The European Seniors Tour returns to mainland Britain for the first time this season for the MDIS & Partners Festival of Golf, a new event on the schedule, hosted by Mill Ride Golf Club at Ascot.
Among the stars making their first appearance in England will be former Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher who spent some 20 years just a few miles down the road as club professional at Wentworth Club, and Tommy Horton.
Having retired as head professional at Royal Jersey, Horton has made a flying start to his 1999 campaign, winning the first tournament of the season for the third successive year. He leads the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit after two tournaments in his quest to win a fourth successive John Jacobs Award.
The field is full of a host of stars from the Seniors Tour including no fewer than 14 former Ryder Cup players in the starting line-up who have played 50 matches between them. With Gallacher, Bernard Hunt and Tony Jacklin there are also four former captains in the field.
The tournament will be based on the format used during the successful Wang Four Stars Tournament that was played on the regular Tour in the 1980’s, with teams made up of two senior professionals and two amateurs.
Indeed the week marks a return to tournament golf for Alan Davis, UK Managing Director of MDIS and formerly Managing Director of Wnag UK and the main sponsor of the Wang Four Stars Tournament.
The Donald Steel-designed course is one of a split personality. Eleven holes are fitted into entirely natural, ready made terrain, while the balance of the holes are a tribute to the wonders of modern earth moving equipment, transformed from a flat polo field into what is sure to be a stern test of golf.
The first of the European Seniors Tour Golf Clinics for teaching juniors from the Golf Foundation Starter Centres and juniors from the host club, will take place on Saturday May 22 at Mill Ride Golf Club.