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European Tour

DP World Tour: Thriston Lawrence wins Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award

Thriston Lawrence has become the first South African to be crowned Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, after a breakthrough season on the DP World Tour that included two wins, six further top tens and a Major debut.

DP World Tour: Lawrence celebrated two victories in debut season

A previous winner on the Sunshine Tour, the 25 year old made the perfect start to the 2022 season with victory in the opening tournament – and the first since the European Tour became the DP World Tour – at the co-sanctioned Joburg Open, where he is defending his title this week.

His breakthrough victory not only secured a DP World Tour exemption, it also led to his first appearance in a Major as part of The Open Qualifying Series, and he went on to finish inside the top 50 at the historic 150th Open at St Andrews.

A first professional victory on European soil followed in August when he secured the Omega European Masters title in a play-off triumph over England’s Matt Wallace at the iconic Golf Club Crans Montana in Switzerland.

That win led to another landmark, as he moved inside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

“A dream come true”

Lawrence racked up six further top tens, including a tied second finish at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa and third place at the Horizon Irish Open, on the way to finishing 14th in the DP World Tour’s season-long rankings.

“It’s a dream come true. If you look at the names on the trophy, it’s incredible. A year ago I didn’t even have a category, so when I started off with a victory, it came to mind straight away to go for this award. To have accomplished it is an incredible feeling – I’m very grateful and honoured,” said Lawrence.

“It was very special to get the first win at the Joburg Open. This was where my life changing dream started, and I’m honoured to be defending here this week.

“That win opened up so many doors for me. It gave me a winner’s category, gave me the chance to play big events like the Rolex Series and my first Major at St Andrews, where golf started.

First South African as Rookie of the Year

“Winning twice was incredible, and it’s not where I want to end. It’s a balance between being strict on yourself, sticking to your routine, having good support behind you. It’s not just me, it’s a whole bigger team. Onwards and upwards from here.”

Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I would like to congratulate Thriston on being named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year after a truly memorable debut season.

“Our Tour has been graced by many fantastic players from South Africa over the years, which makes it even more special that Thriston is the first of his countrymen to win this award and join the prestigious list of international winners. We look forward to watching his career unfold on the DP World Tour in the years ahead.”

“He didn’t take his foot off the gas”

David Howell, Chairman of the Tournament Committee, said: “Thriston is a worthy winner of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award and, on behalf of the Tournament Committee, I would like to congratulate him on a fantastic season.

“Winning the first event of the season opened up so many doors for him, but he didn’t take his foot off the gas, and it was a great achievement to follow that up with another win in such a historic event just a few months later.

“I’m sure there is more to come, and I look forward to seeing Thriston on Tour in the coming seasons.”

(Text: Press release DP World Tour)

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European Tour

The DP World Tour and Emirates sign partnership extension

As part of the agreement, Emirates will benefit from highly visible branding across 21 DP World Tour tournaments and the Tour’s media and digital platforms, as well as enjoying access to the Tour’s premium hospitality services and exclusive Pro-Am experiences. Emirates will also have Official Tournament Partner status at 14 events on the DP World Tour calendar each season. Emirates will continue to be a partner of the Tour’s Virtual Eye, which is an animated graphics system delivered through live television broadcasts, providing real-time positioning and information about player performance and statistics. In addition, a new Emirates Fly Better Moments content strand will showcase exciting moments from tournaments for fans via the Tour’s digital platforms.

DP World Tour & Emirates: Partnership since 30 years

Emirates is one of the world’s largest international airlines connecting customers to more than 130 destinations across six continents via Dubai with its modern fleet of Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft. The partnership between Emirates and the DP World Tour stretches back over 30 years, after Emirates became Title Partner of the Dubai Desert Classic in 1989. Emirates then became a Partner of the season ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in 2009, and became an Official Tour Partner and Official Airline of the Tour in 2014.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “We’re delighted to extend our partnership with the DP World Tour. The tour continues to grow in prominence, attracting the best international golf players and providing us a platform to engage with golf fans on a global scale. Fittingly, the DP World Tour Championship culminates in Dubai, bringing visitors and global attention to Emirates’ home city which has also grown to become one of the world’s leading golfing destinations.”

Since 2009, the airline has carried more than 600 professional golfers to Dubai to play in the season ending DP World Tour Championship, bringing together more than 200,000 golf enthusiasts to watch the exciting tournament.

