European Tour announces nine UK events in tournament schedule for 2021
Lee Westwood begins the defence of his Race to Dubai crown in Abu Dhabi in January, with nine European Tour events to be held in the UK, while the Rolex Series has been "refined" for 2021
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 15/12/20 2:48pm
The European Tour has unveiled its tournament schedule for 2021 which features nine events in the UK and a "refined Rolex Series".
Lee Westwood kicks off the defence of his Race to Dubai crown on January 21 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where he will also be the defending champion following his two-shot victory over Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Victor Perez early in 2020.
Eighteen tournaments that were either postponed or cancelled last season will return to the calendar, while the Rolex Series has been trimmed to four events with each "enhanced by a prize fund increase, elevated Race to Dubai points and enriched media, content and broadcast coverage".
Former Masters champion Danny Willett has been confirmed as the host of the Betfred British Masters, which will be held at The Belfry in May, with the previous month welcoming the Tenerife Open and the Gran Canaria Open - the "Iberian Swing" to the calendar.
The British Masters is the first of the nine UK-based tournaments, with the Wales Open, Hero Open and English Open all retaining their places in the schedule having formed a post-lockdown "UK Swing" last season.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (January 21-24), the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 8-11) and the BMW PGA Championship (September 9-12) will each now have a prize fund of US$8m - an increase of $1m which also applies to the DP World Tour Championship.
Get a Sky Sports Pass for just £25 a month
Unwrap the festive action with a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass for just £25 a month. Cancel anytime.
They will also all offer 8,000 Race to Dubai points, with a new qualification system being implemented for the Scottish Open, which returns to the Renaissance Club, and the flagship tournament at Wentworth.
- Prize funds for all four UK Swing events in July / August will be increased
- The second event of the UK Swing (July 29-Aug 1) - whose details will be announced early next year - will be co-sanctioned with the LET/LPGA
- The UK Swing will have a Bonus Pool for the players in addition to a charity element
- Prize funds for the new tournaments in Tenerife and Gran Canaria in April will each be €1.5m. The Portugal Masters, which follows these two events, will also increase to €1.5m
- Prize fund for the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett will rise to €2m from €1.25m
- Prize funds for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Italian Open will each rise to €3m, from €1.25m and €1m respectively
European Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, said: "I am incredibly proud to announce our 2021 global schedule today, one that once again sees us journey through continents and across the world.
"With the pursuit of Ryder Cup points beginning again in January for our European members; qualification spots now available for our Rolex Series events; a sustained pursuit of innovation and a continued celebration of our wonderful heritage, it is understandable that our overarching narrative for this season is that: 'Every Week Counts.'
"There is no question that the challenge of reshaping our 2020 season in many ways informed our approach to 2021. One of the key learnings was to group events together in terms of their geographical location to create a more travel friendly season for our members. That is reflected in numerous concentrations of event locations.
"Another was to continue to enhance our Rolex Series events at strategic points in the global golfing calendar when the European Tour will be the focal point of golf on the world stage. This is one of the many aspects we will continue to develop in our Strategic Alliance discussions with the PGA Tour, following our historic partnership announcement last month.
"Our events in the initial part of the 2021 season will continue to operate under the guidelines of our world-class Health Strategy, which will evolve aligned to the latest medical advice.
"However, with the incredible progress that has been made in recent months in terms of a vaccine, we look forward to hopefully welcoming the gradual return of the fans we've so dearly missed, whilst at the same time continuing to entertain viewers at home through our unrivalled World Feed TV output and across our award-winning digital platforms."
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland