THE Philippines will host its first European Tour-sanctioned golf event in 23 years when the Philippine Masters is staged in 2018.
A three-year contract was signed by Salvador Zamora's Tranzen Group with both the European and Asian tours for the staging of the Philippine Masters from 2018 to 2020 at a time and venue that will soon be announced.
Zamora's group was the same company behind the November 29 charity event that was supposed to pit Rory McIlroy against Dustin Johnson at the Pradera Verde Golf Club in Lubao, Pampanga that was eventually cancelled.
The event will mark the European Tour’s first visit to the Philippines since 1995, when American Fred Couples won the Johnnie Walker Classic at the Orchard Golf and Country Club.
“I am delighted to be hosting the European Tour here in the Philippines from 2018-2020. This will be a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour bringing some of the best players across Europe and Asia together and battling it out here in the Philippines," Zamora said in a statement.
“These are very exciting times for golf in the Philippines. My personal objective is to promote golf in the Philippines and to introduce the game to as many people as possible, with a special emphasis on the introduction of golf to children. Golf has been a major part of my life for many years and given me so much, so I now feel it is time for me to give back to golf.”
The Philippine Masters used to be part of the local tour and played annually at Villamor Golf Club, but the new Masters event to be promoted by the Tranzen Group will likely have no link to its old namesake.
Tournament organizers will announce the full Philippine Masters details, including the venue, dates and total prize fund on offer, at a later date, the Asian Tour said.
“The Philippine Masters further increases the playing opportunities for our members, and strengthens our Strategic Alliance with the Asian Tour," Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said.
“Salvador Zamora’s vision and support have been instrumental in bringing this new tournament to fruition, so we thank Mr. Zamora for his interest and his desire to bring the European Tour back to the Philippines. We look forward to working together to grow this tournament in the coming years.”
Josh Burack, chief executive officer of the Asian Tour, said: “The Asian Tour is delighted to welcome the Philippine Masters onto our schedule in early 2018."
“This new tournament will extend our long and successful association with professional golf in the country, and on behalf of our members I would like to offer our gratitude to Salvador Zamora for his generous contribution to the game. We will work closely with our Strategic Alliance partner, the European Tour, to ensure the event’s success for the benefit of the game in the Philippines, Asia and around the world.”
The announcement came after a Strategic Alliance between the European Tour and Asian Tour was forged last July, which officially ratified a partnership which had developed and grown since 1999, when the two tours co-sanctioned their first event, the Malaysian Open.