Expect another packed year of golf ahead on the European Tour with the schedule taking in 48 countries and 31 countries – here are the big talking points of the 2019 European Tour schedule.
2019 European Tour schedule: Rock on Tommy – Fleetwood to host British Masters
After the doom and gloom of Walton Heath and the seeming end of the British Masters the best news of the lot is that it has been saved after all.
Tommy Fleetwood will host it and, equally good news, is that Hillside will be the venue. It has been moved to the second week in May and comes the week before the US PGA at Bethpage.
If you haven’t seen or played Hillside then you are in for a treat, it sits in the middle of Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale and is a treasured piece of England’s Golf Coast.
“I can’t wait to host the British Masters in my home town,” said Fleetwood. “It will be such an honour and I’m so grateful to have been asked. 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.”
— Tommy Fleetwood (@TommyFleetwood1) October 29, 2018
Hillside has recently been used as a Final Qualifying venue for The Open.
2019 European Tour schedule: Abu Dhabi elevated to Rolex standing
Once upon a time Dubai ruled the golfing waves in the UAE. In recent years Abu Dhabi has taken over and now it will kick off the Rolex Series for 2019 in place of the French Open which moves to the middle of October.
Abu Dhabi only joined the calendar in 2006 but, thanks to bundles of cash, they have brought in numerous superstars from the States.
The prize fund will now go from $3m to $7m and Fleetwood will be going for a hat-trick of wins. The other Rolex events remain the same with the Italian Open moving from June to October.
2019 European Tour schedule: September home for Wentworth
We’ve known this since last August. The PGA Championship (the major one) will be played in May next year, which then shifted The Players back to its original March slot, and so the Tour’s flagship event makes the leap to September 19.
So, after all the years talking about the British season starting proper when we get to the Burma Road, we will now have to find a different focal point.
The challenge has always been to ensure that the tournament gets more of the really big names, if you believe what the players say the consistency of the greens was always a major factor, but now that these have all been re-seeded to improve the appearance and playability, a sub-air system installed, the FedEx Cup will be finished and it’s got a later date in the calendar then it could be spectacular.
For those of a certain age a September trip to the West Course will stir happy memories of the World Match Play.
And in its late May slot, the week after Fleetwood’s Masters, goes the Made in Denmark which has been traditionally played for in August. This will return to its spiritual home of Himmerland so expect plenty of colour and a boat load of videos of the short 16th.
2019 European Tour schedule: Saudi Arabia?
We’ve known this since April when it was announced that Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed will be playing in the inaugural Saudi International from January 31. Should it be of interest you can expect to see Paul Casey and Thomas Bjorn in action too.
There are around a dozen courses in the Kingdom and you won’t be surprised to hear that most are sand-based layouts with browns instead of greens. One that isn’t is the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, which is positioned along the Red Sea coastline, that opened for business at the end of last year.
And, wouldn’t you know it, Johnson and Reed can’t wait to fill their pockets, sorry be part of this historic event.
“It sounds like some amazing things are happening there, including big plans for junior and family golf development. It’s an honour to be part of Saudi Arabia’s golf journey from the onset,” said Johnson.
While the Masters champ didn’t have to think twice about ticking off this bucket-list tournament.
“I had not finalised anything in my schedule for next year but when I heard about the ambitious plans for golf in Saudi Arabia, I committed straightaway.”
2019 European Tour schedule: Men and women playing golf together, can you imagine such a thing?
The Vic Open makes its debut on the European Tour in February which might not sound too exciting but, brace yourself, men AND women play together on the same course AND at the same time AND for an equal share of the pot. This has been going on since 2012 but this is first time it has been part of the European Tour calendar.
The following week, and continuing the innovative theme, we get the World Super 6 in Perth while GolfSixes moves to Portugal in June.
Finally the Shot Clock Challenge is back for a second go in August at a venue to be decided.
To see the schedule in full CLICK HERE.