The sixth edition of the D+D REAL Czech Masters will take place from August 15-18 at the Albatross Golf Resort and a star-studded field will be led by multiple Major winners Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington as well as former World Number One Lee Westwood and triumphant 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn.
Els, a two-time U.S. Open winner and a two-time Open Champion, has 71 international titles under his belt, including 28 European Tour victories.
“I am really happy to be playing in the Czech Republic this year,” said Els.in a video presentation for Czech fans. “I have only been to Prague once and that was several years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to invite spectators to Albatross to see some world-class golf and, I hope, a lot of birdies. Thanks for the invitation and see you at the Czech Master."
Harrington, who will lead the 2020 Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits in the USA, came close to victory at Albatross last year but was eventually beaten to the title by Italian Andrea Pavan.
Westwood, meanwhile, will play in the tournament for the fourth time in a row. Winner of 43 tournaments in global golfing series, Westwood claimed his maiden Rolex Series title last November at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player. Bjørn has 15 European Tour wins to his name.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome great players to the Czech Republic year after year,” said Petr Dědek, owner of the Relmost promotion company. “Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Thomas Bjørn rank among the best golfers of the modern era. The prestige of this tournament is growing and the audience will enjoy an exceptional golfing experience in August.
At least 10 Czech golfers will again be participating in the tournament including two amateurs. One of them is nominated by the Czech Golf Federation. The most successful Czech at the D+D REAL Czech Masters was Filip Mrůzek who has made the weekend’s play twice.
“The list of our tournaments associated with the European Tour is getting longer and longer,” said Dedek. “We are managing to confirm our stability in the European Tour. We are currently the largest promotion company of tournaments for the European Tour and Challenge Tour in Europe. No other company is the sole promoter of one tournament in the European Tour and three on the Challenge Tour. “
“We have extended the number of challenges to three tournaments. We made some changes in dates and locations. The third year of the Prague Golf Challenge will be taking place from May 9-12 and the eighth edition of the D+D REAL Czech Challenge will be held from May 23-26, this time at Kaskáda in Brno which we relocated from Kunětická Hora. From July 4-7, we will be holding the Slovakia Challenge at Penati, where we will be picking up with the fourth edition after a two-year break. We have increased the prize money in the challenges and rounded this up to €200,000 for each tournament,” said Petr Dědek.
The group of financial partners which are newly entering the tournament or which have been part of it for a long time is stable.
“We have the honour of acting as the general partner of the most important golfing event of the year in Czech Republic, the D+D REAL Czech Masters, for the fourth time now,” says Hana Kovářová, Marketing Director at Raiffeisenbank. “We have watched with great pleasure over the whole period of our partnership how the prestige of the tournament has increased from year to year, as has interest on the part of the media and the number of visitors. We are very happy to have prolonged our collaboration until 2023 and that thanks to this and our support, fans of this amazing sport can see international golfing stars in the Czech Republic and enjoy the unique atmosphere of a prestigious golf tournament.”
The Czech Golf Federation will again also be a tournament partner and Zdeněk Kodejš, President of the Czech Golf Federation, said: “I really must raise my hat to the organisers from Relmost and in particular to Petr Dědek, because not only has he already established a very strong tradition for this tournament, he also improves the organisational quality of the tournament every year and above all the quality of names in the starting line-up. Every year, more players come here who we were only able to see on TV in the past, enabling us to see with our own eyes how demanding, yet how beautiful, top-level golf is. I am really happy to be able to collaborate with Mr Dědek and to present our events and projects like “Se školou na golf” or “Bav se golfem” not only to the golfers who visit the tournament, but above all to the spectators on the course and television audiences who still have doubts as to whether they should take up golf. They have the opportunity of watching interesting academies, exhibitions in the centre of Prague and, together with the people of Prague and tourists, to convince themselves that we are already a developed golfing country which even the top golfers in the world look forward to visiting.”
As opposed to previous years, no changes have been made to the course for the 2019 edition. The main new golf attraction this year will be the Albatross Academy.
“We concentrated on getting the course in order after last year’s complicated season,” says Stanislav Lisner, General Manager of the Albatross Golf Resort describing the situation. “I think we have managed to accomplish that completely. The greens already have a speed of 9 feet and the quality of the fairways is also up to standard. However, that does not at all mean that we were idle over the winter. After last year’s drought, we decided to significantly increase the capacity of the retention lake. Work is still underway and should be completed within about a month. Modernisation of the irrigation system is also linked to this, helping us to better and more quickly water the course.
We have not of course forgotten about the players themselves. This winter’s motto was the golf academy. The Albatross Academy is now able to boast the best training facilities, the space for playing a short game has grown to include two additional greens and offers the whole range of shots which players can practice here. The turf on the greens was imported from Spain and we are certain that the new area will already be fully available at the end of April.”
Entry to the D+D Real Czech Masters will again be free of charge for all registered golfers. In addition to this, anybody with a Raiffeisenbank payment card can gain free entry, as can owners of Škoda cars after showing their key, all spectators with a betting slip from Tipsport bet on the tournament of at least CZK 50 in value, holders of employee cards from Plzeňský Prazdroj and also holders of Nespresso cards. Entry is free for children under the age of 15, senior citizens and people with a physical handicap. A total of 19 hours of live coverage will be broadcast by the Golf Channel.
There will again be a putting competition with Raiffeisenbank in the tournament village to win CZK 100,000 and merchandising collaboration will be continuing with Under Armour, offering a Czech Masters collection in the Brudra merchandising shop. A children’s fun park will be open from Thursday to Sunday on site.
The whole of the tournament week will start with the Raiffeisenbank exhibition on the Vltava. Eight tournament stars will be attempting to hit a pontoon with a hole from a boat on the Vltava. Spectators will be able to follow the event from the embankment by the Mánes Bridge on 13 August starting at 3.00 p.m.