The initial sector of The 2012 European Tour International Schedule, announced today, will begin with the Africa Open followed by the Joburg Open in South Africa before The European Tour’s 2011 tournament winners gather for the second edition of the Volvo Golf Champions.
Venue negotiations for the Volvo Golf Champions are in the final stages, the details of which will be announced shortly. The €2 million tournament will be played from January 19-22. Every European Tour champion of 2011, in addition to all players under the age of 50 who have amassed ten or more European Tour career victories, will be eligible to play in the event, creating a true tournament of Champions.
Other significant changes in the initial sector of the 2012 Schedule include two new venues. The Binhai Lake Golf Club in Tianjin, China, will host Volvo’s 75th European Tour event, the Volvo China Open, while the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, Sciacca, Sicily, is the venue for the Sicilian Open.
The Open de España will return to the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, where Peter Lawrie and Alvaro Quiros won in 2008 and 2010 respectively, in the beautiful city of Seville, while the 20th anniversary edition of the Madeira Islands Open returns to Santo da Serra Golf Club.
Meanwhile, the Trophée Hassan II will change from its Pro-Am format back to a four round stroke play tournament, with 126 players competing at a single venue – the Golf Du Palais Royal in Agadir, Morocco.
The most significant date change in the first part of The 2012 European Tour International Schedule sees the Nordea Masters at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm, Sweden, move from its traditional July date – the week after the Open Championship – to the earlier date of Wednesday, June 6 – Saturday, June 9.
Tournament Organisers at the Nordea Masters have decided to finish the tournament on a Saturday to allow those players competing in the following week’s US Open Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco an additional day to make the journey from the Swedish capital to America’s west coast.
The European Tour’s flagship event, the €4.5 million BMW PGA Championship will again see the world’s golfing spotlight turned on the West Course at Wentworth Club, from May 24-27, when World Number One Luke Donald will defend the Tour’s most coveted title.
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “There is always a great sense of anticipation when thoughts turn to a new season and we believe the initial sector of our 2012 International Schedule delivers a diverse, global schedule that can enable our Members to continue their historic achievements of the past two years.
“With landmark events in South Africa, the Middle East, India, Asia, the USA and, of course, Europe, we are confident our International Schedule offers modern golfers the opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage.
“We thank all of our Federation and co-sanctioning partners, sponsors and promoters for their continued support and help in making The European Tour a driving force in the global promotion of our sport, and we look forward to welcoming them all to the 2012 season as well as to our Wentworth headquarters during the BMW PGA Championship.”