The European Tour is finally back home in the U.K. with this week’s return to the famed Belfry for the British Masters.
Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion plays host to this week’s stop, the first of nine in the U.K. The top 10 from this week’s event and the next two will earn spots in the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines as there will be no separate qualifiers this season.
The Belfry’s Brabazon course is famous for host four Ryder Cup matches — 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002. The last time The Belfry hosted the British Masters, Lee Westwood lost in a playoff to Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
“I’m very excited to be hosting the Betfred British Masters at a very iconic European venue in The Belfry. It’ll be a real honor.” said Willett. “We’ve had some great hosts and some great golf courses, it’s nice to see some of the best courses in Britain that people may not have had the chance to play on.”
The course itself has undergone some recent renovations along with the entire resort. The Brabazon course now plays 7,310 yards with updates to the eighth, 10th and 18th holes bringing some prominent hazards back into play for wayward shots. The course remains a par72.
Westwood will not be in the field along with some other familiar European names as many are already in the United States to prepare for next week’s second major championship of the year — the PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Another player missing this event is South African Garrick Higgo. Higgo, who turns 22 on Wednesday, is headed for the U.S. to play in his first-ever major championship — the PGA. Higgo has won two of the last three European Tour events and has climbed to No. 51 in the world rankings.
R&A Says It’s Expecting “Significant” Number Of Spectators At Open Championship:
After cancelling the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, the R&A says the 2021 championship is full speed ahead and there will be spectators at Royal St. George’s.
R&A boss Martin Slumbers said this week he is looking for “a significant number of fans” in attendance at the championship, to be held July 15-18 as the season’s final major championship.
“I would like to be able to give greater clarity on our plans at this stage,” Slumbers said, “but we recognize that a number of important decisions have still to be made by the government on issues such as social distancing, testing and COVID certification, which will have a significant bearing on the potential level of attendance at the Championship.”
No specific number was mentioned by Slumbers, saying it all depends on what the government in the U.K. might allow.
The Open Championship was the only major not played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
South Korean Equity Fund Buying TaylorMade:
Apparently there’s money to burn in South Korea.
TaylorMade, manufacturer of over-priced golf equipment, will be acquired by a South Korean investment group — Centroid Investment Partners.
KPS Capital Partners is ready to celebrate. Estimated purchase price is between $1.5 and $1.7 billion. KPS acquired the company from Adidas for $425 million.
Controid is a mid-sized private equity fund that was put together in 2015. It bought a luxury golf club outside Seoul for $171 million.
Money must be growing on trees in South Korea.