As we reach the end of this most challenging of years, on behalf of everyone associated with the European Tour, I want to thank you for your valued support.
We have greatly appreciated it, just as we have appreciated the true heroes of these past 12 months, the frontline workers, who have kept us safe and kept the world moving.
Through our Golf for Good initiative, we have celebrated these amazing people and recognised the sacrifices they have made. To echo what our players said in this video earlier this month, thank you to each and every one of you.
When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged at the start of the year, none of us really knew what lay ahead. There was no crisis playbook for what has unfolded in the subsequent months, with uncertainty being the only constant.
At one stage in March and April, it felt as if tournaments were being cancelled on a daily basis, and the thought of playing a full schedule through to December was inconceivable.
I am therefore immensely proud of everyone at the European Tour for what we have achieved this year. From our resumption in Austria on July 9, we played 27 tournaments in a row, 23 of which were regular European Tour events and 15 of those we created from scratch. We operated a world-class health strategy which included administering more than 20,000 PCR tests for players, caddies and tournament staff to ensure their safety.
When I wrote to you in the early stages of the pandemic I was unable to provide many guarantees, but I did pledge we would do our utmost to provide you with engaging content to help entertain and keep people connected. Through innovative concepts such as the BMW Indoor Invitational, the moving stories told in our Golf for Good videos and when our live broadcasts restarted from July onwards, I hope you feel we achieved that goal. Ultimately sport is about entertainment and this year has reminded us that more than ever before.
Earlier this month, we unveiled an expansive 2021 schedule which will feature a minimum of 42 events in 24 different countries. It included an enhanced Rolex Series, innovative events and Tour classics, plus the return of the Middle East, Iberian and UK Swings, as well as the rescheduled Ryder Cup and Olympics. Announcing this schedule was another considerable feat, coming only five weeks after we confirmed the final events of our 2020 season.
We also ended the year by announcing our Strategic Alliance with the PGA TOUR. Bringing together golf’s two leading global Tours presents immense opportunities for both of us and I am looking forward to working with Commissioner Jay Monahan and his team to develop our ideas during 2021.
With advances in the vaccine globally, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as we head into the new year, but I also think everyone realises getting that back to normality will take a while. We will therefore continue to proceed with care, adopting the step-by-step approach that served us well in 2020.
For all that we have achieved this year, there has, of course, been one key ingredient missing and that is you. We have dearly missed each and every one of you at our events and we all deeply hope we will be able to gradually reintroduce fans next year and when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
For now, all I can do is thank you once again for your support of the European Tour and I sincerely hope you and your family enjoy the holidays.
European Tour Chief Executive