What now for the European Senior Tour?

Des Smyth carded his low round of the season - a five under par 66 - to share fourth place in the Benahavis Senior Masters in Marbella.

Des Smyth, aged 9, in 1962The Laytown and Bettystown man earned just over €9,000 for a share of fourth place as Carl Mason beat Gordon Brand Jnr at the second extra hole to take his 22nd European Senior Tour title.

Mason is just one win away from equalling the all-time record of 23 titles held by his fellow Englishman, Tommy Horton. But given the current economic downturn, how many titles will Mason and Smyth be playing for next year?

Big names are turning 50 every season but most are heading across the Atlantic and sponsors are losing interest.

Four years ago there were 23 European Senior Tour events. Last year there were just 18.

Next month's season-ending OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship will be the 16th event of the season.

With AIB ending its 13-year relationship with the Irish Seniors Open at Ballybunion this year, it's a challenging time for everyone in the golf industry.