Andalucía Valderrama Masters

    New World Number One Jon Rahm Emulates Seve… Again

    Jon Rahm
    Photo by boscomartin.com

    Jon Rahm has always talked about how much of an influence Seve Ballesteros was on his career. From attending the 2007 Volvo Masters with his father at Valderrama (where Seve had captained Europe to victory in the 1997 Ryder Cup) as an awestruck 12-year-old to becoming European number one in November 2019… a feat only previously achieved by one Spanish golfer (Seve). And now he has once more emulated the legendary Spaniard by reaching the top of the world rankings. Again, neither José María Olazábal nor Sergio García (both US Masters champions) before him have achieved that.

    Rahm is 25 years old (born in Barrika, Basque Country, on 10 November 1994); Seve had just turned 29 when he reached world number one in April 1986, and he went on to hold the top spot for 61 weeks in total. Rahm – a graduate of Arizona State University – was also the top-ranked amateur in the world during two separate periods starting in April 2015 (for a record 60 weeks in all). Seve followed a different path into the paid ranks, turning pro in March 1974 at the age of 16.

    Of course, Rahm made sure he had to do it the hard – and spectacular – way, a la Seve. He entered the final round of the Memorial Tournament – Jack Nicklaus’s prestigious event at Muirfield Village in Ohio – four strokes ahead of the field.

    During a roller-coaster last day ride, he had extended that to eight shots at the turn after two birdies, but then things began to unravel – with bogeys on the 10, 14th and 16th and a double on the 11th. He actually thought he had holed a magnificent chip on the 16th for a birdie, but after the round officials advised him that his ball had inadvertently moved as he addressed it (imperceptibly to the human eye but picked up on slow-motion, high-definition video) and he was penalised two strokes. That still left him with a three-over 75, a nine-over total of 279 and a three-stroke victory over runner-up and close friend Ryan Palmer (they had paired for victory in the 2019 Zurich Classic), 

    And that meant he overtook Rory McIlroy (who finished 32nd) at the summit of the world rankings – the 24th player to be crowned number one.

    Later, he said, “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s been a goal since I was 13, 14 years old. I remember I heard a story on the radio from my swing coach back in Spain, Eduardo Celles. We were driving somewhere and he asked me what my goals were and my ambitions and this and that, and I remember telling him, I think 13 or 14 years old, it’s like, I’m going to be the best player in the world, and that’s what I set out to be. It’s pretty surreal to think it’s happened this quickly, right, in less than 10 years. I mean, how many people get to achieve a lifelong team, a short lifelong dream, in their mid-20s? It’s incredible.

    “To be a Spaniard, the second Spaniard to ever do it, given there’s not many Europeans that have gotten to this spot, it’s a pretty unique feeling, so I’m going to enjoy it for a while.”

    As for the penalty shots, he said, “I want everybody to hear it: It did move. It is a penalty. As hard it is to say for how great of a shot it was – as hard as it is to say that, I won’t finish double digits under par. But it did move, so I’ll accept the penalty, and it still doesn’t change the outcome of the tournament.”

    He was also fully aware of the bigger current picture. “I have lost two family members to this pandemic, not for the virus, but the toll that it takes mentally for those people to be quarantined and just having to deal with the situation. And one of them was my grandma, the woman who next to my parents helped raise me. She passed away actually Wednesday of Travelers, and then yesterday is when they took her ashes to her family rest spot in Madrid. So emotional, you know. The other person was my mom’s aunt.

    “It goes to show there’s more important things in life than me accomplishing what I accomplished today. We’re going through a pandemic. People are dying for whatever reason it is, and whether you believe it or not, it’s going to happen physically or mentally – it could happen to me, and still does sometimes.

     


    Westwood and Bjørn confirmed to be in Valderrama next month

    Ryder Cup heroes Thomas Bjørn and Lee Westwood will return to the venue where they made their debuts in the biennial contest between Europe and the United States, confirming they will tee it up in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation from April 30 – May 3.

    The pair made their Ryder Cup bows at Real Club Valderrama in 1997, when Europe, captained by the late, great Seve Ballesteros, retained the coveted trophy with a 14½ – 13½ victory.

    They contributed 3.5 points to the European cause, as Westwood earned two points alongside Nick Faldo in foursomes and four-ball matches, and Bjørn earned a half in the Sunday singles against Justin Leonard, adding to the point he won with Ian Woosnam against Leonard and Brad Faxon.

    Westwood is bidding for a European record-equalling 11th Ryder Cup appearance at Whistling Straits later this year. The 46-year-old is just outside the qualification spots for Padraig Harrington’s side, but is currently second on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex after his victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January.

