Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters Tournament Champion, has confirmed that he will play this year’s D+D REAL Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort from August 23-26.
Willett joins an already impressive field, which includes fellow Ryder Cup teammate Lee Westwood and two-time Major Championship winner John Daly, who are each making their third D+D REAL Czech Masters appearance.
The 30 year old Englishman secured his place in golf history when he came from behind to claim the Green Jacket at Augusta National in the first Major of 2016. Willett has also won four other European Tour tournaments, including the prestigious Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2016.
The 2016 Ryder Cup Europe team member first played the Czech Masters in 2014— finishing in a tie for 13th.
"The five year history of the tournament means we are a stable part of the European Tour,” said Petr Dědek, owner of the Relmost promotion company.
“We have not yet had the chance to welcome a Masters Champion to Albatross. This year, we are delighted to welcome Danny Willett and other stars of the game like Westwood and Daly, who have demonstrated that they really like this event as they return to the Czech Republic for the third time. This proves how exceptional of an event this is.”
This year’s D+D REAL Czech Masters will be the penultimate event in the race for Ryder Cup qualification and so promises to feature a number of enthralling battles between players hoping to earn their way onto captain Thomas Bjørn’s team at the 11th hour.
In 2016 Belgium’s Thomas Pieters did just that by finishing as a runner-up in the D+D REAL Czech Masters, before triumphing in the Made in Denmark the following week to earn himself a place on Darren Clarke’s side.
Albatross Golf Resort will present a slightly different challenge to the players this year following a partial renovation over the winter months, with the most dramatic design change coming to the 18th hole.
"The green of the 18th hole was extended to the lake and now offers several very interesting new pin positions,” said Stanislav Lisner, General Manager of the Albatross Golf Resort.
“From both sides, the green is protected by a pair of bunkers, and approach shots that go long will end up in a valley beyond the green that architect Keith Preston called the ‘Valley of Perdition, the Hell Valley’.
“We are already convinced it will create a number of shaky situations. The whole change of the green will force the players to play longer tee shots, so they can hit shorter irons into the difficult pins. I think we will see a change in the players’ strategy this year."
In addition to the title sponsorship of D+D REAL, the Czech Masters tournament continues its partnership with Raiffeisenbank as well.
"We are honoured to be the general partner and official bank of this prestigious tournament that brings the world of golf to the Czech Republic," said Hana Kovářová, Marketing Director of Raiffeisenbank.
"As a traditional supporter of golf, we offer visitors the opportunity to participate in a popular sponsorship contest for 100,000 crowns. The spectators will also be delighted by the practical radios, which will allow them to listen to the live broadcast of the event, provided by Radio Czech Masters, while on the course. I believe that with the growing popularity of this tournament we will attract not only golfers, but also non-golfers too.”
Last year, South African Haydn Porteous finished on 13 under par to claim his second European Tour victory. This year’s D+D REAL Czech Masters will feature a €1,000,000 prize fund.