Guy Kinnings, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Commercial Officer of the European Tour group, added: “Emirates are one of our longest serving partners and I’m delighted that they have decided to extend our partnership until the end of the 2024 season. As an airline that connects the world, they continue to benefit from aligning their brand with a truly global Tour – and our footprint continues to expand into new countries each season. We also benefit from Emirates’ extensive sports partnerships experience and proven track record in connecting sports fans to their passion.”

(Text: European Tour Group Communications)

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European Tour

DP World Tour Enjoys Record Ticket Sales Across Key Summer Events

The DP World Tour has enjoyed record ticket sales across its key summer events in 2022, as fans have flocked to watch the world’s best compete for some of the oldest and most prestigious titles in golf.

Across four of the Tour’s most historic tournaments – Rolex Series events the BMW PGA Championship and the Genesis Scottish Open, in addition to the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett and the Horizon Irish Open – the DP World Tour has enjoyed a record 20 sold out days for general admission tickets and premium hospitality. Key tournament highlights include:

  • The 2022 BMW PGA Championship saw a 30% increase in ticket sales compared to the previous year, with three of the four competition days fully sold out in a tournament that was cut to 54-holes following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The 2022 Genesis Scottish Open in June, co-sanctioned with the PGA TOUR for the first time and with 14 of the top 15 players in the world rankings competing, saw a 12% increase in ticket sales compared to comparable pre-COVID sales in 2019.
  • The 2022 Horizon Irish Open in July saw a 40% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019. Weekend tickets sold out for the first time in the tournament’s history.
  • The 2022 Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett in May enjoyed a sold-out final day, with a 4% increase in ticket sales compared to 2019.
  • Attendance figures across all four tournaments stood at 271,000.
  • Premium hospitality packages enjoyed complete sell-outs across all days at the Genesis Scottish Open, the BMW PGA Championship and the Horizon Irish Open.

DP World Tour sets ticket sales records

This ticketing success has led to a 32% increase in ticketing and hospitality revenue for these four tournaments in 2022 compared to 2019 – the last normal season before the pandemic. These tournaments have also enjoyed strong growth on social media for their dedicated tournament channels, with a 66% growth in follower numbers since 2019.

The DP World Tour also continues to deliver unforgettable experiences to fans, with attendees rating their overall event experience an 8.5/10. This benchmarks above UK major sporting event industry averages. The majority also expressed a desire to attend again and would strongly recommend the events to family and friends.

The fan base is also increasingly diverse, with a 39% increase in the number of female ticket purchasers for DP World Tour events this season compared to 2019.

This ticketing success has also been driven by the creation of Tour Consumer Experiences – a joint venture with industry-leading sports marketing and data technology company Two Circles. This is seeing the DP World Tour utilise Two Circles’ insights into sports fan behaviour and technology-driven sales and marketing capabilities.

New fans due to pandemic circumstances

Speaking about the record year Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour group, said: “Golf has enjoyed a significant boom in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with its outdoor nature allowing an earlier return to action than most sports – helping to attract new fans to the game. The DP World Tour has worked hard to make sure that we utilise this momentum and find innovative ways to attract new fans to our tournaments.

“We have enjoyed a record summer of golf, with big name players competing for record prize funds and spectators have turned out in record numbers to watch. The DP World Tour has never been in such a strong position, and we expect this momentum to continue into the final few months of the 2022 season with November’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai already enjoying record registrations to attend.”

Register here to receive the latest news and information, and to be the first to be notified when general admission tickets and premium experience packages go on sale.

Text: DP World Tour

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European Tour

DP World Tour: BMW PGA Championship will resume on Saturday

Following the immediate suspension of play on Thursday evening and the complete cancellation of all day’s play on Friday, both actions taken in memory of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and out of respect for the Royal Family, the DP World Tour today confirmed the BMW PGA Championship will restart on Saturday morning. The decision by the DP World Tour has been taken in accordance with Official National Mourning guidance and in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

There will be a two-minute silence at 9.50 am on Saturday across the venue to commemorate the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with the proclamation of King Charles III being shown on the television screens in the Championship Village from 10 am. While catering facilities will be open to spectators, the two concerts on Saturday and Sunday will be cancelled along with other entertainment on the Show Stage. Across the weekend, black ribbons will be made available for people to wear.

