Trophee Hassan II to join The 2010 European Tour

29 Jul 2009 16:27

The Trophee Hassan II, which has been played in Morocco since 1971, will feature on The European Tour International Schedule for the first time in 2010 as part of The Race to Dubai at Royal Golf Dar es-Salam, Rabat, from March 18-21.

A three year agreement has been concluded which will see this prestigious event join The European Tour to maintain the original inspiration and vision of HRH King Hassan II's unique initiative, which has been continued in recent years by his son HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, to showcase the rich diversity of Moroccan culture through the Royal patronage of this tournament.

The 2010 edition of the Trophee Hassan II will be played in a Pro-Am format over the Red and Blue courses, designed by the internationally acclaimed American architect, Robert Trent Jones, with a prize fund of 1,375,000 euros.

Teams will be comprised of one professional and one amateur, who will play both the Red and Blue courses on Thursday and Friday with the leading 65 professionals and those tied for 65th playing the remaining 36 holes over the Red course on Saturday and Sunday.

In a unique joint initiative, HRH Princess Lalla Meryem has invited the Ladies European Tour to stage the Princess Lalla Meryem Cup at the Royal Golf Mohammedia in Morocco in the same week as the Trophee Hassan II, which will be the first time both The European Tour and the Ladies European Tour have competed in separate events in the same country during the same week in the golfing calendar.

On Saturday of that week, as a further unique expression of Moroccan hospitality, 15 male and female professionals from each Tour - who missed the cut in their respective events - will compete in the Friendship Pro-Am on Saturday, March 20, over the Blue course.

HRH Prince Moulay Rachid said: 'The Trophee Hassan II remains at the summit of international golf events, and this new partnership will maintain the past standards of sporting perfection, whilst projecting a prestigious image of Morocco around the world and amongst golf professionals.'

George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: 'The Trophee Hassan II was the visionary concept of HRH King Hassan II, in order to project Moroccan culture and hospitality which has subsequently been enjoyed over the past 38 years by many of the world's leading players, including past winners such as Severiano Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh and Ian Woosnam.

'In 2010, we begin an exciting new chapter in the distinguished history of the Trophee Hassan II at a superb venue in Royal Golf Dar es-Salam, which hosted The European Tour on four occasions for the Moroccan Open between 1987 and 2001.

'Under the inspired leadership of HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, the 2010 Trophee Hassan II will enjoy the Royal patronage of the Moroccan Royal Family and global television and media exposure as an integral part of The Race to Dubai next season. Additionally, we are delighted to forge a unique partnership with the Ladies European Tour by the joint staging of the Friendship Pro-Am on Saturday of the tournament week.'

Royal Dar es-Salem has been a regular venue for The European Tour and Challenge Tour over the years. England's Howard Clark won the first Moroccan Open there in 1987 while another Englishman, David Gilford, succeeded in 1992, Sweden's Peter Hedblom in 1996 and England's Ian Poulter in 2001.

The Moroccan Classic has been a strong fixture on the Challenge Tour in recent years, with the first two editions in 2002 and 2003 taking place at Royal Dar es-Salem won, respectively, by Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin and Scotland's Greig Hutcheon.