- Alejandro Cañizares
- Alvaro Quirós
- Azahara Muñoz
- Beatriz Recari
- Carlota Ciganda
- Gonzalo Fernández
- Ignacio Garrido
- Jon Rahm
- José Manuel Lara
- Jose María Olazabal
- Pablo Larrazábal
- Pablo Martín
- Rafael Cabrera-Bello
- Sergio García
- Severiano Ballesteros
All is now set for an epic battle at Finca Cortesín after both the European and the United States captains finalised their teams for the 2023 Solheim Cup. History will be made when the biennial event is held for the first time in Spain. The women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup – which was held at nearby Royal Valderrama Club in 1997 – will run from 22 to 24 September at the luxury Finca Cortesín resort in Casares municipality.
Associated activities, including live music concerts and gastronomy, are also being arranged in other areas of the Costa del Sol. Marbella Arena, for example, is organising a “Swing and Sun Fan Fest” from 19 to 24 September. At Hotel Villa Padierna, in Benahavís, three gourmet culinary evenings, including live music, are being held on 21, 22 and 23 September. Diners can also have their photograph taken next to the Solheim Cup.
As for the golf, spectators will be able to take advantage of special public transport transfer options from Marbella (including Puerto Banús and San Pedro de Alcántara) to avoid car parking issues. Once at the course, there will be a vibrant hospitality village ambience, with music, food and drinks, and other leisure activities.
The U.S. team won the first Solheim Cup in 1990, but Europe have been gradually chipping away at the Americans’ 10-7 overall advantage, and will be the defending champions at Finca Cortesín after their 15-13 victory at Inverness Club in Ohio last year.
One of Europe’s top holiday and residential-tourism resorts, Finca Cortesín already has international pedigree as a top tournament venue, having hosted the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championships.
The European captain is Norwegian Suzann Pettersen, and her vice captains will be Anna Nordqvist (the Swede who also made the team as a player), legendary English star Laura Davies and Norwegian former Ladies European Tour pro Caroline Martens.
Eight players qualified automatically for the European team, and Pettersen had four captain’s picks. France’s Celine Boutier and Sweden’s Maja Stark were the top two on the LET Solheim Cup points list, while English pair Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, Ireland’s Leona Maguire, Linn Grant and Anna Nordqvist from Sweden, and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda secured their spots through the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Pettersen then named Gemma Dryburgh (Scotland), Madelene Sagström and Caroline Hedwall (Sweden) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (Denmark) as her four selections.
The Americans will be captained by Stacy Lewis, supported by assistant captains Morgan Pressel, Natalie Gulbis and Angela Stanford.
Seven players qualified from the U.S. Solheim Cup points list – Lilia Vu, Nelly Korda, Allisen Corpuz, Megan Khang, Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee – and another two from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings (Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang). Lewis’s final three captain’s picks were Ally Ewing, Cheyenne Knight and Angel Yin.
Still considering coming?
If you are looking for a hotel or other accommodation options when attending the Solheim Cup, contact us. You might consider extending your stay and playing at other top courses on the Costa del Sol, in Sotogrande or further afield in Murcia (Costa Cálida), Alicante (Costa Blanca) or Madrid. Check out our special golf offers.
A few days ago we added the Real Nuevo Club de Golf San Sebastián to the courses we market in the north of Spain. This extensive course designed by José María Olazábal, which promises an exciting round, is located on the outskirts of San Sebastián. The course is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment that besides being the perfect background to enjoy golf, gives difficulty to the course. Although you can occasionally book on weekends, we recommend Monday through Friday (before 12:00) when booking your green fees at Basozabal.
The Catalan region will be hosting two new events on this year’s DP World Tour. The Spanish double-header begins with the ISPS Handa Championship at Infinitum (Tarragona) from April 21 to 24, followed by the Catalunya Championship at PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness (Girona) from April 28 to May 1. Each tournament will have a prize fund of US$2 million.
Previously known as Lumine, Infinitum Golf was a second stage Qualifying School venue from 2012 until it succeeded PGA Catalunya as host venue for the Qualifying School final from 2017 to 2019.
A European Tour Destination, PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness was the Qualifying School final venue for nine consecutive years from 2008 to 2016, and it has also hosted four full Tour events: the 1999 Sarazen World Open won by Thomas Bjørn, and three Open de España events, in 2000, 2009 and 2014. In winning the latter, Miguel Ángel Jiménez extended his own record as the Tour’s oldest winner – to 50 years and 133 days.
Two other events on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) are scheduled for Spain this year: the Acciona Open de España Presented by Madrid from 6 to 9 October at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid; and the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters from 13-16 October at Royal Valderrama Club. The week of 20-23 October is currently open for a yet-to-be-confirmed European event which may also be held in Spain.
