Justin Rose Named Host of 2018 British Masters at Walton Heath
Following recent and successful tradition, Justin Rose has been named as British Masters host for 2018, with the prestigious event moving to the superb Walton Health in Surrey. The highly regarded venue – widely remembered for welcoming the Ryder Cup in 1981 – has also been used for the European Open, Senior Open Championship, and has been the U.S. Open qualifying site since 2005.
Taking on this significant ambassadorial mantle previously carried by Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, and most recently Lee Westwood, the 37-year-old Rose is excited to showcase this tournament and the best players on the European Tour on an unquestionably high calibre layout. (Walton Heath Feature Review).
“I’m very excited to be hosting the British Masters supported by Sky Sports at Walton Heath in 2018,” he reflected during the announcement. “Walton Heath is a golf course I really, really enjoy playing, in fact I love it. I went back to Walton Heath in the summer just to ensure I wanted to take the tournament there and I had forgotten how good a golf course it is.
“It has got teeth, but it is traditional and hopefully the players will really enjoy it. Hopefully we will assemble a strong field, get some good weather and we can host an amazing tournament next October.
“It’s a huge honour to host the British Masters and to follow in the footsteps of three friends of mine, Ian, Luke and Lee. I’ve known for a while that I was next in line to host in 2018, so I’ve been watching carefully to see how the boys have done the hosting role.
“They’ve all done a great job and put their own stamp on it, and their own personality on it. They’ve all been very successful, and the crowds have been great. This tournament has really created its own identify on the European Tour. The guys have left a pretty good blueprint for me. Hopefully I can put some of my own touches here and there and continue that success.”
The British Masters reboot – supported by Sky Sports – has been a revelation for the circuit and CEO Keith Pelley in recent years, bringing top level golf to Woburn, The Grove, and Close House, taking the game and its stars closer to communities who had otherwise been starved of that opportunity. Aiding that effort, 10,000 FREE Tickets are being made available on a first-come-first-served basis, and will be available from 9am on Friday the 7th of December. Those are for the opening round, and tickets for the remaining three days can also be purchased for the event that will be played from October 11-14.
Rose, whose consummate professionalism is widely admired, enjoyed a stunning conclusion to the season, during which he came agonisingly close to pipping compatriot Tommy Fleetwood to the Race to Dubai, having picked up successive victories at the WGC HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. Earlier in the year, he memorably lost in a dramatic playoff to Ryder Cup teammate in the Masters at Augusta National, when his classy nature was once again celebrated.
Included amongst his numerous achievements – most notably winning the U.S. Open at Merion in 2013 and being the Gold Medallist for golf’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016 – the Englishman was a winner of the British Masters back in 2002, when he famously battled Ian Poulter. That was his second victory on the European Tour, and one that holds a special place in his heart.
“The British Masters is a tournament that is special to me,” he added. “It is a tournament I won in 2002 and it was the only event my dad was able to be there to see me win as a pro, so from that point of view it has always had fond memories for me.
“My dad had been battling leukaemia for a while and had gone into remission and then relapsed. I knew he was having a tough time, so I don’t know where I got the strength from to play that type of golf. Maybe that’s where, from him, to show him I was going to be successful after a tough start to my professional career. I’m very grateful that I was able to win and justify all his belief and faith in me as he was my biggest supporter and advocate.”
European Tour CEO Keith Pelley added: “The British Masters has been hugely successful in attracting new audiences to golf over the past three years thanks largely to the support of Sky Sports and the commitment Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood brought to the role of tournament host.
“We are very fortunate to have another incredible host for 2018 in Justin Rose who I am certain will build on the strong foundations already in place. Justin is a Major Champion, a former European Number One, a Ryder Cup player and the Olympic Champion, so his CV speaks for itself, but he is also a wonderful ambassador for our game and we look forward to working with him across the next 12 months.”
The British Masters has undoubtedly become a highlight on the calendar for the European Tour and golfers throughout the UK, and that is only set to continue next Autumn with the return of top level golf to Walton Heath, headlined by England’s most recent major champion.
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