The BMW PGA Championship will now be contested over 54 holes with the intention to finish on Sunday as scheduled. The second round will resume at 6.40 am on Saturday and all original second-round tee times will remain the same. Those players who are yet to complete their first round will do so from 7.30 am onwards from the place on the golf course where they stopped on Thursday afternoon.

On behalf of all our employees in the UK and around the world, the BMW Group’s deepest sympathies and condolences continue to be with The Royal Family.

(Text: BMW Group)

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European Tour

Celebrity Pro-Am opens 2022 BMW PGA Championship

The flagship event on the DP World Tour, the BMW PGA Championship, kicked off on Wednesday with the traditional Celebrity Pro-Am. A host of well-known sport, film and music stars reached for their golf clubs and joined the professionals on the iconic West Course at the Wentworth Club.

When golf stars meet actors, athletes and pop stars

Tyrrell Hatton, the 2020 BMW PGA Champion teed off alongside Formula 1 driver Lando Norris and actor Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. James and Oliver Phelps also rose to fame through these blockbuster films, as Weasley twins Fred and George. They played in the Pro-Am alongside major winner Justin Rose and pop star Niall Horan (formerly of ‘One Direction’ fame).

Another two big names from the music scene, Brian McFadden (formerly of ‘Westlife’) and Keith Duffy (formerly of ‘Boyzone’), teamed up with Max Kieffer. Defending champion Billy Horschel, a self-professed West Ham United fan, took to the course together with Mark Noble, the former captain of the Premier League side.

Other successful sports stars who jumped at the opportunity to play in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am included John Terry (football), Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Kevin Pietersen (all cricket), Will Greenwood (rugby), James Guy (swimming), Eve Muirhead and Vicky Drummond (both curling).

The competition of the Morning Starters was won by Tommy Fleetwood, Rahul Yadav, Jayant Nanda and Shirish Saraf with a score of -31. Victory in the afternoon went to the team led by Belgian Thomas Detry (-26).

On Thursday, the focus switches to the battle for one of the most coveted titles on the DP World Tour. Given the high-class field, this ought to be both intensive and exciting. The spectacular top trio of defending champion Billy Horschel (USA), FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy (NIR) and U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick (ENG) tees off at 08:30 local time. They are followed onto the West Course by Shane Lowry (IRL), Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood (both ENG). In Jon Rahm (ESP), Viktor Hovland (NOR) and Tyrell Hatton (ENG), another very attractive group will take to the course at 12:40.

Luke Donald (ENG), the 2023 European Ryde Cup captain, and four Germans – Max Kieffer, Matti Schmid, Hurly Long and Nicolai von Dellingshausen – will also be in action at the 2022 BMW PGA Championship.

(Text: BMW Group)

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European Tour

Prep for the Ryder Cup: DP World Tour brings team match play tournament

In the week leading up to the DP World Tour’s (formerly European Tour) flagship tournament – the BMW PGA Championship, which also kicks off Ryder Cup qualifying – the European circuit has announced a new tournament format. The Hero Cup in January 2023 will be played in team match play as a sort of replacement for the Seve Trophy last held in 2013. Captain Luke Donald is enthusiastic and hopes to prepare for the Ryder Cup.

DP World Tour: New team match play format

“One of the first things I was keen to do when I was appointed as Ryder Cup Captain was to reinstate a team match play contest to give playing and leadership experience to future Ryder Cup players, vice-captains and Captains,” the leader of the European Ryder Cup team for the 2023 continental competition in Rome is quoted as saying in a DP World Tour press release. The Hero Cup, scheduled to take place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 13-15 January 2023, will feature two ten-man teams made up of British/Irish and Continental European golfers.

Donald will be in charge of the event and will assemble both teams in consultation with their respective captains, who are yet to be announced. The competition will consist of a fourball, a foursome and a singles round, each involving all 20 players. Who will be allowed to compete in the new tournament format will be announced after the season ends with the DP World Tour Championship 2022 in Dubai. The performance of the past season will also be taken into account in the selection.

Luke Donald with plenty of influence

“I spoke to a number of former Ryder Cup Captains who were strong advocates of how similar events in the past have benefitted players who were pushing to make Ryder Cup teams, as well as their own captaincy journey,” Donald, who was appointed skipper just a few weeks ago, said of the reasons for the new format.