The traditional press conference to present the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters was held today at Royal Valderrama Club. The official presentation was presided over by Valderrama general manager Javier Reviriego, the deputy minister for tourism with the Junta de Andalucía (regional government), Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, a representative of San Roque Town Hall and Pablo Mansilla, president of the Royal Andalucian Golf Federation.
Confirming the previously announced news that Jon Rahm would be teeing up in the tournament, Javier Reviriego thanked the world number one for his support. He also referred to measures adopted by the club as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, replacing some lateral grass areas with pine bark, commonly known as “munch”, and noted that the plan was to maintain the course’s high level of difficulty for this year’s tournament. Reviriego once again emphasised, without going into details, that Valderrama’s objective was to ensure that the tournament continued to grow in the future, indicating that he “hopes to have news soon” and adding that , if rumours of a joint circuit between the European Tour and U.S. PGA Tour materialised, he envisaged Valderrama being one of the venues.
Meanwhile, deputy minister for tourism Manuel Alejandro Cardenete highlighted data on tourism’s solid recovery in recent months, surpassing Cataluña for the first time as the premier national destination, and forecast a total of five million visitors during the autumn period.
Jon Rahm Returns to Valderrama
World number one and reigning U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm confirmed back in August that he would return to Royal Valderrama Club this year.
In his last appearance at Valderrama in 2019, Rahm finished runner-up to Christiaan Bezuidenhout in that year’s edition of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.
“I have some unfinished business at Valderrama, that’s for sure,” said Rahm. “As a Spaniard, it’s a golf course where we all want to win. As soon as you arrive you get a real sense of the history of the venue and the great moments that have taken place there over the last 30 years. To be a part of that would really be an honour.
“I’ve had nothing but great experiences of playing in front of home crowds. Spanish golf fans are truly special, and I can’t wait to see them lining the fairways again.”
Yesterday we attended the formal presentation of the Solheim Cup, which will be held for the first time in Spain from 18 to 24 September 2023. The venue, Finca Cortesín, had been revealed previously, and yesterday the dates were also confirmed officially – one week before the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.
This is excellent news for Spanish golf, which once again has the opportunity of hosting an event at the highest international level. The coup follows three years of hard work and effort by the main person behind the initiative, Íñigo Aramburu, managing director of Deporte & Business, a company which has been organising Ladies European Tour events since 2002.
Costa del Sol Tourism joins PING and Rolex as the main sponsors, while Andalucía Tourism, Acosol, Marbella Town Hall and Benahavís Town Hall are the official partners. A key union of forces without which it would not have been possible to host the event…
The initial project proposed hosting the event in Marbella, but in the end it was decided to opt for the Casares course – once again highlighting Finca Cortesín’s great vision in always aiming to maintain its status as a top-level competition course.
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.
Later this year Marbella-born Azahara Muñoz will be be returning to the scene of one of the most cherished moments in her career. The Ladies European Tour has just announced that the 2020 Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España will be played at Royal Guadalmina Golf Club from 26-29 November.
It was at Guadalmina where a young Azahara learnt to play the game before becoming an international star, and US LPGA Tour champion, and also the club where she won a second consecutive Spanish Women’s Open crown in 2017.
The previous year, at nearby Aloha Golf, Muñoz became the first Spanish women’s golfer to win her home Open. She also finished second behind Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam in the 2018 edition at La Quinta, and was joint fourth when the event returned to Aloha in 2019, also being won by Van Dam.
This year’s Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España will be the final tournament of the 2020 Ladies European Tour, offering a €600,000 prize fund (double last year’s total) and setting the scene for an exciting finale of the Race to Costa del Sol (the new LET order of merit).
Spanish star Jon Rahm will be in the marquee group on Thursday when the US PGA Tour resumes officially for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak halted golf around the world three months ago.
The three leading players in the world ranking (which was frozen when the main global tours went into hibernation) will be the main featured group in the first tournament back, the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial in Fort Worth, starting on Thursday (11 June) – albeit without fans allowed on the course.
Rory McIlroy (1), Jon Rahn (2) and Brooks Koepka (3) also played together in the first round of the 2020 Players Championship, after which the event was cancelled and the subsequent Tour schedule put on hold.
The omens are good for 25-year-old Rahm, if he can recapture that day’s form: he carded 69, while Koepka had a 70 and McIlroy a 72.
Apart from McIlroy, Rahm and Koepka, other star groups will be Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose, and Phil Mickelson, Gary Woodland and defending champion Kevin Na.
The overall strength of the field is highlighted by the fact that, in total, 101 of the 148 players have won on Tour.
