Former champion Miguel Angel Jiménez is among a host of Ryder Cup stars returning to Celtic Manor for the ISPS Handa Wales Open this month.
Jiménez, who triumphed at Celtic Manor in 2005, is in a rich vein of form after appearing on the leaderboard at the last two major championships and finishing in a tie for fourth at the Bridgestone Invitational World Golf Championship.
The Spaniard became the oldest winner in European Tour history when he won the UBS Hong Kong Open at the end of last season and has remained one of the game’s most durable and charismatic performers.
Other recent European Tour champions entered for the ISPS Handa Wales Open from August 29 – September 1 include England’s Chris Wood, Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen, and Spanish quartet Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alvaro Quiros, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Pablo Larrazábal.
Jiménez, Francesco Molinari and Ross Fisher return to the Twenty Ten Course scene of their Ryder Cup triumph of 2010 for a tournament which kicks off the qualifying points race for the next Ryder Cup at Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel in 2014. Keeping a close, early eye on the hopefuls for his team will be the new European Team Captain Paul McGinley while his predecessor and the architect of last autumn’s Miracle at Medinah, José Maria Olazábal, is also on the entry list.
Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee defends the ISPS Handa Wales Open title he won in testing conditions last year to claim his first victory on European soil and is joined by other former champions Alex Noren, Scott Strange, Jiménez, Khan and McGinley.
Also part of a truly international field are England’s David Howell, Danny Willett and Robert Rock, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, Australian Brett Rumford, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Dutchman Joost Luiten, American Peter Uihlein and South Africa’s Darren Fichardt.
Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Dylan Matthews said: “It’s always a real pleasure to welcome back so many of our former champions and the star players of The European Tour.
“We’re really excited to add another chapter to our Ryder Cup history by launching the race for qualification for the 2014 team at the ISPS Handa Wales Open and I’m sure all of the European players will be keen to make a fast start and catch the eye of the new European Captain, Paul McGinley, who is one of our most popular former champions.”
With a prize fund of £1.8m, the ISPS Handa Wales Open is now in its 14th consecutive year at Celtic Manor and has grown into one of the most established, premier events on The European Tour International Schedule.
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