    “There isn’t much you can say about Valderrama that hasn’t already been said,” said Westwood. “It’s a fantastic golf course, and 1997 was very special because I made my Ryder Cup debut there and then won the Volvo Masters a few weeks later.

    “It is an incredible test of golf, and it’s testament to Robert Trent Jones’ design that it has remained unchanged over the last 30 years. It’s a course that we all enjoy playing, and credit goes to Sergio Garcia and his foundation for helping to develop this tournament over the last four years.”

    His close friend Bjørn is also looking forward to returning to the venue where his Ryder Cup journey began, culminating in his victorious captaincy two years ago at Le Golf National, Paris.

    “Valderrama is an excellent golf course, and a test which we all enjoy returning to,” said the 15-time European Tour winner, who celebrated his 49th birthday earlier this month. “To make my Ryder Cup debut in a side captained by Seve, in his home country, and at a world-class venue, was incredibly special.”

    The pair will join a host of other European Tour stars at Real Club Valderrama as the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters returns to the famed venue in April.


    And the winners are…

    We want to thank all the participants for helping make the contest a success and congratulations to the winners who will be able to attend the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters with 2 adult tickets valid for any day of the tournament to redeem through a promotional code on the ticket sales website.

    Winner of the Facebook giveaway :

    Angeles Nacher Piera

    Winner of the Instagram giveaway :

    @teresagimenezr

    Winner of the Twitter giveaway :

    @marlore2

    Winners of the Golf in Spain giveaway :

    1. Pascual Aguirre
    2. Rosa María Ruiz Cabral

    Please contact us by private message within 24 hours (or call us on +952474848) to get your free access code. Otherwise we will pass the invitations to the alternate winners.


    Ten years later… this kid will be “back” at Valderrama

    Jon Rahm after obtaining Henrik Stenson’s signature on his polo shirt at Valderrama’s 18th in 2007 – Permission is granted to reproduce this image provided a link to GolfinSpain.com is included next to the photo.
    “I didn’t bring home any balls, hats or gloves, only my shirt with six signatures on it.”

     

    New Spanish sensation Jon Rahm will be making his first professional appearance in Spain at the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, Hosted by the Sergio García Foundation. Continue reading


    The first tournament in Spain by Jon Rahm will be the Andalucía Valderrama Masters

    (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

    Jon Rahm will make his first professional appearance on Spanish soil at the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, hosted by the Sergio García Foundation and sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia, from October 19-22. Rham currently ranks 5th in the OWGR and in the FedEx Cup, and 3rd in the Race to Dubai in his impressive rookie season. He won the Farmers Insurance Open, his maiden PGA Tour title, in January. In July he earned his first European Tour victory by winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open by six strokes.

    The Spanish rising talent (born in Barrika, Vizcaya 10/11/1994) is relishing his home debut. “I really look forward to playing in front of the Spanish fans. Right after the Irish Open I went to Valderrama to practice for October. I felt a big sense of anticipation as I teed up on the first hole. I wish to encourage everyone to come and support us and watch some great golf. If the public enjoys it, we will enjoy it.

    My first round at Valderrama was five years ago when I played the Sotogrande Cup with the Spanish national team. It was a different experience because my game has changed a lot since then. I remember playing in a gale.

    Valderrama is one of the best layouts I have ever played. It is visually attractive and wonderfully maintained. Golf courses don’t need to measure 10,000 yards to be challenging. I find Valderrama very exciting and a good test. You really have to think your way through and play all kinds of shots. Mistakes can be costly, so it keeps you on your toes.”

    Jon was two when Valderrama staged the Ryder Cup; his father Edorta recalls how the 1997 showdown introduced golf to his family: We are a group of friends from Bilbao who enjoy a lot of sports together, particularly skiing. Two of our gang were invited to the ’97 Ryder Cup. They had no idea of golf, but they returned home full of enthusiasm. Two years later, Eduardo Celles opened his golf academy in Bilbao and we all started taking lessons. My wife Ángela, and our sons Jon and Eriz took up golf in 2003.” 

    The family became so addicted to golf that they took a week’s vacation every year to go to Valderrama for the Volvo Masters. Jon has vivid childhood memories of those tournaments where the trophies he collected on the course were the autographs of his idols.

    “I remember my first visit with my father during the 2007 Volvo Masters. The first player we saw was Thomas Björn on the 7th. Then we went to the first to watch Poulter and Sergio tee off. We followed Poulter who played a great shot on the first. I went ahead of my dad and was lucky enough to see Justin Rose ace the 3rd, but my dad didn’t see it. We followed Poulter along the 4th and we waited for Colin Montgomerie on the 5th. The next thing I remember is the 17th, a great hole. You need a perfect drive to a tight fairway and then you are facing a daunting second – it reminds me slightly of the 15th at Augusta.

