Volvo and The European Tour announce new "tournament of champions"
Volvo and The European Tour today unveiled a new season starting tournament on the European Tour Schedule. Taking place at the Royal Golf Club in the Kingdom of Bahrain, this special event will be a unique 'Tournament of Champions' style event and for the first time we will see European Tour tournament winners compete together with leading amateurs on one day of the Tournament.
The full official event name and logo will be announced at a press conference in Bahrain later this year. The inaugural event will take place from the 27th to 30th January, 2011, with the full support of the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
Volvo, one of the most prolific and longest serving supporters of world golf, with over 20 years experience in running world-class golf tournaments, has title-sponsored over 120 professional golf tournaments. Innovation is a watchword at Volvo and as such the Tournament has been created, together with IMG - the world's leading sports, entertainment and media company - and in conjunction with The European Tour Tournament Committee, to be a very special event with unique qualification criteria whereby only winners of previous European Tour tournaments will be eligible.
By way of celebrating the very first Tournament, the 2011 event will be widened to a full field of up to 126 players slotting into the January schedule, bringing together both current and past European Tour winners, including champions of past major events. From 2012 the Tournament will revert to a stream-lined ‘European Tour Tournament of Champions' anticipated to only include winners of the previous season's Race to Dubai counting tournaments. Crucially the 2012 and 2013 editions will then move to an earlier January date ensuring the Tournament is then the first full counting event of The European Tour International Schedule.
Volvo's sponsorship covers the golfing spectrum and includes sponsorship of the Volvo Masters Amateur Tour, a global golf series for clients and prospects that covers 25 countries and hundreds of qualifying tournaments culminating in the ‘season ending' Volvo Masters Amateur World Final. With the creation of this new tournament, Volvo have found an innovative way to combine their grassroots and professional sponsorships whereby leading qualifiers from the Volvo Masters Amateur Tour will be invited to play ‘real golf' alongside the professionals on one tournament day at this new event, providing them with firsthand experience of world class professional golf.
Per Ericsson, President & CEO of Volvo Event Management Golf, explained, "We wanted to create something very special. Today's announcement is the culmination of those dreams. Golf is unique in that it is the only sport where our clients can truly enjoy the experience of playing alongside the world's leading golfers in a professional tournament. Golf reflects our company's values and serves as a remarkably successful market tool and with this in mind we are delighted to be further expanding our commitment to The European Tour."
He continued, "It was very important for us to create a new tournament that also served as a platform for our amateur programme of which we are very proud and we believe that with this combination, we have the ideal formula for what we believe will become a key tournament on The European Tour international schedule for many years to come."
Ericsson concluded, "Bahrain Economic Development Board have shown great vision and enthusiasm to host this world class tournament. Crucially, Bahrain is located in between our biggest market, Europe, and our fastest growing market, Asia, making it the ideal location to host our international clients."
George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: "Volvo's support of The European Tour has been invaluable to our development and we again thank them for maintaining this strong and powerful partnership."
Guy Kinnings, IMG's Director of Golf, EAME, added "IMG have been long term supporters of The European Tour and coupled with Volvo's experience and commitment to golf over the past 20 plus years, we are proud to have collaborated on this exciting new tournament."
Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: "Bahrain has long been known as a business friendly location and gateway for international business looking to access wider markets across the Middle East. However, golf is a very established and important business tool that we have yet to exploit. We have worked hard to bring this event to Bahrain and are very happy that Volvo, IMG and The European Tour have chosen us as host.
The 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain, and course designer, Colin Montgomerie, added "I will feel very proud when Europe's best players go head to head over The Montgomerie Course, Bahrain. I think we have created a really superb Championship course and we are looking forward to welcoming the Championship in January."
A press conference will be held in Bahrain later this year to announce full details of the event including the full tournament title and to present the new logo.
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