The ISPS Handa Wales Open will kick off the race for qualification for The 2014 Ryder Cup when it switches to a new, attractive late summer date on The European Tour International Schedule next year.
The 2013 tournament will take place at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, from August 29-September 1 and be the first counting event towards qualification for the European Team which will defend The Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland, in 2014.
The commencement of the qualification process continues the rich Ryder Cup history at Celtic Manor, which provided such a spectacular stage for Europe’s dramatic 14½-13½ victory over the United States in 2010.
The ISPS Handa Wales Open has grown into one of the premier events on The European Tour since its inception in 2000. Ryder Cup stars Graeme McDowell, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and Paul McGinley are among the past champions and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee claimed the €372,720 first prize in 2012.
ISPS – the International Sports Promotion Society founded by Dr Haruhisa Handa – took over title sponsorship in 2012 as part of its mission to promote blind and disabled golf. Celtic Manor remains the host venue and tournament promoter.
Celtic Manor Resort Chief Executive Dylan Matthews said: “We are delighted to have secured a new, attractive date for the 2013 ISPS Handa Wales Open. The tournament has been played in late May and early June every year since 2003 and it will give the event fresh impetus to move to a new position later in the summer.
“With the drama of Europe’s nail-biting Ryder Cup victory here still so strong in the memory, it is very exciting that the new date means the ISPS Handa Wales Open will be the first counting event for the next team. I’m sure many of the leading players on The European Tour will be anxious to give their hopes of qualification the best possible start by securing the first prize at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.”
Taking place three weeks after the US PGA Championship in 2013, the later date in the last week of August will also give the five-star resort’s Director of Golf Courses, Jim McKenzie MBE, a longer growing season to further improve the quality of the Twenty Ten Course test presented to the players.
A spokesperson for ISPS said: “We are looking forward to seeing the profile of the tournament at Celtic Manor rise even further and enhance the opportunities to display our belief that sport has the power to inspire, create hope and transform society. At ISPS we are continuing to expand and enhance our blind and disabled golf initiatives, with our ultimate goal for golf to become a Paralympic sport.”
Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “The ISPS Handa Wales Open has grown tremendously in popularity since its inception in 2000 and our Members will look forward to continuing their association with Sir Terry Matthews at an event he created with his enormous vision and commitment.
“We are particularly delighted that this tournament continues to develop our strong partnership with Dr Handa and ISPS and our association with a very special venue where Europe regained The Ryder Cup in 2010 on the much acclaimed Twenty Ten Course.”
As well as title sponsorship from ISPS Handa, the tournament will once again benefit from significant partnership support from the Welsh Assembly Government.
As well as top-class golfing action, the ISPS Handa Wales Open offers a great day out for all the family with a tented village including bar, food outlets, shops selling golf merchandise and opportunities for youngsters to try their hand at golf.