    “On the 18 green I got my shirt signed by Nick Dougherty, Paul Casey and Miguel Ángel, but I don’t think he remembers. Harrington had won the Open Championship that year and I asked him for his cap but he couldn’t give it to me. I didn’t bring home any balls, hats nor gloves, only my shirt with six signatures on it. We went from there to the putting green and to the driving range to see some more golf.

    Ten years after collecting those autographs, Jon returns to Valderrama as one of the world’s top players. “In October I will be proud to play my first professional event in Spain. I look forward to playing the Andalucía Valderrama Masters in front of my home crowd and will do my best to give a good show.

    “The boy that went to Valderrama in 2007 is still there, with the same dreams and the same ambition. I am extremely fortunate that my dreams are coming true, but this year feels more like a Steven Spielberg film – winning at Torrey Pines and again in Ireland the way I did doesn’t even happen in the wildest dreams.” 

    Edorta Rahm shares the same feeling. I never imagined that Jon would get so far so fast. You dream that your son will make it, but being realistic, we insisted that he should complete his studies. I only started to believe that the dream could come true in 2015, when he finished 5th at the Phoenix Open playing under an invite as the leading world amateur.

    “All our family and friends will go to the Andalucía Valderrama Masters – we are looking forward to a great week.”

    Remember we have some exclusively packages to attend the Valderrama Masters Andalucía at irresistible prices. And if you dare, you can play at Valderrama the week after the tournament.


    Sergio García: “Valderrama is a very special place for me”

    The Real Club Valderrama will stage the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, the last European Tour stop on European soil before heading for China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai. From October 19-22, the event will be sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of the Sergio García Foundation.

    Sergio is a big fan of Valderrama. “Valderrama is a very special place for me, full of good memories – obviously the best when I finally managed to win in 2011. It is one of my favourite courses, one of the best in the world, and I always enjoy playing there.”

    The Masters champion is hosting a European Tour event at Valderrama for the second consecutive year.

    “I am delighted to support the Andalucía Valderrama Masters through my Foundation. As the tournament host, I would love to see everyone come and enjoy a great event and a wonderful occasion for all the Spanish players.

    “The course is always in top condition, with fast greens and superb maintenance. At last year’s Open de España we saw a big improvement in playability with the pruning of many cork trees, particularly on holes 8, 13 and 18.

    “Each hole in Valderrama has its own attraction and I like them all, because they force you to keep thinking and stay focused from the first to the last shot. It is a very demanding course that doesn’t give you any breaks. You need to put the ball in the right places and keep the errors to the minimum, but you are bound to make errors, so patience is key at Valderrama. You must respect this course or it will turn against you at any moment. One of the things I like most is that it allows you to use all the clubs in the bag.”

    Including his 2011 win, García has an outstanding record at Valderrama: 7th at the 1999 WGC-American Express; 5th at the 2000 WGC-American Express; 7th at the 2002 and 2003 Volvo Masters; runner-up at three consecutive Volvo Masters from 2004 to 2006; 34th at the 2007 Volvo Masters; 4th at the 2008 Volvo Masters; 11th at the inaugural Andalucía Masters in 2010, winner in 2011 and 3rd at the 2016 Open de España.

    “Last year I had another chance of winning at the Open de España. In the end I didn’t make it, but it was a positive week because I kept trying up to the last putt – I gave it my best shot. I enjoyed being the tournament host and felt proud every time I saw the name of my Foundation on the course. We had a fairly good gallery and many visitors to our stand. I want to thank them all because we raised 65.480 euro for the Spanish Cancer Association of Castellón. The money was used to rent some apartments for the families of cancer patients who can’t afford them, so the family can be together during treatment.”

    Sergio García, supported by his family, set up his charitable Foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically deprived children and youth through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as a free-time activity. The Foundation supports on a regular or occasional basis, a variety of initiatives in favour of persons with disabilities. The Sergio García Foundation and the Deporte y Desafío Foundation joined forces in 2003 with the objective of introducing adaptive golf in Spain. They developed together a twofold programme aimed, firstly, at making golf accessible to people with disabilities, thus helping them to be socially integrated. The second aim was to promote adaptive golf throughout the whole of Spain by means of specific training courses directed at golf teaching professionals. The Spanish Golf Federation as well as the Autonomic Federations joined the initiative.

    The Real Club Valderrama will stage the third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters, the last European Tour stop on European soil before heading for China, Turkey, South Africa and Dubai. From October 19-22, the event will be sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of the Sergio García Foundation.

    Sergio is a big fan of Valderrama. “Valderrama is a very special place for me, full of good memories – obviously the best when I finally managed to win in 2011. It is one of my favourite courses, one of the best in the world, and I always enjoy playing there.”

