Sam Torrance and Curtis Strange will get an early jump to the rivalry between each other, as they both have decided to tee off in the 10-13 May tournament at the Belfry: the Benson and Hedges International Open.
Curtis Strange, winner of back-to-back US Opens in 1988 and 1989, has accepted an invitation from the sponsors to play in the 31st running of the oldest sponsored tournament on The European Tour.
This tournament will offer Strange priceless experience of playing at the Belfry. The course recently has been re-developed, and Strange will feel comfortable in the fall with this warm-up.
“I was delighted to be asked to play in the Benson and Hedges International Open this year,” said Strange. “Having the chance to play The Brabazon course under tournament conditions will certainly help me to understand what the players will face during the Ryder Cup.”
Strange continued, "I am certainly looking forward to competing at the Benson and Hedges again. I remember playing this prestigious event early in my career at a different venue. I have spoken with a number of the European players and they all have said such good things about the event, that Sarah and I are looking forward to the week at The De Vere Belfry in May.”
Strange last played this course in 1989, as he has now been lead golf analyst for ABC Sports, and he recognizes the importance of seeing the recent changes to the course.
“It has had what I would call a facelift,” he commented. “It is basically the same course but they have added some character. All the players I have spoken to like the course and approve of the changes and as it is an American-type golf course, local knowledge should not play too big a part.”
Sam Torrence, who won the Benson and Hedges International Open in 1984, awaits his rivaled partner in the Ryder Cup with open arms.
Other players joining in the early peek at the Belfry include, José Maria Olazábal, Volvo Order of Merit winner Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Michael Campbell, Padraig Harrington, Thomas Björn, Miguel-Angel Jimenez, Jean Van de Velde and Paul Lawrie.