Monday, January 11, 2010

Scottish pro championship switches to King's

Course, Gleneagles in mid-October this year

As the Gleneagles Hotel gears itself up for the 2014 Ryder Cup, its famed King’s Course, often dubbed Britain’s finest inland lay-out, can already stake its claim as host to the original match, in 1921, between American and British golf professionals.
To mark the return, 93 years later, to the illustrious Perthshire resort of what became the Ryder Cup, the Gleneagles Scottish Championship will be played this year over the King’s Course in mid-October, just over a week after the Celtic Manor contest.
The heritage of the King’s is unquestionable – host, among many others, to the European Tour’s Bells Scottish Open from 1987 till 1994, in which US Masters winner, Ian Woosnam, was twice a winner, the 1936 Curtis Cup, and the Double Diamond World Classic in the 1970’s, when Nick Faldo was the 1977 champion.
But it’s the 1921 challenge match between two 10-man teams, representing the United States and the British Isles, over the newly-opened King’s Course, that sowed the seed of the biennial contest in the mind of Samuel Ryder – who just happened to be a seed merchant.
The Americans had travelled over to Scotland for the Open Championship at St Andrews, and among their group was exiled Scot, Jock Hutchison, who triumphed on the Fife course for the second of his two major titles. The home side won 9-3, with three matches halved.
The Gleneagles Hotel, having hosted and sponsored the Scottish PGA Championship since 2000, will provide a £45,000 prize fund, and this now means that the modern-day championship will have been played on all three of the hotel’s courses (European Tour player Alastair Forsyth won over the Queen’s in 2000, and defending champion, David Orr, won by three shots last year over the PGA Centenary Course).
The 2010 Gleneagles Scottish professional championship moves to a later date – October 14-17 , the week after the Dunhill Championship at St Andrews – and after qualifying rounds the field will be restricted to 66 players.
The PGA’s Chief Executive, Sandy Jones, commented “I’m delighted that the Gleneagles Hotel has now extended its sponsorship of this event. For the coming years, the Gleneagles Scottish Championship will be played on the King’s Course.
“The Championship’s dates in subsequent years will be re-examined to find the best fit for it within the overall golfing calendar.”
New PGA Scottish Region Secretary, Michael MacDougall, added “Gleneagles Hotel’s continuing support of our championship is fantastic news. We’re excited at the prospect of staging the event over the superb King’s Course, which will present an altogether fresh challenge to our members.”
This year’s other Order of Merit events on the Tartan Tour will be the 72-hole Northern Open, at a venue yet to be decided, and seven 36-holers - three Callaways (the first at Monifieth in early April), the Wateraid, Kilmarnock Barassie (May 5-6), Deer Park Masters (August 3-4 ), the Ayrshire Hospice, West Kilbride (August 9-10), and the Kerr Investments, Dumfries & Galloway (September 4-5).
Main 2010 Tartan Tour dates:
April 6-7 Callaway 36-hole, Monifieth.
May 5-6 Scottish Wateraid 36-hole, Barassie.
July 20-21 Callaway 36-hole, Craigielaw.
August 3-4 Deer Park Masters.
August 9-10 Ayrshire Hospice 36-hole, West Kilbride.
Sept 4-5 Kerr Investments 36-hole, Dumfries & Galloway.
Sept 20-21 Callaway 36-Hole, venue to be arranged.
Oct 14-17 Gleneagles Scottish Championship, King's Course.



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