The European Tour unveiled its 2019 schedule with 47 events once again and a new fall finish anchored by the BMW Championship and followed by the Open de France’s move from May to October but losing Rolex Series status (au revoir!).
Besides elevating the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to Rolex Series status, the other headlining news is the last minute salvation of the the British Masters. Thought to be in danger, the event has landed the beautiful Hillside Golf Club next door to Royal Birkdale and Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood as host of the 2019 edition.
In terms of dates, Tommy Fleetwood will have an eye on the second week of May when he follows in the footsteps of his fellow countrymen Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose as the central figure of the British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood.
The man who contributed four points to Europe’s remarkable 17 ½ - 10 ½ Ryder Cup triumph at Le Golf National last month, will assume the role at Hillside Golf Club in his native Merseyside, the celebrated links part of the glorious stretch of terrain recognised as 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’m extremely proud to follow the great ambassadors of our game who have hosted this tournament. 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.”
The British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood will mark the European Tour’s first visit to Hillside since 1982 when Tony Jacklin won the Sun Alliance PGA Championship – the precursor to the BMW PGA Championship – beating his fellow Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer in a play-off.
Hillside Golf Club also played host to the European Tour in its inaugural season in 1972, when Tommy Horton won the Piccadilly Medal, and the following year when former Tour Chairman Neil Coles won the PGA Match Play title. It was also utilised by the R&A as a Final Qualifying venue for the Open Championship from 2014 to 2017.