The 2016 Qualifying Series announced itself with a bang in Mumbai as the first 3 of a total 99 qualifying events were held on Saturday 17th February in Dar es Salaam, Doha and, keeping with tradition, Mumbai. A memorable opening weekend was quickly followed by busy March in which 9 players booked their place in Belek, Turkey for the Grand Finals.
Bangkok got the ball rolling for a busy month at the prestigious Thai Country Club before qualifiers in Muscat and Manilla made it 6 qualifiers in 5 days to kick off the series. New Dehli and Riyadh soon followed before two South African qualifiers, either side of Karachi, were held at Championship courses Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club and Pearl Valley Golf Club in Cape Town. Another PGA Tour venue was the site of the final event in March where Emirates GC, home of the European Tour-sanctioned Dubai Desert Classic, hosted a great Dubai qualifier.
April saw another 7 winners book their tickets to the Grand Finals beginning in Accra on April 2nd prior to a 15 day stretch that included qualifiers in Lahore, Tokyo, Kuwait, Islamabad and Seoul as well as the first trip stateside at Houston, USA.
With 19 played in just over 2 months, May saw the TAWGC really take off with 21 events from May 3rd onwards. First up was the introduction of the European events as 2006 Ryder Cup venue The K Club in Dublin, Ireland was followed a week later by in London, England at the home of the 2016 British Masters; The Grove.
A day later, the series was in Graz before a brief trip back east to Beijing being the last top in Asia until the 20th of that month in Jakarta, Indonesia. Europe was the main player in the following weeks as events in Madrid, Sofia, Birmingham, Munich, Athens, Rome, Stockholm, Kiev, Pisa, Geneva and Prague all took place from May 13th to May 27th. In the midst of the European stretch was a pair of the most popular events on the circuit. Nearly 230 golfers took part firstly in Malaysia at Kuala Lumpar Golf and Country Club and then at Tanah Merah Country Club just two days later. Dreamland Golf Club in Baku rounded off a fantastic month of May which involved over 1,000 golfers across 3 continents.
As spring turned to summer, focus began to shift from Asia over to Europe where 8 of the 11 events would be played out. We began in Lyon before making the short journey to Cologne. Meanwhile, another 60 golfers were teeing off at Quinta do Peru in Lisbon, Portugal the same day. The series’ first journey to Scandinavia followed when Aalborg welcomed their guests at Aalborg Golf Club.
There were also double-headers in China and America. Firstly, Guangzhao, then Shanghai, where guests could follow in the footsteps of McIlroy, Woods and co at Sheshan Golf Club, which has previously hosted the WGC HSBC Championship. In the USA, almost 120 golfers took on the spectacular TPC Stonebrae before a cross-country trip to the East Coast and Inwood Country Club in New York. The double-headers were sandwiched between events in Amsterdam, Bilbao, Vilnius, Moscow and Napoli. After the 11 June events, the TAWGC had reached the turn having completed 53 events in just 4 months.
A return to Scandinavia kicked off proceedings in July as the aptly-named ‘The Scandinavian’ was the venue. A German stretch was the staple of the month with events in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuremburg in the space of a week. The only trip outside of Europe was to a hugely popular Osaka event held at Rokko Country Club with over 130 golfers.
Luxembourg, and St Petersburg also featured either side of a real highlight for the series, The Royal Birkdale Golf Club, which is set to host its 10th Open Championship in 2017, welcomed 77 lucky guests to test their game on the famous links.
August saw events in Boston and Toronto at PGA Championship courses TPC Boston and Glen Abbey Golf Club with events in Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, Montreal, Oslo, Mauritius, Warsaw and Miami proving excellent complements to a month filled with anticipation at a busy September calendar.
Beginning in Hong Kong and ending in the traditional curtain-closer in Istanbul, the month of September saw over 900 guests play in 16 countries throughout 22 destinations making it one of the busiest months of the series.
Following from Hong Kong was a week of international flavour as the series touched down in Buenos Aires, Malta, Colombo, Hamburg, Leipzig, Bologna and Washington in just 7 days. Four events in just one day in Ljubljana, Basel, Edinburgh and Bordeaux followed before inaugural events in Chicago and Dhaka either side of a 3rd Taipei qualifier wrapped up the first 3 weeks of the month.
A cosmopolitan week brought an end to the series as Brussels, Venice, Paris and Istanbul winners rounded off an historic TAWGC Series in 2016.
The Grand Final was played out at the picturesque Titanic Golf Club where Washington’s Thomas Buckley (73 points) came out victorious in an extremely tight matchup winning by a single shot to Thomas Muldoon of Dublin (72 points). Muldoon’s reward was to tee it up at the Turkish Airlines Open Pro-Am with reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett.