The Monte Carlo Invitational enters its second year with Big 3 Records taking over as the new title sponsors of the event. The Big 3 Records Monte Carlo Invitational will once again be hosted by HRH Prince Albert of Monaco who will be joined by Hollywood actor Kevin Costner and golfing legend Gary Player as charity co-chairmen.
The event will carry a prize fund of £130,000 and will feature celebrities and VIP’s playing alongside the senior professionals for the 54 hole event.
Tommy Horton, winner of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit for the past four seasons, will be defending the title following his outstanding victory last year when he fired five birdies in the last six holes to finish a shot ahead of the American trio of Bill Brask, Jerry Bruner and Ray Carrasco. Horton, currently second in the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, will be looking for a second win of the season to close the gap on Noel Ratcliffe in his bid to win the John Jacobs Trophy as the leading money winner for a fifth successive year.
Ratcliffe is also in action and looking for his third victory of the season, following his success in The Scotsman Scottish Seniors Open and the TEMES Seniors Open, to extend his lead at the top as the season nears its conclusion. Multiple winners David Huish and John Grace are in also in the field along with Neil Coles, the only player in history to have won in six different decades, and most of Europe’s leading seniors.
They will be joined by a galaxy of stars from stage and screen including Robert Wagner and Jill St. John, Robert Loggia, Carol Alt, Christopher Lee, Cuba Gooding Jr., sporting "greats"- Henri Leconte, Alberto Tomba, Julius Erving, Greg Lemond, Lance Armstrong, Franz Beckenbauer, Danny Sullivan, Ingemar Stenmark, Tom Okker, Mikael Pernfors, Yves Saint Martin, and Jim Courier, and big names from the music world - Tico Torres, Stephen Stills and Mike Mills (REM).
Evidence of the strength of this heady cocktail is the fact that the CBS "Early Show" anchor man, Bryant Gumbel has confirmed his presence at the event, where he will not only be playing but also covering the event for CBS. The renowned American magazine, the "ROBB REPORT" has also become a major backer of the event, becoming an official sponsor.
The primary sponsor this week is Big 3 Records. Newly formed in the United States, Big 3 Records has the goal of "Discovering, Developing and Delivering the Stars of Tomorrow… Today." Part of "Big 3 Entertainment", Big 3 Records produces the platform that unleashes stardom; their stars provide the talent that has become their trademark.
Moneys raised through the event gala will be donated to three charities selected by the co-chairmen. For his part, this year Prince Albert has chosen Mission Enfance. Kevin Costner has again chosen Haven House for battered women and children in the USA, and Gary Player, has selected the Gary Player Foundation for the building of schools in South Africa.
In an official statement, H.R.H. Prince Albert underlined the importance of the event in raising money for worthy causes: "When golf and charity are combined, the winning spirit of the golfers on the greens is hopefully transmitted in some way to those less fortunate than ourselves, and who, through the initiative of each and every person participating in the tournament, may see their lives brightened a little."
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: "We are delighted to welcome Big 3 Records into our growing family of sponsors and look forward to developing our relationship in the future. The inaugural Monte Carlo Invitational was a great success last year and once again promises to be one of the marquee events in a busy season.
"The combination of a tournament involving senior professionals and a host of international celebrities and VIP’s creates a unique event and we thank HRH Prince Albert of Monaco and the members and officials of Monte Carlo Golf Club and the Promoters Monte Carlo Entertainment Limited for their help in creating this exciting new event."
The field will be made up of 48 leading senior professionals who will play alongside 24 celebrities and 24 VIP’s.
Many of the current European Seniors Tour players will be familiar with Mont Agel from their days on the regular Tour. From 1984 to 1992 the Monte Carlo Open was a regular stop for the European Tour and three of the greatest rounds in the history of the Tour were played over the course.
In 1990 Ian Woosnam won the first of his three consecutive Monte Carlo Open titles with a brilliant final round of 60, nine under par. Two years later Johan Rystrom and Darren Clarke both equalled that score over the same course. Only eight players have ever shot a round of 60 on the European Tour.1st round tee-times