The Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca sees The European Tour return to one of Spanish golf’s most successful locations, where home players have triumphed seven times in fourteen attempts.
This week’s event, promoted by Asociación Hotelera Bahía de Cala Millor, takes on the baton of the Mallorca Classic, also hosted by Pula Golf, and won by Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2003), Sergio García (2004), José Maria Olazábal (2005), Sweden’s Niclas Fasth (2006) and France’s Grégory Bourdy (2007).
But Mallorca’s relationship with golf is longstanding. The island has promoted golf since it became a tourist hotspot boasting perfect beaches, sunshine, a spectacular coast, delicious food… and outstanding golf courses.
The first European Tour event to take place on the island was the 1988 Mallorca Open de Baleares in Santa Ponsa. Olazábal’s third round 64 broke the course record. On Sunday he shared the lead with Seve Ballesteros who finally took the trophy.
In 1989, also at Santa Ponsa, the winner was Sweden’s Ove Sellberg thanks to a perfect chip to the last green. Olazábal shared 2nd place. One year later at Son Vida Seve Ballesteros beat Sweden's Magnus Persson on the first play-off hole.
In 1991, the event returned to Santa Ponsa, where South Africa’s Gavin Levenson took the title. The next edition saw one of the longest play-offs in the history of The European Tour between Ballesteros and Jesper Parnevik that, after six extra holes, saw Seve triumph on Mallorca once again.
The next two editions took place at Santa Ponsa and Son Vida. Two Englishmen, Jim Payne and Barry Lane prevailed. In 1995, Greg Turner from New Zealand won on Santa Ponsa's second course.
A two year break then followed before Jiménez ensured more Spanish success on Mallorca in 1998 when the tournament returned to Santa Ponsa.
After a longer five year break, Mallorca recovered its place in European Golf with the Mallorca Classic at Pula Golf, the same venue that hosts this year’s Iberdrola Open Cala Millor Mallorca, where Jiménez, Garcia and Olazábal ensured more Spanish success on Mallorca. The omens are good for further Spanish success come Sunday afternoon.