Primer: Andalucía Masters Hosted By Sergio Garcia

The Andalucía Masters is an old but new event on the European Tour, contested at the venerable Valderrama Golf Club on Spain’s southern coast.

This marks the third installment of the Andalucía Masters, and the first since 2011. The tournament, however, can trace its roots back to the former Volvo Masters which was contested at Valderrama for a couple of decades, eventually ending in 2008.

Two years later, in 2010, the “Masters” returned to the same venue, but with Andalucía as the title sponsor. Graeme McDowell won the 2010 title.

Native son Sergio Garica took home the trophy the following year (2011). But due to government budget cuts, among other political issues, the 2012 competition was removed from the European Tour’s schedule.

The new Masters tournament is also somewhat related to the Spanish Open, which is not being played in 2017, as Garcia hosted the Open de España at the same venue in 2016.


THE SKINNY

Tournament: Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation
Course: Real Club Valderrama
Where: Sotogrande, Spain
Distance: 7,001 yards, par 71
Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones (1985)
Club Founder: Jaime Ortiz-Patiño
Purse: €2,000,000 ($2,350,280)
Winning Share: €333,330 ($369,000)
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia (ESP)


GOLF CHANNEL COVERAGE

All times EST
Round 1 THU: 6:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 2 FRI: 6:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 3 SAT: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 4 SUN: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM (Golf Channel)


THE FIELD

Reigning Masters Champion Sergio Garcia headlines the field in his native country, as both the tournament host and its defending champion (2011).

Garcia will play on home turf for the first time since his iconic win at Augusta National in April.

With the cancellation of the Spanish Open, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston can lay some claim to the title of defending champ as well, since the Englishman captured the Open de España at Valderrama in 2016.

World No. 5 Jon Rahm will make his professional debut in his homeland. The 22-year old Spanish phenom won the PGA Tour’s Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in February, and captured the European Tour’s Irish Open in July.

Two-time Masters champ, and Spanish legend, José María Olazábal, will also be teeing it up this week at Valderrama.

Other former major champs include Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, and Danny Willett.


THE COURSE

The Valderrama Royal Club is one of the best known golf clubs in all of Europe. Located in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, a few miles from Gibraltar, Valderrama is considered one of the most revered and challenging golf courses in the world.

Robert Trent Jones designed the then “Sotogrande New” in 1974. Jaime Ortiz-Patiño purchased the course in 1984, and immediately hired Jones to reconstruct “his masterpiece.” The redesign was completed in 1985 and renamed “Valderrama.”

Valderrama has played host to the Ryder Cup (1997), the Volvo Masters, the World Golf Championships, the Andalucía Masters, and the Open de España.

The signature hole is No. 4, a 564-yard par five known as “La Cascada.” The picturesque hole ends with a smallish two-tiered green built alongside a rocky ledge of cascading water which flows into a greenside pond.


10 QUICK HITS

  1. Valderrama has hosted all three editions of the Andalucía Masters.
  2. The field includes the two most recent winners of the Masters Tournament – Garcia and Willett.
  3. Rahm, Garcia and Olazábal headline 15 Spanish players in the field.
  4. Garcia (2) and Rahm (3) are the field’s highest ranked players in the Race to Dubai standings.
  5. Rahm (No. 5) and Garcia (No. 11) are also the tournament’s highest ranked players in the world.
  6. Valderrama was the host course of the first Ryder Cup (1997) played in Continental Europe. Legendary Spaniard Seve Ballesteros captained the Euros to a 14½ – 13½ victory over the USA.
  7. The lowest 18-hole score in tournament history is 65 (-6) by Richie Ramsay in 2011.
  8. The lowest 72-hole score in tournament history is 278 (-6) by Garcia in 2011.
  9. The course record is 62 (-9) by Bernhard Langer at the 1994 Volvo Masters.
  10. The winning prize of $396K is about $1.2M less than what the winner of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges will receive.

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.

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