European Tour unveils 2015 schedule as Spain chooses Ryder Cup bid venue

The European Tour has confirmed the addition of six new tournaments to its 2015 international schedule, while the Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG) has put forward the PGA Catalunya Resort as its proposed venue for the 2022 Ryder Cup.

The European Tour unveiled the first draft of its 2015 schedule last month, but confirmed the makeup of the campaign yesterday (Sunday) as Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (pictured) concluded the 2014 season by retaining his DP World Tour Championship title in Dubai.

The six new events on the 2015 European Tour International Schedule include three Asian tournaments in China, India and Thailand; two European tournaments in Germany and Scotland; and one African event in Mauritius.

Two of the new tournaments – the Thailand Classic and the Hero Indian Open – are played in consecutive weeks in mid- February. The new Shenzhen International is the first of two tournaments back to back in China in mid-April, while the inaugural Mauritius Open in the opening week of May holds the distinction of being the first tri-sanctioned tournament between the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour.

Completing the line-up of new events for 2015 are the two in Europe. Announced earlier this month, the Paul Lawrie Matchplay takes place in Scotland at the end of July, while the European Open will return to the calendar in Germany at the end of September.

The Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, led by world No.1 and newly crowned 2014 Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy, will be staged at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland, one of seven new venues on the 2015 schedule. The others are: Black Mountain Golf Club (Thailand Classic), Heritage Golf Club (Mauritius Open), Chambers Bay Golf Club (US Open), Gullane Golf Club (Scottish Open), Murcar Golf Links (Paul Lawrie Matchplay), and Golf Resort Bad Griesbach (European Open).

Keith Waters, chief operating officer and director of international policy for the European Tour, said: “We are delighted to have been able to add so many new tournaments and destinations to the Tour and we are pleased that our scheduling has enabled us to create significant clusters of tournaments in the same regions of the world whether that be in Asia, the Middle East or indeed South Africa where we have six events next season.”

Meanwhile, the race for the 2022 Ryder Cup has taken another development with the RFEG formalising its plans for Spain’s bid. PGA Catalunya Resort (Girona), recently awarded European Golf Resort of the Year 2015, is the proposed venue for the clash between Europe and the United States.

Gonzaga Escauriaza, president of the RFEG, said: “Few countries in the world have contributed as much to the development and promotion of European golf as Spain has over the last 30 years. Bringing the Ryder Cup to Spain is a central part of our strategy and will continue our proud PGA European Tour heritage.”

Denis O’Brien, PGA Catalunya Resort proprietor, added: “From its inception, the Stadium Course was designed and built with the intention to one day host the Ryder Cup. Hosting the 2022 match would be the realisation of this vision. We have worked extremely hard and invested significantly in recent years to make PGA Catalunya Resort unique. It is much more than a golf resort; it is a global golf destination. We have plans to further develop our courses and luxury property offering to introduce to the world the next generation of golf resort. This bid has our full commitment.”

Denmark’s decision to drop its bid earlier this month leaves Spain, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Turkey in the running to stage the 2022 event. Ryder Cup officials will undertake inspections of each potential host venue before the end of the year. Official bid dossiers are due by April 30 before the Ryder Cup Europe body selects the host nation in autumn 2015.