The strongest field in the history of the Portugal Masters, which includes five Major Champions and 20 Ryder Cup players, will mark the tournament’s fifth edition this week.
World Number Six Martin Kaymer, the 2010 US PGA Champion, makes his third appearance at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, having finished tied seventh on his debut in 2007, and the German is joined by three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington, of Ireland, who came third on his last visit in 2009.
Fellow Major winners John Daly, Paul Lawrie and José Maria Olazábal are also in the field, while Harrington and Kaymer are joined by four of their teammates from The 2010 Ryder Cup, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Francesco Molinari, as well as 2010 European Captain Colin Montgomerie.
With three multiple European Tour winners from 2011 – Thomas Björn, Simon Dyson and Alex Noren – also teeing it up at Oceânico Victoria Golf Club, the battle for the lion’s share of the €2,500,000 prize fund is set to be a hotly contested one.
Björn’s recent resurgence can be traced back to Portuguese soil, after the Dane won the Open de Portugal in 2010 which proved the catalyst to his three subsequent victories in 2011, at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and the Omega European Masters.
He said: “My victory in Portugal last year was an important one in my career as it was my first in four years and I would love to have the Portugal Masters title to sit alongside it.
“I finished in the top 20 at Vilamoura last year and it’s a course where if you get on a run, like I have done this year, you can post a low score. The field is going to be extremely strong but I’ve been in fantastic form this year and it would great to get a fourth win.”
Continuing the theme of sentimental returns to Portuguese shores is Steve Webster, whose victory in the inaugural Portugal Masters in 2007 was dedicated to his mother who died five months beforehand.
The Englishman is one of three past champions in the field, along with 2008 winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain and defending champion Richard Green of Australian.
Green came from seven shots back 12 months ago to capture his third European Tour title with a superb final round 65, finishing two shots clear of Swede Robert Karlsson and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.
Frederico Costa, Vice President of Turismo de Portugal, the host sponsor of the Portugal Masters, said: “We are delighted to welcome so many Major Champions, Ryder Cup players and European Tour winners to Portugal to help us celebrate the fifth edition of the Portugal Masters.
“This tournament continues to get stronger each year and the quality of the field this year will help us showcase not only Oceânico Victoria Golf Club and the Algarve but golf in Portugal as a whole. It promises to be a memorable week for all of the spectators and everyone involved.”