GOLF CHANNEL, which featured a European Tour event (Dubai Desert Classic) as its first-ever tournament telecast in 1995 and has played a major role in bringing the Tour to prominence in the United States, will continue to televise a minimum of 32 European Tour events each year under the new agreement, which commences immediately. For 2007, players competed for annual prize money that exceeded $190 million, and with the recently announced Race to Dubai ' commencing in November 2008 and its $10 million bonus pool ' The European Tour is creating an entirely new and exciting way to watch golf.
Were extremely pleased to be continuing our great relationship with The European Tour, said Thompson. Our viewers love the top-quality golf, the exotic locales, and the distinctive announcing style of Renton Laidlaw and the rest of The European Tour team. Whatever tour you want to watch, you can find it on Golfs home.
Viewers also love that European Tour events on GOLF CHANNEL typically air in the morning, giving them more golf without conflicting with the PGA TOUR, the LPGA Tour or any other tour telecasts.
OGrady said, These are exciting times for The European Tour and this announcement further endorses our desire to work with an outstanding partner who shares our appetite for broadening the global appeal of the game. We launched our partnership in 1995 with Joe Gibbs, the co-founder of the GOLF CHANNEL, and Bob Greenway ' continued the strong relationship with David Manougian and today are delighted to congratulate Page Thompson and all members of his staff for their continued commitment.
The 2008 European Tour schedule features no less than 52 events, which will be played in 25 countries on some of the most famous and picturesque golf courses in the world, including Scotlands Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Loch Lomond; Dubais Emirates Golf Club; Englands The Belfry, Wentworth Club and Royal Birkdale, where the 137th Open Championship will be played; Le Golf National in France; spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland; Spains Club de Golf Valderrama; and Wales Celtic Manor Resort, site of The 2010 Ryder Cup. The Tour in 2008 also will host tournaments for the first time in India and Korea.
The Tours popularity in the U.S. has blossomed in recent years while its tournaments regularly attract some of golfs biggest international names, including Argentinas 2007 U.S. Open Champion Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero, Irishman and 2007 Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington, Englands 2007 European Tour Order of Merit winner Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, Fijis Vijay Singh, South Africas Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, Spains Sergio Garcia, and Swedens Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth.
The new partnership also gives GOLF CHANNEL additional European Tour content rights for Internet and wireless applications, as well as exclusive broadcast rights in Japan to the 2010 and 2014 Ryder Cups. GOLF CHANNEL also has the option to air the popular magazine-style show, European Tour Weekly.