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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

Gallacher among Ryder Cup stars seeking DP World Tour Q School redemption at INFINITUM

Stephen Gallacher is hoping to gain instant redemption and secure a 27th consecutive season on the DP World Tour as the Scot tees it up at INFINITUM this week for the return of the Qualifying School Final Stage.

The six-round marathon of golf will be played for the first time since 2019 and tension is building for the 156 players in the field, all of whom will battle it out for the 25 spots on offer to compete in the 2023 DP World Tour season.

Four-time DP World Tour winner Gallacher is one of four former Ryder Cup players in the field at the acclaimed Spanish venue, which will host the famous event from November 11-16. He is joined by fellow former Team Europe stars David Howell, Jarmo Sandelin and Chris Wood, forming an experienced quartet which boast 17 DP World Tour titles between them.

Gallacher: “You have to handle it like any other event”

The most recent of Gallacher’s four attempts at Qualifying School came 13 years ago, when he earned the third card on offer to bounce straight back after a disappointing 2009 season. He will be hoping he can repeat that feat this week at INFINITUM, a venue he has already played this year when the ISPS Championship in Spain was staged in April.

“You’re here for a reason and you’ve just got to handle it like any other event,” Gallacher said.

“You want to finish in the top 25, you want to win it and work your way around it. It’s six rounds and it’s a big mental battle more than anything, physically too. But I’ve done it three times and I’ve got my card three times so hopefully that trend continues.

“It’s been a whirlwind since 2009, I’ve reached my career goal with the Ryder Cup, I’ve had three wins, one of them with my son, and I’ve had my lows as well. But that’s golf, I got my card for the first time at Qualifying School in 2005, so it’s 27 years. You’re going to have your ups and downs, so I wouldn’t change anything.

“It’s a different chapter and you never know, you win here and you could win again next year – it could be the catalyst to work harder or figure out something.”

The tournament will be held over INFINITUM’s two 18-hole Championship courses, the Hills course and the Lakes course, both of which provide completely different challenges. Gallacher has been extremely impressed by the Tarragona resort and thinks it is a perfect fit for Qualifying School Final Stage.

“The Lakes is a great track and they’ve obviously reseeded it, changed it aesthetically as well, it looks really good and the greens are fantastic on both courses,” he said. “At the Hills, you’ve got to plot your way around, hit it in certain positions and it’s a lot tighter with more trees, whereas the Lakes is windier and dead flat.

“They pose very different challenges and you’ve got to adapt to both of them really. I quite like that; you’ve got to think all the time. They’re both challenging golf courses and you have to use your head.

“It’s exactly what you want for Qualifying School, it’s a great finish at the Lakes too. The 13th is a driveable par four, then you’ve got a good par three and then a couple of tough holes into the wind and then a reachable par five at the end. It’s got all the drama and everything you need, and I’ve no doubt the best players will get through at the end on this six-round format.”

Final Stage qualifying is the last opportunity for hopefuls to win their DP World Tour playing rights for the 2023 season and follows INFINITUM’s hosting of the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain earlier this season, over the Lakes course.

The 90-hole qualifying marathon has provided the platform for some of golf’s most famous names to go on to worldwide success, with Major champions José María Olazábal, Retief Goosen and Sandy Lyle among the list of previous winners since it was first held in 1976.

Final Stage qualifying was first played at INFINITUM in 2017, with England’s Sam Horsfield claiming victory to regain his Tour card along with 32 other players.

A year later, Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares and Zander Lombard, from South Africa, headed a list of 27 players who won their playing rights. Denmark’s Benjamin Poke topped the leaderboard in 2019 – with another 27 joining him in qualification – before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the event.

Set to the west of the beautiful city of Tarragona on the Costa Dorada, INFINITUM is regarded as one of Europe’s most popular golf and lifestyle facilities in an area of natural beauty, and the 156-strong line-up will face two very different golfing tests next month.

The venue’s Lakes course was designed by Greg Norman and runs around the wetlands of the Sequia Major. As its name would suggest, water is the layout’s chief defence, testing players and their positional play on no fewer than 14 holes, while players will find the course in outstanding condition following extensive maintenance work this summer to upgrade the fairways from Rye grass to the more sustainable Bermuda Tifway grass.

The neighbouring Hills course poses an altogether different test; several elevated tees and tight landing areas are surrounded by mature, natural pine trees

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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 – Keith Pelley: “The accusations are not tenable”

 
“There has been a leak to the media of a letter we received on behalf of a number of LIV Golf players which contains so many inaccuracies that it cannot remain unchallenged.
 
“Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition. Many of them at the time understood and accepted that. Indeed, as one player named in the letter said in a media interview earlier this year; ‘If they ban me, they ban me.’ It is not credible that some are now surprised with the actions we have taken.
 
“The letter claims that these players ‘care deeply’ for the DP World Tour. An analysis of the past participation statistics on our Tour in recent years of several of the leading players named, suggests otherwise.
 
“One player in particular named in the note has only played six Rolex Series events in the past five years. Another one, only four. I wish many of them had been as keen to play on our Tour then as they seem to be now, based on the fact they have either resigned their membership of the PGA TOUR or, if they are still in membership, have been suspended indefinitely.
 
“Furthermore, given how deeply these players say they care about the DP World Tour, perhaps some of them could have played in Ireland this week in support of our new title sponsor, in particular one player who gave us a signed commitment to play at Mount Juliet.
 
“With that player currently in action at Pumpkin Ridge, you can imagine the allegation in the letter that we are in the wrong, is hard to accept.
 
“We also take great exception to an allegation made near the end of the letter which states we are somehow playing ‘second fiddle’ to the PGA TOUR. Nothing could be further from the truth.
 
“We held a player meeting in Ireland on Tuesday where we outlined in great detail all the many benefits of our expanded relationship with the PGA TOUR.
 
“One of those is an unprecedented ten cards on offer to the PGA TOUR, cards that many of the players named in this letter desperately wanted to attain in the early stages of their careers. Why now be critical of those trying to do the same?
 
“The letter also expresses supposed concern about the future of the DP World Tour. Rest assured no-one should have any worries on that score.
 
“The DP World Tour is a vibrant, independent and global Tour with increasing and guaranteed prize fund growth over the next five years. We have fantastic tournaments across the year including a host of wonderful national Opens, all played in front of huge crowds, illustrated perfectly by this week’s Horizon Irish Open.
 
“Finally, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any potential legal matters.
 
“I will simply reiterate that our Members’ Regulations which have been in force for more than 30 years, have been accepted by all the players, are there to protect all of our members, and we will use them to take all necessary steps to protect their interests.
 
“The sanctions for those members who knowingly broke our rules by playing at the Centurion Club without a release are proportionate, fair and, I believe, considered necessary by the majority of our members.”

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