Lack of sponsors means future of British Masters in doubt

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Could Eddie Pepperell’s victory have been the final one at the British Masters? With no sponsor lined up for the event from next year, it's future on the European Tour is unclear.

The British Masters once again became a celebrated fixture on the European Tour’s schedule in 2015, when Sky Sports became the title sponsor and four English stalwarts of the game took control of hosting duties as part of a four-year deal.

However, now that that particular agreement has come to an end, the tournament could once again disappear from the schedule.

Originally a permanent fixture on the European Tour since 1972 (and played before that without a break from 1946), the tournament had just one year without being staged until it stopped being played from 2009-2014.  

But it had a revival when Ian Poulter became the first host in 2015 at Woburn, with Sky Sports breathing new life in to the event that included a new focus on 'Masterclasses' with several players. Luke Donald followed with the 2016 edition at The Grove, and Lee Westwood held his event at Close House in 2017, where Paul Dunne beat out Rory McIlroy in spectacular fashion.

This year was the turn of World No.2 Justin Rose, who took the event to Walton Heath as fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell became the first player all season to complete a wire-to-wire victory on the European Tour.

Rose is one of the players hopeful the tournament will continue, even if it were at the expense of others on the current schedule as he argues this is an event that deserves to be there due to its long-standing history.

“It would be a shame if it finishes here,” Rose said. “It's a tournament that is very close to my heart obviously, having won it in 2002 with my dad around.

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

“There's an argument there's too many tournaments, I get that. But it's a shame that these ones with history, and ones that get support, are under threat.

“The fans really do come out in force in the UK and support these events. And the players love the atmosphere you get from playing in front of them.”