Interview

    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.


    A chat with Chema Olazabal

    A few days ago José María Olazábal competed in the Lacoste Promesas at La Sella Golf Resort . The two time champion of the Augusta Masters, who holds more than 35 international titles, played in the Ryder Cup six times and who, as captain in 2012, engineered the so-called ‘miracle of Medinah’, took time out to chat to María Acacia Lopéz Bachiller about ‘the divine and the human.’

    Chema Olazabal in La Sella “Golf’s critics and stigmas don’t bother me, each to his own, and as to what people end up doing, only time will tell” Photo courtesy of Jorge Andreu

    He came ninth in the last tournament he competed in, the Hassan II Golf Trophy in Morocco (29/03/15), and shot a round of 71 in the second round of the Masters (10/04/15). “I put in a good performance in Morocco, but on the first day at Augusta it all unraveled. After the Masters, I felt quite stiff, I did some training the following Monday and went to the Spanish Open with reservations. I couldn’t play. I came home, started to see several doctors, had therapy… And here I am taking anti-inflammatories and steroids, unable to do anything. If I’m still it doesn’t bother me but when I try to move around, my shoulders, groin, abductor muscles and calves ache. It was the same thing that happened to me during the US Open in 2007: overnight my joints started to ache and I couldn’t move. There’s no need to keep going over and over it, what happened happened. It’s annoying, without a doubt, being at home not being able to move or live a vaguely normal life- it’s pretty tough. But just as last time it happened and I was able to bounce back from it, it could well be the case this time too. They say that these things come in waves, cycles… Right now I’ve got to be optimistic and be patient- it’s a slow process, that will take around five or six months. It’s the same old story, but what can you do?

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    Interview with María Acacia López Bachiller

    Born in Torremolinos in 1954 but now living in Madrid with her lawyer husband and two children (11 and nine years), María Acacia López-Bachiller is almost as familiar a Spanish figure on the European Tour as Severiano Ballesteros. As press officer at tour events in Spain, and around the world, for over two decades, she has become a confidante to two generations of Spanish players, from Antonio Garrido and Victor García to sons Ignacio Garrido and Sergio García. In this exclusive interview with GolfinSpain, she looks back over her career and the prospect that she will be working alongside a third generation.

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