The sun rises on the European Seniors Tour this week with the start of the season-opening ‘Caribbean Swing’. The Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic tees off on Friday to mark the beginning of a year that will offer another outstanding season of golf played at some of the game’s finest venues.
The European Seniors Tour will stage a minimum 21 Order of Merit counting events offering overall prize money of €6,438,000 (£4,378,000). The Tobago Plantations Golf & Beach Resort hosts this week’s tournament, where Australia’s Terry Gale will defend the title while England’s Carl Mason will be bidding to win in his fourth consecutive start on Tour, while the following week players head to the DGM Barbados Open, where Gale is again the defending champion.
An exciting 2004 lies ahead with the Tour scheduled to hold some memorable tournaments. In May, the circuit returns to the Caribbean for the Digicel Jamaica Classic, while in the same month the Open de France Seniors will be played in Normandy as part of celebrations to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D Day landings. The inaugural Italian Seniors Open will also be held in May in the city of Venice.
The Tour travels to some of Britain’s finest venues in the summer including Royal Portrush Golf Club for the Senior British Open Championship, Wentworth Golf Club for the Travis Perkins Senior Masters and Woburn Golf & Country Club for the Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters.
Indeed, the circuit boasts a strong backbone of events including the AIB Irish Seniors Open, the Nigel Mansell Classic Presented by Sunseeker International , the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open, the Mobile Cup, the Irvine Whitlock Jersey Seniors Classic, the De Vere Northumberland Seniors Classic, the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open, the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship, and the Daily Telegraph European Seniors Match Play.
Players will also get the chance to visit Switzerland for the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open while the Tour will come to a colourful conclusion at the Sanremo Invitational and at the season-ending Estoril Seniors Tour Championship in Portugal.
“The European Seniors Tour would like to thank the many promoters and sponsors for making the wonderful schedule of events possible and we look forward once again to a season of keen competition fought out in a friendly and convivial atmosphere,” said Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour.
In Tobago this week attention will focus on Mason who won last year’s Order of Merit with record prize money by winning his last three starts of 2003. The European Seniors Tour’s most successful player in history, England’s Tommy Horton, is the only player to have triumphed in four consecutive events.