Des Smyth believes the new Sharjah Senior Golf Masters could be the catalyst to “revitalise” the European Senior Tour via a series of events in the Middle East, not unlike the current main tour Desert Swing.
The Irishman, an eight-time winner on the European Tour and a five-time winner on the Senior Tour, has been confirmed as one of the headline acts for the March 16-18 event at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club.
“This is a huge step forward for Sharjah and it would be a wonderful scenario if it were to lead to two or three consecutive Senior Tour events in the Middle East,” Smyth said.
“I think it could revitalise the European Senior Tour. I can’t wait to tee off in Sharjah and get the ball rolling.”
Smyth has been a frequent visitor to the Middle East throughout his stellar career and won the Arcapita Senior Tour Championship at The Royal Golf Club in Bahrain in 2005.
He was one of four European Senior Tour players who played in the Sharjah Senior Invitational Pro-Am presented by Shurooq last March, along with Paul Broadhurst, Ronan Rafferty and Malcolm Mackenzie.
“This is the first time the European Senior Tour has played an event on a 9-hole course but I found it an excellent layout and with the extra teeing ground it will be an interesting tournament with such a variety of tee boxes.”
Smyth held the record as the oldest winner on the European Tour at the age of 48 years and 34 days when he won the Madeira Island Open during his 28th consecutive season on the European Tour in 2001, until Miguel Angel Jimenez took the title from him.
He played in the 1979 and 1981 Ryder Cups and was a Vice-Captain to Paul McGinley in the 2014 victory at Gleneagles.