The Ryder Cup captain thus continues to influence the design of the Continental Cup, which will be held in September 2023 at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome. Most recently, Donald, together with his vice-captains, had adjusted the qualifying criteria and given himself more leeway by selecting a larger number of picks. Now the aim is to increase competitiveness again through playing practice in team competition and in man-to-man battles after they went down in the “Waterloo of Wisconsin” against an overpowering American team in 2021.

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European Tour

Statement from the DP World Tour on recently issued sanctions

Following a hearing before HHJ Sycamore CBE, appointed by Sport Resolutions (UK), suspensions imposed on Ian Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding have been temporarily stayed, pending determination of their substantive appeals by an Appeal Panel in due course.

Keith Pelley about the lifting of the sanctions

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said: “Out of respect for JP and Noreen McManus, their wonderful Pro-Am and the outstanding fundraising they undertake on behalf of charities in the west of Ireland, I will not be giving a detailed response on this matter right now.
 
“I will simply say we are disappointed by the outcome of today’s hearing, but will abide by the decision. It is important to remember, however, this is only a stay of the sanctions imposed, pending the hearing of the players’ appeal as to whether those sanctions were appropriate.
 
“The make-up of the field for the Genesis Scottish Open will be advised in due course, but based on this decision the field size will increase beyond 156.
 
“We will make further comment on this in due course, but not during our time at Adare Manor.”

(Text: DP World Tour)

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European Tour

DP World Tour confirms member sanctions

The DP World Tour today confirmed the sanctions to be taken against members who breached Tour regulations and participated in a LIV Golf event at Centurion Club from June 9-11, despite not having received releases to allow them to do so.

Such actions contravened the conflicting event Regulation laid down in the Members’ General Regulations Handbook as well as the Code of Behaviour Regulation, of which the members have been reminded on a number of recent occasions, and has led the Tour to take the following steps, which have been notified to all members concerned.

  • They will be fined £100,000*
  • They have been advised that they are suspended from participating in the following DP World Tour tournaments – the Genesis Scottish Open and Barbasol Championship (July 7-10) and the Barracuda Championship (July 14-17) and have been removed from the entry lists of these events where applicable.

It is important to note that participation in a further conflicting tournament or tournaments without the required release may incur further sanctions.

*Money raised from the fines will be shared equally in two distinct ways; (i) it will be added to prize funds of upcoming tournaments on the DP World Tour, to the benefit of Members of the DP World Tour who have complied with the Release rules and (ii) it will be distributed through the Tour’s Golf for Good programme to deserving charitable causes in the communities that the DP World Tour plays.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said: “Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules. That is what has occurred here with several of our members.

“Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our Tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years.

“Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the Tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today.”

Text: DP World Tour

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European Tour

Danny Willett secures £19,000 donation at Betfred British Masters

For a second successive year the 2016 Masters Tournament winner selected Prostate Cancer UK as the tournament’s Official Charity and title sponsors Betfred pledged to donate £1,000 for every birdie and £2,000 for every eagle made by Willett at The Belfry directly to the charity.

The 34-year-old secured £12,000 before the weekend, carding eight birdies alone during Friday’s second round on the iconic Brabazon Course. He then recorded seven further birdies during Saturday and Sunday’s rounds for a £19,000 total. Over the last two years as host of the Betfred British Masters, Willett alone has raised £38,000 for the charity as Betfred also donated £1,000 for every birdie made by the Yorkshireman in 2021.

The eight-time DP World Tour winner is a long-term supporter of Prostate Cancer UK and proudly wore the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ badge during the tournament as 50,000 spectators descended on the four-time Ryder Cup venue across the week.

“It’s an amazing contribution,” said Willett. “Betfred’s help during the week has been phenomenal, and it’s nice to actually get the guys in and watch some golf live and have some interaction with fans. It’s been a really special week.

“It shows their massive support over these last two years, with me being the host and the even the previous three or four years before that in sponsoring the British Masters, they have been tremendous in it, during COVID to still keep up the sponsorship and prize fund as they have, they have been amazing. Last year at the tournament, there were no fans due to COVID-19. Not only have we raised a lot of money for Prostate Cancer UK, we have also raised a lot of awareness about the disease. Fans were able to go to the tented village this week, speak to people about it and have a one-on-one interaction with a representative from the charity.”