In all, 15 of the world’s top 20 ranked golfers will be teeing up in Texas. Among those missing are Adam Scott (6), Tommy Fleetwood (10) and Tiger Woods (11). Scott has expressed his concerns with the tour’s COVID-19 testing protocol, and is not expected to return to competition for two months, in the lead-up to the newly-scheduled majors. UK-based Fleetwood explained in May that the quarantine times for international visitors would also most likely keep him away from the US for an extended period.
“It isn’t impossible for me to play,” Fleetwood told Golf Digest. “Far from it. But two weeks of quarantine at both ends of a trip across the Atlantic is a huge issue. That factor really made my decision for me. To go over and play in the three events scheduled for June would eat up seven weeks of my life. That’s more than double what a trip like that would normally take. I wouldn’t want to be away from my wife and kids for that long.”
Woods, meanwhile, has only played once professionally at the Colonial, finishing joint fourth in the 1997 event.
The US PGA Championship, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, has been moved from May to 6-9 August; the US Open until after the official 2019-2020 season concludes, from June to September 17 to 20 at Winged Foot in New York; and the US Masters at Augusta, normally in April, to an unprecedented late-autumn date, 12-15 November.
The Tokyo Olympics (now including a golf competition, re-introduced in 2016) have been postponed until 2021; and a decision is still pending on the Ryder Cup, due to be held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from 25 to 27 September.
European Tour Update
The European Tour plans to resume its 2020 season with the launch of a new six-week “UK Swing”. Suspended on 8 March due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Tour is scheduled to return to action in July and continue to December.
All tournaments will initially be played behind closed doors, and all will be “subject to stringent safety and testing protocols set out in the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy, which will continue to evolve, aligned with international government guidance and health guidelines”.
The “UK Swing” begins with the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, at Close House, near Newcastle, from Wednesday 22 July to Saturday 25 July, followed by the English Open (Marriott Forest of Arden), English Championship (Marriott Hanbury Manor), Celtic Classic and Wales Open (both at The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport) and finally the UK Championship (The Belfry).
The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, due to be held from 29 April to 3 May at Royal Valderrama, has not been rescheduled in 2020.
Resumption of Women’s Tours
Both the US LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour were also forced to cancel tournaments from March to June.
The LPGA is scheduled to resume on 23 July with the Marathon Classic in Ohio; while the LET is due to return to action with the Ladies Scottish Open from 13 to 16 August. This follows the announcement this week that the Evian Championship – one of five women’s majors, and due to be played from 6 August at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France – has been postponed until next year.
In Spain, the La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational (scheduled to be played in May) and the Mediterranean Ladies Open (Terramar Golf Club in July) have been “postponed”, but the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open (at a club to be confirmed) is still scheduled for 6 to 9 November.
When the event returned to the Tour calendar in 2017, he won again – and he successfully defended his title in 2018. In addition, he has 10 other top-10 finishes from 14 appearances at a course he says is his favourite in the world. After his first round this week in the newly named and upgraded Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, García said, “I love this place, there is no doubt about that. It kind of has something that helps me.”
For 2019, he was back in familiar territory, second one stroke behind Frenchman Victor Perez after a first round five-under 66. He found things more difficult on the second day, but a one-over 72 still left him with a share of second place, albeit four strokes adrift of the halfway leader, South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Keeping him company, and the home country fans even happier, on 138 were local (Guadiaro) star Álvaro Quirós and Adri Arnous.
The highest world-ranked player in the field (11th), Jon Rahm was joint 23rd after opening 69-72 – a significant improvement on his debut in the 2017 edition, when he missed the cut in his first start as a professional on home Spanish soil.
Of the rest of the field, 2016 Spanish Open winner (also at Valderrama) Andrew “Beef” Johnston (70-73) had a share of 42nd place, while the only Spaniard to win (so far) on the European Tour this season, Jorge Campillo (73-71), was 55th with another local-based Spaniard, Alejandro Cañizares (71-73), right on the weekend cut-off mark (two-over 144).
Notables missing the cut included Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño (74-71), 2008 European Tour number one Robert Karlsson (73-72) and José María Olazábal (71-77) – as well as last week’s winner in Germany, Andrea Pavan (73-73).
After his second round, García said, “Obviously it was very difficult this afternoon; the greens were very firm and it got quite windy, more than yesterday afternoon. I just didn’t make any putts, but I felt like I played really well under the conditions and the difficulty of the course. The way the course is playing you have to pick your spots, there are some good spots where you can be aggressive, but you also have to be a little bit careful. It’s always great to play in Spain. Playing in front of Spanish people is amazing; I always enjoy it, it’s one of my favourite things, and thanks to that I’ve been very successful in Spain.”
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