The European Tour has today unveiled its full 2020 international schedule.
Comprising a minimum of 46 tournaments in 29 different countries, it kicks off on November 28 with the Hong Kong Open and concludes almost exactly a year later with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
However, it is the addition of a new UK event at the start of August that has set tongues wagging.
Taking place the week after the British Masters at Close House, the title and venue for the event have yet to be revealed, with the European Tour saying full details will be announced later this year.
OLD SCHOOL IRON vs NEW SCHOOL IRON
The news will come as a welcome boost to golf and golf fans in the UK, who have seen the number of European Tour events staged on these shores fall from the heady heights of the 1970s and 1980s.
This year, only five events have taken place in the UK: the British Masters at Hillside; the Scottish Open at The Renaissance; the Open at Royal Portrush; the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth; and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
That’s down from ten in 1999, the same number in 1989 and 13 in 1979.
In 1972, the very first year of the European Tour, 13 of the 24 events on the schedule took place in the UK.
WATCH - HOW TO HIT A MUD BALL
Speculation is sure to mount now as to what the new event will be. Perhaps it will be the long-awaited return of the English Open, last staged in 2002? It was due to return to the European Tour schedule back in 2009 but was initially postponed until 2011, after developers ran into financial problems, before the plans were cancelled altogether in March 2011.
Alternatively, might it be the return of the World Match Play Championship, a former mainstay of the schedule, which was last played at Wentworth in 2014?
The Wales Open has also been absent from the tour since 2014 – is it set for a revival?
Perhaps it’s a brand new event altogether.
The host venue is sure to create some buzz, too.
One name that will presumably be in the frame is the JCB Golf & Country Club in Staffordshire.
The new layout opened in 2018 and has made no secret of its desire to host a top tournament. In an exclusive interview with bunkered.co.uk last year, the club’s general manager Euan Grant hinted at the prospect of staging a UK-based PGA Tour event or even a World Golf Championship. With 2020 marking the 75th anniversary of JCB, the timing would appear to be perfect to host an event there.
“There are conversations going on with various bodies, which we can’t really give further details of at the moment,” added Grant. “But we would like to position ourselves on the golfing calendar with a tournament equivalent to a BMW PGA Championship or a John Deere Classic.”
We’ll bring you more details as and when we have them.