Before the tournament, Willett was sent a good luck video message by Steve Rolley, one of his former junior coaches with England Golf. Rolley was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2021 after being randomly selected for a BARCODE1 trial led by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. After receiving treatment at The Royal Marsden late last year, Rolley experienced a positive outcome and no further issues are envisaged.

“I remember Steve from EGU coaching at Woodhall Spa and in Spain,” added Willett, who later spoke to Rolley on the phone. “I was surprised to hear that scenario and what he’s gone through in the last 18 months. Lucky that he randomly took part and they got it early enough, and now he’s got the all-clear and is good and healthy again. It’s another one of those things where someone who you know has been affected by it, but luckily he’s seen the other side.” More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the United Kingdom and one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Many supporters descended on the event village across the four days, helping raise even more funds for Prostate Cancer UK by taking on the long putt and chipping challenges, and speaking to charity volunteers to learn more about the disease. Including Danny’s birdies, the charity were proud to raise more than £48,000.

Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “What an incredible week. We’re so proud Danny Willett once again picked Prostate Cancer UK as his charity of choice for the Betfred British Masters, and are also hugely grateful to the DP World Tour staff for allowing him to host the event for an unprecedented second time, this time with fans returning to the iconic Belfry course.

“Aside from a flurry of birdies from Danny there was also some fantastic fundraising in the event village, including the hugely popular long putt challenge, and those playing in the Pro-Am event, which meant we raised more than £48,000. That game-changing contribution will help fund lifesaving research to beat prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men. Heartfelt thanks to Danny and his management team, Betfred and the DP World Tour for their continued support, for The Belfry for hosting us, and the players, caddies, marshals and fans who showed their backing during the week. Men, we are with you.”

Betfred boss Fred Done said: “Danny was an excellent tournament host both on and off the golf course and we are delighted to donate £19,000 to his chosen charity, Prostate Cancer UK.”

Kit Gartrell, Championship Director of the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett, said: “We were delighted to work alongside Prostate Cancer UK, Danny Willett’s chosen Official Charity for the Betfred British Masters once again. Prostate cancer is a disease which affects one in eight men, so to help raise awareness of the disease amongst the 50,000 strong crowd we welcomed to The Belfry last week was incredibly important. We applaud Danny for his efforts on the golf course and the staff and volunteers from Prostate Cancer UK for their tireless work off the course as significant funds were raised across the week.”

To find out more about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in golf, including their Big Golf Race, in which players can take on two or four rounds in a day, visit prostatecanceruk.org/golf.

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European Tour

Regarding LIV Golf Events: European Tour sends out warning to players

In a memo to players on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour), Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour Group, has issued a strong warning against defection to the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series, reports the GolfChannel. The memo was about the “release protocols” as some players want to attend the tournaments initiated by Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabian money.

European Tour: Urgent appeal from the boss

Conflicting events, regardless of how attractive they might appear to you personally, potentially compromise our efforts in these areas and could significantly hurt your tour in both the short and long term,” Pelley wrote. “Please continue to bear this bigger picture in mind.” In addition, Pelley explained that some of the tournaments in the LIV Golf Invitational Series would be held at the same time as heritage events, including the Irish Open, Italian Open and Open de Espana.

In his memo, Keith Pelley also refuted rumours that they had turned down a multi-million dollar Golf Saudi investment. “Although we had discussions with Golf Saudi about extending our relationship beyond the Saudi International tournament, we never received a formal written offer from them,” GolfChannel quoted from the memo. However, the European Tour (now DP World Tour) had received an offer from Raine Capital in 2020, who were linked to a Premier League Golf at the time.

LIV Golf Invitational Series by Greg Norman

The LIV Golf Invitational Series is now being funded by the Saudi Arabian Private Investment Fund (PIF) and is tempting with huge prize money. Earlier this week, it was announced that a first professional from the PGA Tour and further professionals from the DP World Tour have asked for permission to participate in the inaugural event (09-11 June in London) of the tournament series launched by Greg Norman.

Now the head of the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) warned his players against a defection and appealed for loyalty to the tour. The PGA Tour had also threatened to exclude its players from the Majors and Ryder Cup when the rumours of a new Saudi League first emerged and urged its stars to stay on the PGA Tour with pledges of loyalty and new sources of income, such as the Players Impact Program.