Despite concerns about its future, the British Masters has been retained on the 2019 European Tour schedule, with Tommy Fleetwood hosting the event at Hillside in his home town of Southport.
The tournament, won earlier this month by Eddie Pepperell at Walton Heath, will be held in the second week of May as Fleetwood, last year’s Race to Dubai winner, follows in the footsteps of compatriots Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose in putting his name to the event since it was resurrected following a six-year absence.
“I can’t wait to host the British Masters in my home town,” said Fleetwood. “It will be such an honour and I’m so grateful to have been asked. I’m extremely proud to follow the great ambassadors of our game who have hosted this tournament.
“I am very confident that Southport will make everyone welcome and the north-west of England, and its love of golf, will embrace this opportunity and show support to us all.”
The event will mark the European Tour’s first visit to Hillside since 1982 when Tony Jacklin won the Sun Alliance PGA Championship – the precursor to the BMW PGA Championship – after beating Bernhard Langer in a play-off.
The 9-12 May tournament is among 48 events on the 2019 schedule, in which the BMW PGA Championship moves from its traditional May slot to late September due to the US PGA Championship becoming the season’s first major next year instead of the last.
Other changes include the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January becoming a Rolex Series event, the French Open moving from June to October and the third edition of Golf Sixes being held in Portugal after two successful stagings at the Centurion Club north of London.