Mark James signs for EPT

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 8, 2023 16:49

The self-styled ‘golfing disruptor’ European Players Tour (EPT), which sees amateurs competing against golfing professionals, has signed up former Ryder Cup captain Mark James – the fifth Ryder Cup player to join its ranks.

The EPT says this is a “development that could make it the fastest-growing and most lucrative UK golfing tournament of all time.”

It comes as the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf have agreed to a merger.

James, who secured 18 wins on the European Tour, says that the EPT Tour, which launched in November 2022, is a boon for the sport. He has signed a three-year deal.

The victorious Europe team pose together for a group photograph with the Ryder Cup trophy, Back Row L-R: Philip Walton, Mark James, Severiano Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Bernard Gallacher (captain), Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, David Gilford, Colin Montgomerie, Front Row L-R: Ian Woosnam, Costantino Rocca, Per-Ulrik Johansson, and Howard Clark during the 31st Ryder Cup Matches on 24 September 1995 at the Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. (Photo by J.D.Cuban/Getty Images)

He will become the EPT’s 130th player in just eight months and its fifth with Ryder Cup pedigree alongside David Gilford, Philip Price, Steven Richardson and Peter Baker.

Mark James said: “Like so many others, I love the European Players Tour concept. It’s so simple. Pros and amateurs compete against each other on top-class courses whilst having a good time.

“The EPT has a great leadership team and I’m not surprised by its rapid growth. It’s a great idea. Count me in.”

The EPT is described as a private member’s club where male and female rookies of all ages get to play professionals on many of the world’s most exclusive ‘bucket list’ courses.

Mark James salutes the crowd after his winning putt in the play off with Scotland’s Sam Torrance during the final round of the Bovis Lend Lease European Senior Masters over the Duke’s Course on September 4, 2005 at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Phil Inglis/Getty Images)

Competent amateurs can tee-off against some of the biggest names in the sport from only £99 a tournament and compete for notable prize funds in the same exclusive league.

Unlike the well-established pro-am tournament model, where pros and amateurs play together, the EPT says its model of having amateurs competing against golfing professionals in tournaments is a revolutionary concept.

And the EPT enables amateurs to play against household-name golfing professionals at a fraction of the cost of usual pro-am tournament entry fees.

22nd Aug 1999: European Ryder Cup Team Captain Mark James of England with a list of the two teams after a Press conference to announce the European team and his two wild card picks who were Andrew Coltart of Scotland and Jesper Parnevik of Sweden at the BMW International Open at the Golfclub Munchen, Nord-Eichenried, Munich, Germany. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday/ALLSPORT

It means that EPT amateur members and ‘tier 2’ golfing professionals can compete with household names including former Ryder Cup players and winners of major PGA championships like the European Tour, Challenge Tour, Sunshine Tour, and Senior Tour.

These include PGA European Tour winners including Carl Suneson, Scott Drummond and Oliver Fisher, who has earned his place in golfing legend for recording the lowest round in the history of the European Tour, shooting a round of 59 at the 2018 Portugal Masters.

By the end of 2025, membership is expected to swell to more than 500, and the number of tournaments that year will reach at least 100.

The EPT has said it has also approached Jose Maria Olazabal and other “very, very big names”.

CELADNA, CZECH REPUBLIC – AUGUST 21: Oliver Fisher of England poses with the trophy after winning the Czech Open 2011 at Prosper Golf Resort on August 21, 2011 in Celadna, Czech Republic. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

James’ signing has drawn praise from other golf professionals including fellow Ryder Cup player Phil Price and PGA Champion Scott Drummond.

Price said: “Mark James is a great champion and an even better man!”

Drummond added: “It is fantastic news that Mark James is joining EPT. He is a true Ryder Cup legend and a real gent. Mark is a great addition to EPT and brings a wealth of experience and credibility.”

The EPT’s founder Feisal Nahaboo said EPT’s disruptive model has perfectly fulfilled the hitherto unmet demands in the market.

Darren Clarke, Sergio García, Pádraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie, Jose María Olazabal, Jarmo Sandelin, Jean Van de Velde, Lee Westwood, Andrew Coltart and Jesper Parnevik with Mark James captain of Team Europe holding the Ryder Cup during the 33rd Ryder Cup Matches on 23 September 1999 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Nahaboo said: “It’s a privilege to have Mark James join our EPT golfing family. It’s a respectable close-knit group who compete against each other to win the big trophies but we all have so much fun and want the best for each other.

“It’s competition with genuine friendship. Something I’ve not seen elsewhere.

“Mark offers EPT a wealth of golfing experience and immense credibility and his signing was another landmark in the EPT growth programme.

“We are just eight months old with 130-plus players and events selling out a year in advance. It’s a simple yet obvious concept and we are excited to have the opportunity to push boundaries and offer some disruption at a time when the LIV Tour has revolutionised golf commercials.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 8, 2023 16:49
Write a comment

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment
View comments

Write a comment


Join Our Mailing List

Read the latest issues

Advertise With Us

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: