THE Wales Open will kick off the race for qualification for the 2014 Ryder Cup when it switches to a new date in August.
The 2013 tournament will take place at the Celtic Manor from August 29-September 1 and be the first counting event towards qualification for the European team.
The start of the qualification process continues the rich Ryder Cup history at Celtic Manor, which provided such a spectacular stage for Europe’s dramatic 141⁄2-131⁄2 victory over the United States in 2010. Celtic Manor Resort chief executive Dylan Matthews said: “We are delighted to have secured a new, attractive date for the 2013 ISPS Handa Wales Open.
“The tournament has been played in late May and early June every year since 2003 and it will give the event fresh impetus to move to a new position later in the summer.
“I’m sure many of the leading players on The European Tour will be anxious to give their hopes of qualification the best possible start by securing the first prize at the Wales Open.”
Taking place three weeks after the US PGA Championship, the later date in the last week of August will also give director of golf courses Jim McKenzie a longer growing season to further improve the quality of the Twenty Ten Course test presented to the players.
- The European Tour are to introduce a 'Final Series' of four big-money events at the end of next season - two in China, one in Turkey and then one in Dubai.
Total prize money of almost £19million will be offer at the BMW Masters, WGC-HSBC Champions, Turkish Open and the DP World Tour Championship.
In a bid to strengthen the fields as much as possible, players will only be eligible for the season-ending showdown if they compete in two of the first three – and if they are at all three then their points on the 'Race to Dubai' money list will receive a 20 per cent bonus.
The financial problems across Europe are reflected in the fact that Spain has gone from seven tournaments last year to only one next season.
That is the Spanish Open on April 18-21 at a venue yet to be announced, although Miguel Angel Jimenez – who last week became the circuit's oldest-ever winner – is still hoping to continue with the Andalucian Open he promotes.
The only event in England all year will be the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 16-19.