Two-time Major winner John Daly says the Golf du Palais Royal course for this week’s Trophée Hassan II is “one of the nicest courses that I have ever seen and played”.
The course lies in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Agadir, and Daly says such an exclusive venue adds to the excitement of the event.
“This golf course is just beautiful and it is probably more difficult to get on here than it is to play Augusta National,” said the 45 year old.
“But what a golf course. I didn’t know who designed the course, but as soon as I hit my first tee shot and was walking down the first fairway I could have sworn it was a Trent Jones design and sure enough it is. It’s a hidden gem – just absolutely gorgeous.
“It is amazing what the King did here, to build a golf course like this and I can honestly say that it is one of the nicest courses that I have ever seen and played. A lot of The European Tour players told me how good it was but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. I am very impressed - this is very cool.
“I know that not a lot of people are allowed to play here and it has that kind of feel that you get at Augusta. It is not a course that is open to everyone and it makes it even more special for us and it is just a great lay-out and course.
“The greens are very good but can be tricky. There are some points out there when you would rather have a 30 foot putt than a five foot putt but that is the hallmark of Trent Jones: the greens will always be tricky and have a lot of undulation and you really need to study them.”
Daly showed signs of a return to form with a fourth-placed finish in Qatar earlier this season, before injury prevented him building on his good start to the year.
But the American insists he is ready to put himself in contention this week.
“I feel like I have a good chance,” he added. “I have been putting well recently which you have to do around here and if I can find this fairways and make some of those 12-15 foot putts then I will have a good chance.
“There is a lot of construction going on here and it looks like there is a lot of good development in Morocco. The people have been great with us and we are very spoiled out here.”
One of the main threats to Daly’s title ambitions is last week’s winner Julien Quesne.
The Frenchman became The European Tour’s 400th winner in Spain courtesy of a scintillating final round 64 at Aloha, and the 31 year old is as enthusiastic as Daly about this week’s venue in Morocco.
“This place is just amazing,” he said. “The design of the course is so good and the condition is perfect.
“We can’t complain this week, we are very lucky to be here. I wasn’t surprised to see it and I just think it is a great privilege to be here.
“I have been to Morocco many times and won my first tournament in Morocco, in Dar es Salam on the Alps Tour, so I have to say that I love this country. It helps that I can speak French here and when you can speak your own language you get to appreciate the country more.
“Morocco is still a very traditional country and the people are always great with us.
“It feels pretty good to be a European champion after my win last week but I have to turn the page and move on and try to keep going because I want to do better and better and achieve more in the game.”