European Tour’s Rolex Series Adds French Open as Eighth Event

European PGA Tour, Keith Pelley announced last year that an eighth event was going to be added to the Rolex series. This year, Pelley has definitely delivered on his promise as the French Open was recently added to the Rolex series as the eighth tournament.

Chinese Company, HNA Group is sponsoring the tournament, which has a prize fund of $7 million. HNA Group signed a 5-year deal to back the tournament, which will be the second event of the Rolex series.

“We are delighted to announce this exciting relationship with HNA Group which represents a significant new era in the proud history of the Open de France”. Said Pelley. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank HNA Group for their vision and commitment, not only to the Open de France but to the European Tour as a whole.

“We are also grateful to everyone at the French Golf Federation for their continued commitment to the tournament, which celebrated its 100th edition last year”.

“With France preparing to host the Ryder Cup in 2018, today’s announcement that the HNA Open de France will be part of the Rolex Series is another important milestone for French golf”.

The French Open will be part of three Rolex Series tournaments that will lead up to the British Open at Royal Birkdale

The Rolex series starts at the end of May, beginning with the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club followed by the French Open at Le Golf National. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at DunDonald links will follow. The four tournaments will end in early July.

The Rolex series will then resume in October opening with the Italian Open followed by the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort, then the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South African and will end the season with the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai.  

The $49 million Rolex Series was created to boost the European Tour, which compared to the PGA Tour is less lucrative. The issue with the European Tour is that when its tops players become really good at golf, they cut and run for the more lucrative and far-famed PGA Tour.

So the newly implemented Rolex series is good news for many players, even top players like Rory Mcilroy who play in the PGA tour and the European Tour.

The French Open is the first European Tour event to be held outside the country through a sponsorship by a global organization headquartered in China. It is also going to be HNA’s first title sponsorship of a European Tour event.

“The commitment we are making to the European Tour represents a new and exciting era for this historic national Open, and provides us with an opportunity to promote HNA Group as a global leader in travel and tourism across a wider consumer audience in connection with a prestigious event.” Said Chen Wenli, HNA’s Group Vice Chairman.

HNA is a global fortune 500 company involved in a number of businesses including aviation, tourism, financial services, logistics and real estate. It is also the parent company of Hainan Airlines, the fourth largest airline in China.

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