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European Tour reaches 1000th tournament

The European Tour has reached a milestone: This week Volvo PGA Championship becomes the 1,000th official tournament to be played since the Tour’s inaugural event, the Spanish Open at Pals Golf Club on April 12, 1972.

By coincidence, the 1,000th tournament falls on the 50th anniversary of the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, creating a notable landmark week for the Tour at its headquarters on the Wentworth Estate.

Another coincidence links the first tournament and the 1,000th. Antonio Garrido was the winner of the Spanish Open 33 years ago to inaugurate the Tour’s birth, while his son, Ignacio, is defending champion at this week’s 50th Volvo PGA Championship.

During the past 33 years and, taking all 1,000 official money tournaments into consideration, European Tour members have played for a remarkable total of more than three quarters of a billion euro - €790,431,959 (£534,272,454) to be exact.

The European Tour has become a global brand since those early days in 1972 and the growth and evolution of the Tour coincided with the arrival on the European golf scene of a host of Major Championship winners such as Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Jose Maria Olazabal and Ian Woosnam.

"What a wonderful coincidence that this year’s playing of the 50th PGA Championship should also mark the 1000th official event on The European Tour," said Ken Schofield, executive director of The European Tour.

"Looking back, there have been many, many unforgettable moments since the 1972 Spanish Open won by Antonio Garrido, the father of Ignacio, our defending champion this week. The Tour this week will notch up €790,431,959 in total prize money over those 1,000 official counting tournaments and we now look forward eagerly towards the second millennium."

It took 20 seasons to notch up the 500th tournament -- the 1991 European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland -- and 13 more to complete the first millennium on The European Tour at this year’s Volvo PGA Championship.

Over the span of more than three decades, the Tour has visited a total of 34 countries from as diverse locations as the Czech Republic to the People’s Republic of China. A total of 31 countries have been successful on The European Tour International Schedule with England (201 winners), Spain (127) and Scotland (116) leading the way.

England, with 65, also heads the table for the number of different players to have won titles, followed by the United States (44) and Australia (30). The average winning score has been 275, with the average score in relation to par at 12 under. The average winning margin was two strokes and the average cut 3-over par. In total, the European Tour winners from 1972 to last week’s Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe are, cumulatively, 11,804-under par.

Ballesteros, with 50, has won most titles and has most top ten finishes (170). Sam Torrance has teed up most times -- 686 in all before joining the Champions Tour. The Scot is currently 76 events ahead Eamonn Darcy of Ireland while England’s Roger Chapman tops the list of active players on The European Tour with 580 appearances.

There have been 170 playoffs, 16 of them involving the current European Ryder Cup Captain, Langer, who also heads the list for most consecutive cuts made, with 69. Torrance holds the record for most cuts made with 525 to his name.

South African, Dale Hayes, at 18 years and 290 days, is the youngest winner and Ireland’s Des Smyth, at 48 years and 34 days, the oldest.

There have been 548 holes in one – Montgomerie holding the record for the most in Tour competition with eight aces. There have been 45 albatrosses, with 2004 Ryder Cup Vice Captain Anders Forsbrand of Sweden heading the competition by making three of that rarest of birds in his professional career.

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