The ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management makes its debut on the European Tour this week. Here are your five things to know.
An historic event
This week’s tournament will be the first time an event of this kind is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour in the northern hemisphere – following in the footsteps of the ISPS HANDA Vic Open in Australia which has the same format.
Forming part of the UK Swing, the tournament will count towards the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and carry Team Europe Ryder Cup points, while the women’s tournament will count towards the Race to the CME Globe for women on the LPGA Tour, the Race to Costa del Sol on the Ladies European Tour (LET) with Solheim Cup points available for both Team Europe and Team USA.
Both men’s and women’s tournaments will take place simultaneously.
144 men and 144 women will compete over the first two days of competition, with each tournament playing one round on the two host courses, Galgorm Castle and Massereene.
A 36-hole cut will then be made in each tournament, with a further cut after 54 holes to the top 30 players (and ties) from each tournament set to compete on the final day.
The women’s field will be split equally between the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour. The $2.35 million purse will be split evenly, with men and women competing for two equal prize funds.
The second iteration
The ISPS HANDA World Invitational may be making its way on to the European Tour schedule for the first time, but this is not the first time this event has been played.
It has been elevated to European Tour status following a hugely successful inaugural edition on the European Challenge Tour in 2019. Last time around, local hero Stephanie Meadow held off Charley Hull to win the women’s tournament while Jack Senior defeated compatriot and good friend Matthew Baldwin in a sudden death play-off.
Coinciding with the men and women’s events is also the second EDGA (European Disabled Golf Association) event in a row: The ISPS HANDA World Disability Invitational presented by Brendan Lawlor.
The event is one of five 36-hole tournaments set for this season, which will see up to ten golfers taken from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) take up the opportunity to tackle the same course set-up as the European Tour professionals.
The same field who competed in the EDGA Cazoo Open last week will be competing again this week, with a new set of 10 golfers set to compete in the next two events, prior to the final event.
Tournament host Brendan Lawlor won the EDGA Cazoo Open, finishing seven strokes ahead of Italy’s Tomasso Perrino at Celtic Manor.
The opening tee shot
Amy Bockerstette became a viral sensation when she made a par on the famous 16th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale on the PGA Tour a couple of years ago, and this week she’ll be making her way to Northern Ireland to get the tournament under way.
Bockerstette, who made history when she became the first golfer with Down syndrome to play in a college championship in the United States, made headlines once again when she received a phonecall from tournament host Brendan Lawlor. Lawlor surprised her by bringing her favourite singer Niall Horan (founder of Modest! Golf) in to the virtual call, who then told a surprised Amy that he wanted her to come to Ireland.
He said: “Modest! Golf, and ISPS HANDA have a tournament in Ireland called the ISPS HANDA World Invitational, and it’s full of your favourite LPGA – so all of your favourite LPGA stars are going to be there, European Tour players, Brendan’s playing, and guess what? I would like, and ISPS HANDA would like, to bring you, your mum and your dad to pay for your flights and come over to the tournament.
“And another one, because you are such an inspiration, we really want you, because you embody everything that ISPS HANDA embody in breaking down barriers in the game, we want you to hit the opening tee shot to kick the tournament off for the week”
See her reaction below!