FORMER Ryder Cup star Steve Richardson will be part of golfing history tomorrow.
The Hayling Island PGA pro will help the sport break new ground when he tees up in the opening round of the inaugural Sharjah Senior Masters in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The European Senior Tour event is being hosted at the Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club’s nine-hole course.
It is the first time a European Tour, Challenge Tour or Senior Tour tournament has been played on such a short circuit.
The organisers are mixing the nine tees up, however, so competitors can attack the holes from different angles.
Another novelty is a floodlit pro-am, which precedes the main event.
Richardson, who was a member of the Europe side who lost to the USA in the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island, is looking forward to the challenge.
He is determined to improve on last season when he made his bow on the senior’s tour, and has been working hard on his skill set as well as his fitness.
‘I struggled (last season) to be honest,’ said Richardson.
‘So I have been busy the last few months and not taken a holiday abroad for a change.
‘Instead, I have been playing three-to four times a week and practising nearly every day, hitting a lot of balls.
‘Doing a lot of stretching exercises should also benefit me.
‘Having a facility like Hayling on my doorstep is brilliant as the course is nearly always in good condition and hardly ever closed.’
Richardson, who intends to support some PGA in Hampshire events this season, added: ‘It will be good to get some sunshine this week and play in a tournament again.
‘I love competition and feel I am in pretty good shape for a 50-year-old.’
Among those who will line up alongside Richardson at the seasaon-opening Sharjah Senior Masters are Ronan Rafferty, Gordon Brand jnr, Paul Broadhurst, Des Smyth, Costantino Rocca, Philip Walton and Anders Forsbrand.