THE return of the prestigious British Masters golf tournament to the Tyne Valley has been heralded a success.

The European Tour event visited Close House, at Heddon-on-the-Wall, last week without spectators and strategic health and safety measures in place.

Despite the lack of a crowd, which also helps generate a significant source of income for the venue, Close House owner Sir Graham Wylie was upbeat about the event.

“I thought the whole event worked very well bearing in mind the restrictions we had based on the coronavirus pandemic,” Sir Graham said.

All players, officials and tournament personnel were restricted to remain within the tournament bubble, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the event.

Sir Graham explained: “From players and staff arriving and being tested everyday to social distancing on the golf course and in the club house, everything went smoothly and everyone behaved themselves.

“We had people here from around the world and the fact that everyone complied with the rules was a huge positive.”

Fans keen to keep an eye on the action could follow the tournament’s progress on Sky Sports.

“The course looked great and the play was fantastic,” Sir Graham added.

“It was a bit eerie walking around the course and having no crowds, and it was strange not knowing what was happening on other holes or what the score was without looking at my phone.

“The course showed its teeth on the last day. It was good to see the wind increase and the players said they all understood why it’s a championship course.

“It would be nice for the event to return in front of a crowd again.”