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Three new events for 2006 European Tour

Three new tournaments and two new venues have been included in the 2006 European Tour schedule announced by the Tour on Monday.

The season was launched in Shanghai, China last week with the inaugural Champions tournament, won by Britain's David Howell who held off world number one Tiger Woods to secure the third European Tour title of his career.

The other two events making their debuts on the Tour's international schedule are The Royal Trophy in Bangkok, Thailand, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The Austrian Open returns after nine years.

The Royal Trophy, being held at Bangkok's Amata Spring Country Club from Jan. 7 to 8, will pit Europe's elite players against the best of Asia in a Ryder Cup-style competition.

The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship will be staged at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club from Jan. 19 to 22 while the Austrian Open will take place at the Fontana Golf Club in Vienna, Austria, from Jun. 8 to 11.

In all, 50 events will feature on the 2006 European Tour, with the four majors representing the pinnacle.

Woods will defend his U.S. Masters crown at Augusta National from Apr. 6 to 9 and his British Open title at Hoylake, England from July 20 to 23.

New Zealand's Michael Campbell will defend the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, New York, from June 15 to 18 and Phil Mickelson will attempt to retain the U.S. PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club, Illinois, from Aug. 17 to 20.

"I think there are certainly enough tournaments on the 2006 schedule," European Tour executive director George O'Grady told Reuters.

"But we need to continue to put them into good segments which make them really attractive for world players to want to play and that sucks everybody else up.

"You can never be happy with the total amount when we are in such a competitive environment, particularly with the U.S. PGA Tour where so many of our leading tour members play as well."

Two new courses will feature on the Tour for the first time next year.

Beijing's Honghua International Golf Club will host the China Open from Apr. 13 to 16 and The Grove in Hertfordshire, England will stage the WGC-American Express Championship from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1.

 Nov  10-13 Champions tournament                 Shanghai, China
 Nov  24-27 China Open                                  Shenzhen
 Dec   1-4  Hong Kong Open                             Hong Kong
 Dec   8-11 Dunhill Championship        Mpumalanga, South Africa
 Dec  15-18 South African Open              George, South Africa
 Jan   7-8  The Royal Trophy                   Bangkok, Thailand
 Jan  19-22 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship                Abu Dhabi
 Jan  26-29 Qatar Masters                                   Doha
 Feb   2-5  Dubai Desert Classic                           Dubai
 Feb   9-12 Johnnie Walker Classic              Perth, Australia
 Feb  16-19 Malaysian Open                          Kuala Lumpur
 Feb  22-26 WGC-Accenture Match Play        Carlsbad, California
 Mar   2-5  TBC
 Mar   9-12 TBC
 Mar  16-19 TCL Classic                     Hainan Island, China
 Mar  23-26 Madeira Island Open                Madeira, Portugal
 Mar  30-2  Portuguese Open                               Penina
 Apr   6-9  U.S. Masters                  Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
 Apr  13-16 China Open                            Beijing, China
 Apr  20-23 Asian Open                           Shanghai, China
 Apr  27-30 Spanish Open                            Cadiz, Spain
 May   4-7  Italian Open                            Milan, Italy
 May  11-14 British Masters                                  TBC
 May  18-21 Irish Open                  Maynooth, County Kildare
 May  25-28 BMW Championship             Virginia Water, England
 June  1-4  Wales Open                            Newport, Wales
 June  8-11 Austrian Open                                 Vienna
 June 15-18 U.S. Open                      Winged Foot, New York
 June 15-18 Aa St Omer Open                      St Omer, France
 June 22-25 Johnnie Walker Championship     Gleneagles, Scotland
 June 29-2  French Open                            Paris, France
 July  6-9  European Open                      Straffan, Ireland
 July 13-16 Scottish Open                  Loch Lomond, Scotland
 July 20-23 British Open                        Hoylake, England
 July 27-30 The Players Championship of Europe  Hamburg, Germany
 Aug   3-6  Scandinavian Masters                   Malmo, Sweden
 Aug  10-13 KLM Open                  Zandvoort, The Netherlands
 Aug  17-20 U.S. PGA Championship              Medinah, Illinois
 Aug  17-20 Russian Open                                   Mocow
 Aug  24-27 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational        Akron, Ohio, U.S
 Aug  31-3  BMW International Open               Munich, Germany
 Sept  7-10 European Masters          Crans Montana, Switzerland
 Sept 14-17 World Match Play Championship     Wentworth, England
 Sept 22-24 Ryder Cup          Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
 Sept 28-1  WGC-American Express Championship The Grove, England
 Oct   5-8  Dunhill Links Championship      St Andrews, Scotland
 Oct  12-15 TBC
 Oct  19-22 Mallorca Classic                      Majorca, Spain
 Oct  26-29 Volvo Masters                      Valderrama, Spain
 Dec   7-10 WGC-World Cup                                    TBC

November 15, 2005

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