The Austrian-based affinity card company Lyoness has announced that it is going to strengthen its relationship with the Austrian GolfOpen by becoming the title sponsor of the tournament for the next three years, with a minimum prize fund of €1million per annum.
The Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity will return to Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna, from July 25-28, 2012, when England’s Kenneth Ferrie will defend his title.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lyoness – which offers cash-back incentives to more than two million card holders on products they purchase – will also become an Official Supplier to The European Tour, with a particular focus on supporting the Tour’s sustainability programme.
The European Tour and Lyoness also plan to set up a Cashback Card Partnership, which will enable members and visitors to The European Tour’s online store to have the opportunity to receive rewards when they buy tickets and merchandise through www.europeantour.com.
Lyoness is committed to driving charitable investment back into sustainability projects, and the company will work closely with its own Greenfinity Foundation alongside The European Tour and the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) in developing the Tour’s programme of support for sustainability in and around tournaments.
The GEO is dedicated to realising golf’s potential to become a world leader in sustainable sport and business, and to be universally valued for its positive environmental and social contributions.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “For Lyoness to become title sponsors of the Austrian GolfOpen shows their belief in, and commitment to, the tournament and The European Tour. We thank them and the promoters Golf Open Event GmbH for helping to secure the event’s future for at least the next three years, and we look forward to working closely alongside them to develop both the tournament and the Tour’s sustainability programme.”
Mathias Vorbach, Director of Marketing and Communications for Lyoness, said: “The expansion of our golf sponsorship and co-operation with The European Tour is an integral part of our global marketing and communications strategy. On the one hand, The European Tour covers all the relevant markets for us – especially Europe, the UAE and Asia.
“On the other hand, our shared visions of sustainable concepts come together in the fields of sports and business. We are also very proud to become the new title sponsors of one of the most venerable Austrian sports events, and are convinced that the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity will contribute positively to the development of the game of golf in Austria.”
Edwin Weindorfer, Managing Partner of Golf Open Event GmbH & CEO and Founder of e|motion management, said: “I want to thank The European Tour and the players for their long-term support over the past six years. We are looking forward to continuing the partnership with The European Tour in the future.”
Ali Al Khaffaf, Managing Director of the promoter Golf Open Event GmbH, said: “We are very proud to present Lyoness as our new title sponsor. We are looking forward to working with this internationally-successful Austrian company and to further developing the tournament in the future. For at least the next three years, the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity will be held at Diamond Country Club.”
The 2011 Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity was won in a play-off by Ferrie, who prevailed over his fellow Englishman Simon Wakefield with a birdie at the first extra hole.
Past winners of the tournament include Major Champion Bernhard Langer of Germany, who won the inaugural edition in 1990; his fellow former Ryder Cup player star Paul McGinley of Ireland, winner in 1996; Markus Brier, who became the first Austrian winner of a European Tour event in 2006; and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who closed with a round of 60 to take the title in 2009.
The tournament has been held at Diamond Country Club since 2010, when José-Manuel Lara succeeded his compatriot Cabrera-Bello as champion.