The European Senior Tour will return to Italy for the penultimate event of the 2010 season when II Picciolo Golf Club hosts the Sicilian Senior Open from October 22-24.
It takes the number of events counting towards the 2010 Senior Tour Order of Merit to 20 and could play a significant role in deciding the winner of the John Jacobs Trophy, a fortnight before the season-ending OKI Castéllon Senior Tour Championship.
With a prize fund of €250,000, the Sicilian Senior Open marks the Senior Tour’s return to Italy after a one year absence following Peter Mitchell’s victory in the Lake Garda Italian Seniors Open at Palazzo Arzaga Hotel Spa and Resort in 2008.
The Italian Seniors Open was held at Circolo Golf Venezia from 2004, with Terry Gale, Gery Watine, former Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance and Simon Owen each capturing the title before the event moved to Lake Garda two years ago.
Nino Strano, Councillor of Sports of the Region of Sicily, said: “This new initiative for Sicily is a major investment of more than €5million in a three year golf strategy that will allow us to promote three different parts of the island to a worldwide audience and establish Sicily as a true Golfing Destination. We hope this will have a positive impact on the visibility of the region and the number of golfing tourists and we are delighted to have the support of the private sector in creating this new venture.”
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm the Sicilian Senior Open as part of the 2010 European Senior Tour schedule and we are all looking forward to returning to Italy where we have enjoyed some magnificent tournaments in recent years.
“It is our first visit to Sicily and with the tournament taking place straight after the inaugural Cannes Mougins Masters and the second edition of the Benahavis Senior Masters, we anticipate an exciting climax to the season taking us into the Senior Tour Championship.
“Our thanks go to the promoter Global Event Management, the regional government of Sicily and the Italian Golf Federation for all of their help in making the tournament happen.”
On behalf of the Italian Golf Federation, President Franco Chimenti and Organising Committee President Donato Di Ponziano said: “The Sicilian Senior Open in 2010 is a reason for great pride and continues our relationship with The European Tour group.
“We are grateful to the Region of Sicily for the wonderful initiative that manages to draw the attention of all fans of our sport within Italy and outside our country.”
Pier Paolo Pecchini, Director of Global Event Management, said: “The Sicilian Senior Open promises to be a fantastic event and we look forward to welcoming the leading Senior Tour players to II Picciolo Golf Club.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the beautiful island of Sicily and the new golf courses over the next couple of years with more tournaments involving The European Tour Group.”
II Picciolo Golf Club was the first golf course developed in Sicily in 1989 and is located in a natural amphitheatre on the north-eastern region of Mount Etna’s natural park not far from some of the most beautiful places in Sicily, such as the coast of Taormina and the city of Catania. It was designed by the prestigious architect Luigi Rota Caremoli and nestles through oaks trees, vineyards, hazelnut trees and ancient lava flows.