Sergio Garcia has added the Italian Open – the fifth Rolex Series event of the season on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai – to his 2017 schedule, with the Masters Tournament Champion set to join a world class field at Golf Club Milano from October 12-15.
The World Number Five will play on Italian soil for the first time in his professional career as he prepares to tee it up at three European Tour tournaments in the space of four weeks, having recently confirmed his participation in the British Masters supported by Sky Sports alongside Ryder Cup teammate and tournament host Lee Westwood.
The Spaniard will also play a pivotal role in supporting the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, with the Italian Open to immediately follow on his schedule.
“I’m looking forward to playing the Italian Open for the first time in my career,” said the 13-time European Tour winner.
“To have three significant events so close together, is a massive bonus for the European Tour, and with the increased prestige of the Italian Open now part of the Rolex Series, I know it’s going to bring a great field and be an incredible tournament for the Italian fans.”
The 37 year old, who is currently second in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, has had a year to remember since overcoming Ryder Cup teammate and Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose in a play-off at Augusta National to win his first Major Championship and claim his second European Tour title of the season following his victory in Dubai in February.
The Ryder Cup star, who has eight appearances to his name and a total of 22.5 points in the biennial contest, also spoke of his excitement for Italy to host to The Ryder Cup in 2022.
“I think it’s a huge positive for Italian golf to host The Ryder Cup because it is such an amazing event that brings so much to the people and countries we visit.
“It is a feeling like no other as a golfer to be part of the team, playing with and against some of the best golfers in the world is something truly special, and it’s exciting that Italy will experience that in the future.
“There are enhanced Ryder Cup qualification and Race to Dubai points on offer that week, which is definitely an added incentive for us, so there is certainly a lot to play for in Italy.”
In its 74th year, the Italian Open returns to Golf Club Milano for the ninth time, entering an exciting new era as one of the eight tournaments which form the prestigious Rolex Series – the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule, all with a minimum prize fund of US$7million.
With the prize fund more than doubling from last year’s €3million, a strong field is expected to gather in the hope of dethroning the reigning champion, Italian hero Francesco Molinari, with fans permitted free entry to Golf Club Milano to see the world’s best golfers in action.