MasterCard has also announced that it is to become an Official Sponsor of the 2008 European Ryder Cup Team, when they play at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, this September, and an Official Sponsor of The 2010 Ryder Cup which will be played at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales.

Linked to this new corporate agreement is MasterCard’s commitment to sponsor several European Tour events in key strategic markets, including the Dubai Desert Classic (2009 and 2010), the Johnnie Walker Classic (Delhi 2008, Perth 2009 and China 2010) and the SAS Masters (Sweden 2008).

MasterCard also returned as Presenting Sponsor of The Senior Open Championship, which was played at Royal Troon, Ayrshire, last month and will be played at Sunningdale Golf Club, Berkshire, in 2009.

Commenting on behalf of MasterCard, Deborah Hughes, Senior Vice President, Global Sponsorship said: “The international reach and profile of The European Tour, coupled with MasterCard’s long-standing support of the world’s premier golf properties, makes this a natural partnership for us. The European Tour provides a platform through which we are able to drive business-to-business and consumer promotional programs, designed to drive business. We are delighted to announce these agreements and look forward to a successful relationship”.

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “This agreement further enhances the already strong association between MasterCard and The European Tour and establishes MasterCard’s position as one of the leading global financial services sponsors in golf, as well as providing strategic sponsorship support of several European Tour events in key markets. MasterCard will assist The European Tour in developing and implementing new consumer initiatives designed to enhance the spectator experience, drive traffic to our events and, in turn, increase card usage.”

Picture caption: Tim Shaw (left); European Sales Director, Ryder Cup Europe with Michael Robichaud, Senior Business Leader, VP Global Sponsorships, MasterCard Worldwide and The Ryder Cup