliff (2004) along with their fellow countryman Paul Casey who, to date, is the only player to have won the tournament on two occasions (2001 and 2006). They are joined on the Roll of Honour by Sweden’s Pierre Fulke (2000), Australia’s Adam Scott (2002), Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen (2003), and Italy’s Emanuele Canonica (2005). The only Scot to have his name on the trophy to date is Marc Warren who triumphed in 2007. The last two Championships were won by Frenchman Grégory Havret (2008) and Sweden’s Peter Hedblom (2009).
This year’s winner will receive a cheque for £233,330 from a total prize fund of £1,400,000 as the players compete over The PGA Centenary Course, venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup.
The Championship has secured the services of IMG, the world’s leading sports, entertainment and media company, to stage the tournament as they look to build on the heritage and prestige of the tournament and continue to raise its profile on the global stage.
Tickets for the Johnnie Walker Championship are priced from £22 for a daily ticket to £45 for a season ticket and are available at the gate. Normal concessions apply. Car parking is free. For full details please visit www.europeantourtickets.com
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