What Does The Future Of The British Masters Look Like?

A lot of golfers tend to sugar coat things when it comes to speaking about their fellow pros but Eddie Pepperell was happy to point out the obvious when it came to the lack of stars in this week's British Masters.

Justin Rose (31) is the top-ranked player in the world but, otherwise, the great and good of British golf are staying away from The Belfry.

Pepperell, like Rose, is a former winner of the event and he made his views clear in The Chipping Forecast with Andrew Cotter and Iain Carter.

“The biggest disappointment here is that we don’t have the Matt Fitzpatricks, the Tyrrell Hattons and the Tommy Fleetwoods of the world coming back home to play the British Masters,” said Pepperell. "The fact that they actually don’t want to is the disappointment I have, and I think that they should honestly reconsider their obligation because I actually think it’s an obligation to come home and support your home tournament.”

The likes of Fleetwood and co have all had pretty hectic schedules in the States of late and the total pay-out this week is $3.5m which pales into insignificance when compared to the PGA Tour. Then there's the very real point that we'll soon be entering a packed summer, which peaks at Royal Liverpool, and and then all roads point to Rome for the Ryder Cup.

“We’re all probably a bit romantic here talking about this, but the reality is that for each and every individual at the top of any sport now, but particularly golf, this is just seen entirely as a business decision, quote unquote.

"The nonsense we’ve seen come out of LIV players’ mouths in the last 12 months, it’s identical. There is no consideration for the systems that are in place or the institutions that have been put in place and the history behind them, and what the individuals that have participated in that over the years, the impact they’ve had.

“But we’re in a different world and I think that it’s ultimately very sad, and we will lose the fans because of it.”

Sir Nick Faldo begins a five-year hosting of the British Masters this week and Rose believes that having a six-time major winner at the helm might help turn around the entry list.

“It's going to be well supported and it has some energy building around it, obviously Nick supporting the event now and being attached to it for the foreseeable future, I think is pretty good. It gives it more depth in terms of history and significance. So I feel like the tournament is in a good spot."

Rose won this event at Woburn in 2002 and he still looks back on it with fond, if bittersweet, memories.

“It is still one of the most significant victories in my career. More from an emotional point of view than anything. It was the one victory that my father was actually able to be there on the 18th green and witnessed himself in person, one of my only as a professional, and he was able to see that. It will forever be special from that point of view.

“Obviously there was a great back and forth between myself and Ian Poulter. We had a great duel, a ding-dong battle. He actually hosted me that week, so I wasn't very gracious as a guest. It was an amazing week for sure.”