The Wales Open
Two decades of European Tour action at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
Celtic Manor staged the Wales Open for 15 consecutive seasons from 2000-2014 and returned to the European Tour calendar by hosting two tournaments on the UK Swing in August 2020 - the Celtic Classic and the Wales Open.
The Wales Open has produced some unforgettable memories over those years and also strengthened the venue’s connections with the Ryder Cup.
After Denmark's Steen Tinning won the inaugural Wales Open at the turn of the Millennium, Paul McGinley won the second tournament way back in 2001, helping him qualify for a Ryder Cup debut at The Belfry where he holed the winning putt. The Irishman went on to be involved in six Ryder Cups in all as a player, vice-captain or skipper… and he won every single one of them, culminating in his impeccable captaincy of Europe's victory at Gleneagles in 2014.
Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Robert Karlsson and Miguel Angel Jiménez are among the other Ryder Cup stars to get their hands on the Wales Open trophy but the most dramatic tale belongs to Graeme McDowell. He secured his first tournament title for two years with weekend rounds of 64 and 63 at the Wales Open in 2010, won the US Open on his very next start, and then returned to Celtic Manor to clinch the winning point in the Ryder Cup four months later.
Other players to have lifted the handsome silver dragon trophy include England's Simon Khan, South African Richard Sterne, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Holland's Joost Luiten.
Romain Langasque of France claimed the trophy when the Wales Open returned to the schedule in 2020, a week after Englishman Sam Horsfield had prevailed at the inaugural Celtic Classic as Celtic Manor became the first European Tour venue to host back-to-back tournaments.
As well as thrilling finishes, the event also saw a close shave with the European Tour's first ever round of 59 (Phillip Archer 2006), one player scoring two holes in one on the same hole (Elliot Saltman on the 17th, 2011), and the European Tour's record long drive of 447 yards (Nicolas Colsaerts on the 18th, 2014).
The stars of the European Tour return when this year's Wales Open takes place from 22nd-25th July 2021.