In yet more good news for professional golf, Rolex and The R&A have taken measures to support the European Challenge Tour and the continued development of the next generation of leading golfers in this time of unprecedented disruption due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Following the decision to cancel the Rolex Trophy that had been scheduled for August 19–22, Rolex has offered to repurpose the tournament prize fund to benefit the wider Challenge Tour schedule and its members in 2020.
The Rolex Trophy is the longest running event on the Challenge Tour schedule, having been played at Golf Club de Genève since 1991, with former winners including European Tour champions Alex Noren, Marc Warren, Kristoffer Broberg, Byeong Hun An and Dylan Frittelli.
The redirected funding from this year’s tournament will now help create and enhance playing opportunities for Challenge Tour members, and comes alongside money from The R&A COVID-19 Support Fund, a £7million package to help golf deal with the impact of the global pandemic.
The R&A’s Fund will provide an additional £300,000 in support to the Challenge Tour on top of its existing £120,000 annual grant.
Jamie Hodges, Head of the Challenge Tour, said: “Both Rolex and The R&A are dedicated to supporting golf and their additional help this year is a fantastic gesture, which demonstrates their commitment to the development of our sport and the value they place on the role of the Challenge Tour in producing the stars of the future. The Challenge Tour has been a proven training ground for future European Tour winners, Major Champions and Ryder Cup stars since its inception in 1987.
“While there is no formal graduation to the European Tour this year, this funding will greatly help us in creating as many playing opportunities as possible in the circumstances this year, providing a platform for tomorrow’s champions to continue to gain vital experience and compete on the international stage.”
The Challenge Tour draws on relationships with golf federations and PGAs to create an international schedule for golf professionals from across the globe, giving players from developing golfing nations the opportunity to test their skills among some of the most talented up-and-coming stars.
Details of the revised Challenge Tour schedule will be announced in due course.