VIRGINIA WATER, England: The European Tour canceled two premium tournaments late in the year that preceded the Race to Dubai finale, including the Nedbank Golf Challenge that dates to 1981 when Johnny Miller beat Seve Ballesteros.
The tour continued to get creative on Friday (Saturday in Manila) in providing tournaments during a year disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It added two events in Cyprus and another in Scotland. Long known as the most global tour in golf, it will be the first time the European Tour goes to Cyprus.
The Scottish Championship at Fairmont St. Andrews will be October 15 to 18 as the anchor of a second “UK Swing.” It will follow the Irish Open in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Open and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The Cyprus Open on October 29 to November 1 and the Cyprus Classic the following week will both be at Aphrodite Hills Resort in Paphos, extending the tour’s effort to stage successive tournaments in geographical clusters to reduce travel.
All the new events have a prize fund of 1 million euros. There will be no spectators, consistent with golf tournaments around the world.
Gone from the schedule this year are the Turkish Airlines Open, which had a $7-million purse last year, and the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which had a $7.5-million purse.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been played every year since 1981, when it was a small field and was known as the Million Dollar Challenge. Winners included Miller and Ballesteros, Nick Price and Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Bernhard Langer.
The field gradually expanded, and it received world ranking points in 2006 as a Sunshine Tour event, and then it became part of the European Tour schedule in 2013.