    The Masters champion is hosting a European Tour event at Valderrama for the second consecutive year.

    “I am delighted to support the Andalucía Valderrama Masters through my Foundation. As the tournament host, I would love to see everyone come and enjoy a great event and a wonderful occasion for all the Spanish players.

    “The course is always in top condition, with fast greens and superb maintenance. At last year’s Open de España we saw a big improvement in playability with the pruning of many cork trees, particularly on holes 8, 13 and 18.

    “Each hole in Valderrama has its own attraction and I like them all, because they force you to keep thinking and stay focused from the first to the last shot. It is a very demanding course that doesn’t give you any breaks. You need to put the ball in the right places and keep the errors to the minimum, but you are bound to make errors, so patience is key at Valderrama. You must respect this course or it will turn against you at any moment. One of the things I like most is that it allows you to use all the clubs in the bag.”

    Including his 2011 win, García has an outstanding record at Valderrama: 7th at the 1999 WGC-American Express; 5th at the 2000 WGC-American Express; 7th at the 2002 and 2003 Volvo Masters; runner-up at three consecutive Volvo Masters from 2004 to 2006; 34th at the 2007 Volvo Masters; 4th at the 2008 Volvo Masters; 11th at the inaugural Andalucía Masters in 2010, winner in 2011 and 3rd at the 2016 Open de España.

    “Last year I had another chance of winning at the Open de España. In the end I didn’t make it, but it was a positive week because I kept trying up to the last putt – I gave it my best shot. I enjoyed being the tournament host and felt proud every time I saw the name of my Foundation on the course. We had a fairly good gallery and many visitors to our stand. I want to thank them all because we raised 65.480 euro for the Spanish Cancer Association of Castellón. The money was used to rent some apartments for the families of cancer patients who can’t afford them, so the family can be together during treatment.”

    Sergio García, supported by his family, set up his charitable Foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically deprived children and youth through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as a free-time activity. The Foundation supports on a regular or occasional basis, a variety of initiatives in favour of persons with disabilities. The Sergio García Foundation and the Deporte y Desafío Foundation joined forces in 2003 with the objective of introducing adaptive golf in Spain. They developed together a twofold programme aimed, firstly, at making golf accessible to people with disabilities, thus helping them to be socially integrated. The second aim was to promote adaptive golf throughout the whole of Spain by means of specific training courses directed at golf teaching professionals. The Spanish Golf Federation as well as the Autonomic Federations joined the initiative.

    We have various packages with accommodation and tickets available for the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, including if you want something special, playing Valderrama the week after the event in similar conditions to the competition.


    Valderrama launches major renovation plan to upgrade the golf course and practice areas

    Valderrama(4-14) _Page_05_Image_0001

    Club de Golf Valderrama, the most known Spanish golf course internationally, has announced a series of improvements to the field with a total investment of 3 million euros.

    The venue for the 1997 Ryder Cup, two World Golf Championships and 16 editions of the Volvo Masters, is currently undertaking major investments. Valderrama has been consistently ranked among the best courses, recently ranked in 45th place in the World and number 1 in Europe by Golf Architecture Magazine, this top 100 ranking is elaborated with votes from the most prestigious golf course designers and architects in the World.

    The first investment undertaken has been the complete renovation of the pumping system, this  new system has significantly reduced water and energy costs. The second major improvement on the course has been the new bunkers. All traps have been renovated by installing new drainage, liners and sand. The new sand conforms with USGA specifications and has been chosen after months of testing. “Bunkers have always been an issue at Valderrama. We have rebuilt the bunkers following the strictest and highest specifications and I am proud to say they are now matching the quality of our greens and fairways” says Valderrama’s general manager, Javier Reviriego.

    This is only the first phase of the renovation project, Valderrama is currently working on the improvement of many cart paths and the landscaping of the course, in order for the greens and fairways to be free of bad weeds.

    Planned for the immediate future is the construction of a new pitching and chipping green,  in a large area next to the current practice range.

    With the announcement of these improvements and the mention in the press release itself, one would think that a major golf tournament might be soon announced for Valderrama.


    Spain’s elusive holy grail

    Unfinished business at Valderrama

    Spanish contingent in confident mood... (Photo: Fernando Herranz)

    SEVE BALLESTROS went close in 1988. The late Spanish star finished second two shots behind Nick Faldo in the inaugural Volvo Masters at Valderrama.

    Six years later, he was again second, a bogey on the last hole leaving him one short of Bernhard Langer’s winning score and level with Vijay Singh. Miguel Ángel Jiménez was fourth that same year, having opened with a six-under 65 that included the first albatross carded in competition on Valderrama’s notorious 17th hole. Continue reading