The British Mas­ters is far too good to lose

With English golfers thriv­ing we must save home event, says Rob Jer­ram.

Golf World (UK) - - SPIN -

I rarely get an­gry when I watch golf. But as Ed­die Pepperell lifted the British Mas­ters tro­phy at Wal­ton Heath I was an­noyed.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t irked by Ed­die’s win. I was over the moon to see our cover star add to a phe­nom­e­nal sea­son for English golfers. I was de­lighted that the fans had poured through the gates to make the event a huge suc­cess for host and GW colum­nist Justin Rose. And I was es­pe­cially pleased that Wal­ton Heath had not only show­cased the qual­ity of cour­ses our coun­try has to of­fer, but proved that clas­sic lay­outs can still prove wor­thy venues to chal­lenge the bighit­ting modern pros.

What made me an­gry was that none of that seem­ingly proved enough to save the British Mas­ters from the chop. With Sky Sports’ high­ly­im­pres­sive four-year spon­sor­ship of the event reach­ing its end and no-one com­ing for­ward in their place, Pepperell won’t get the chance to de­fend in 2019.

“Dare I say there are so many events on the Eu­ro­pean Tour that maybe shouldn’t be there, and these are the ones that should be pre­served,” Rose said. “I’d urge the pow­ers that be to make that hap­pen.”

If in any doubt, a quick glance at the Tour sched­ule, at­ten­dance fig­ures and some of the tele­vi­sion view­ing num­ber prove Rose’s point, but the pow­ers that be don’t ap­pear to have lis­tened. And, de­spite their de­sire to con­tinue to grow the game, they prob­a­bly won’t un­less more of the tour’s in­flu­en­tial voices speak out and a bigspend­ing spon­sor ap­pears.

Then there’s the cal­en­dar is­sue. With next year’s BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship mov­ing to Septem­ber the pos­si­bil­ity of play­ing the British Mas­ters the week be­fore Went­worth was mooted, but a clash with the Sol­heim Cup at Gle­nea­gles saw strong op­po­si­tion from both Sky Sports and Visit Scot­land.

So for 2019 at least it looks as though Went­worth will pro­vide our sole fix of live Eu­ro­pean Tour golf on English soil. Still, at least the Czech Mas­ters will be on TV.

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