Five things to know as the European Tour heads to Real Club Valderrama for the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters
Tournament bubble heads to Spain
Following six weeks of the UK Swing, the European Tour moves to Spain for the first of three events in Continental Europe, marking the start of the Iberian Swing.
The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters will be immediately followed by two successive events in Portugal: The Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club from 10-13 September, and the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos, held at Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort from 17 -20 September.
A rich history of Tour events
Real Club Valderrama is hosting the sixth edition of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters this week, but the venue boasts a deep history as the only Spanish course to play host to four different official European Tour events.
In 1998 it became home to the Volvo Masters (1988-1996 and 2002-2008), and Nick Faldo’s victory over home favourite Seve Ballesteros marked the first of many memorable moments at the Sotogrande course. Valderrama has since hosted the WGC-Cadillac Championship (1999-2000), the Open de España (2016) and this event from 2010-2011 and 2017 to the present day.
Ryder Cup history
In 1997 Valderrama made history by becoming the first course in Continental Europe to host The Ryder Cup, and began a streak of home victories for the European side that is yet to be broken.
That year the late, great Seve Ballesteros captained his team to a 14.5 to 13.5 points victory during a year that both Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood made their debuts. Both players make their return to Valderrama this week alongside another fellow 1997 teammate, José María Olazábal.
Inside the field
Last year Christian Bezuidenhout earned his first European Tour title with an emphatic six shot victory over a group of five players that included home favourite Jon Rahm and Mike Lorenzo Vera, but with Bezuidenhout missing the event this year, a new champion is guaranteed to be crowned.
Martin Kaymer will look to bounce back after a disappointing finish at The Belfry led him to miss out on a play-off last week, while Thomas Detry - who was tied eighth here in 2019 - makes his return to the European Tour following two runner-up finishes in the UK Swing.
Meanwhile, all eyes will remain on Rasmus Højgaard, who is making his debut at Valderrama. The Danish teenager has already won twice in his rookie year - including at last week’s ISPS HANDA UK Championship - to claim the top spot in the the UK Swing Order of Merit standings.
Golf for Good
The European Tour's Golf for Good initiative continues this week after a hugely successful UK Swing, having raised £623,120 raised for various local, national and international charitable causes across the six-week period.
Additionally, approximately 10,800 Callaway Chrome Soft Golf Balls have been donated to junior academies local to the host venues.
For every birdie and eagle on the 17th hole this week, the European Tour will donate €500 and €1,500 respectively to Real Club Valderrama, with the money being distributed between four local charities:
FEGADI (La Federación Gaditana de Personas con Discapacidad Física), Academia Andaluza de Gastronomía y Turismo, Fundación Aljaraque and Por Una Sonrisa.
The Tour will be supporting various local golf clubs/local businesses by providing a significant number of tour-grade range golf balls, as used by the professionals, donated in partnership with Callaway, the Official Golf Ball of the European Tour and UK Swing events. These businesses will also receive a European Tour advertising package, including a placement in the Tour newsletter.
Range balls from the Iberian Swing will also be donated by Alvaro Quiros to Club de Golf La Cañada, located near Real Club Valderrama. Quiros learned to play golf there as a junior.