Event to go ahead despite having no main sponsor
THE BRITISH MASTERS will remain on the European Tour schedule for 2019 despite it not currently able to attract a main sponsor. Sky Sports’ four-year sponsorship of the event came to an end at Walton Heath in October and, with no sponsor in the pipeline, there were fears that it would be axed.
However, the European Tour revealed that the British Masters would take place for a fifth consecutive year in its current guise, with a new tournament host, venue and position in the calendar. Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood will be the host – following on from Ian Poulter (2015), Luke Donald (2016), Lee Westwood (2017) and Justin Rose (2018).
The event will take place at Hillside Golf Club in Fleetwood’s hometown of Southport and from May 9-12 – a week before the US PGA Championship. “I can’t wait to host the British Masters in my hometown,” said Fleetwood. “It will be such an honour and I’m so grateful to have been asked. “I’m extremely proud to follow the great ambassadors of our game who have hosted this tournament. I am very confident that Southport will make everyone welcome and the north west of England, and its love of golf, will embrace this opportunity and show support to us all.” The event will mark the European Tour’s first visit to Hillside since 1982 when Tony Jacklin won the Sun Alliance PGA Championship – the precursor to the BMW PGA Championship – beating his fellow Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer in a play-off.
Hillside Golf Club also played host to the European Tour in its inaugural season in 1972, when Tommy Horton won the Piccadilly Medal, and the following year when former tour chairman Neil Coles won the PGA Match Play title. It was also utilised by the R&A as a Final Qualifying venue for the Open Championship from 2014 to 2017.