The European Tour and the Real Club Valderrama celebrate their silver anniversary
35 years since its foundation and 25 individual events of the European Tour held on its pristine course. But numbers fall short when trying to convey the meaning of the Real Club Valderrama for Andalusian, Spanish and European golf.
Valderrama was founded in 1985 thanks to the efforts and vision of Jaime Ortiz Patiño, who hired top designer Robert Trent Jones Sr to renovate the old Las Aves course and the surrounding land with the intention of creating the best golf course in continental Europe. Valderrama debuted as a European Tour venue soon after that, since in 1988 it held the Volvo Masters, an elite field event that brought the curtain down on the European Tour season.
Taking a quick look at its winner list (from Sir Nick Faldo, its first champion, to world-class golfers such as Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, among others) it’s easy to understand its importance. On the fairways and greens of Valderrama, unforgettable moments such as Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie’s draw in 2002, Miguel Ángel Jiménez’s albatross in 1994 or the exciting playoffs between Ian Poulter and Sergio García in 2004 or Fredrik Jacobson with Carlos Rodiles the previous year. In total, 16 Volvo Masters in which the Real Club Valderrama acted as a fair but demanding judge.
After being elevated to a well-deserved glory and gaining international prominence thanks to the 1997 Ryder Cup in which Seve Ballesteros captained the European team to victory, the Sotogrande club hosted another key event on the international schedule, the WGC American Express Championship. The field, again, was outstanding. In 1999, the number one in the world, Tiger Woods, needed a playoff to beat a tough rival carried by the cheering locals, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, while in 2000 Mike Weir, a Masters winner, conquered the title.
The Andalucía Masters, currently sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Junta de Andalucía, followed up with the great tradition of elite tournaments at Valderrama and Graeme McDowell, who had won the 2010 US Open winner, beat the field that year. Golf fans had to wait until 2011 for the first Spanish victory at Real Club Valderrama when Sergio García managed to overcome the resistance of Miguel Ángel Jiménez.
In 2016 the Open de España took over and the field faced a course that, as always, made no concessions. This time, fan-favourite Andrew Johnston won the title but could not beat Valderrama because he finished over par, something that had not happened since Sandy Lyle won with +3 in the 1992 Volvo Masters.
In the following two years, Sergio García continued his love affair with Real Club Valderrama by winning two consecutive Andalucía Masters titles, becoming the first player to obtain three individual victories at Valderrama. The Borriol golfer accumulates 14 top ten in 15 appearances at Valderrama (2 in the WGC American Express Championship, 7 in the Volvo Masters and 5 in the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters), an impressive record.
In 2019 the South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout broke Sergio García’s streak and managed to hold off the assault of the many Spanish players fighting for the title since five Spaniards finished in the top 7 of the event.
The 2020 winner, therefore, will have the honor of being crowned in the 25th European Tour event played at Valderrama. Without a question, he will be a worthy heir to the tradition that so many illustrious international champions have written with their talent in one of the best courses in the world.
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 :
Winner of the Twitter giveaway :
Winners of the Golf in Spain giveaway :
- Pascual Aguirre
- 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.
Real Club Valderrama from another point of view
This week is the Valderrama Masters, perfect timing to throw back some of the content we created last year for the event. Embark with us and admire the golf course with our 360º aerial panoramic. Ver a pantalla completa
Andalucia Valderrama Masters
We have created two exclusive packages with limited places available at Almenara and Kempinski so you don’t miss the new Andalucia Valderrama Masters! You also can play a similar format to that of the main competition as we have some guaranteed tee times at Valderrama.
Save 5% by booking during July.
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Andalucia Valderrama Masters confirmed
A confirmed field size of 96 players will be back to Valderrama in October playing for a first prize of €500,000 from a €3 million prize fund in the inaugural Andalucía Valderrama Masters from October 28-31.
The field includes five invites and four players from the Spanish Order of Merit and means the cut will see the top 50 players, and those tied for 50th place, complete the final two rounds.
The spectacular Robert Trent Jones Snr layout has provided the backdrop for some of the most thrilling moments in golfing history, including Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph in 1997, when Colin Montgomerie, this year’s European Captain, provided the vital half point in his singles match against Scott Hoch, which saw Europe win 14½-13½.
After some rumours about the possibility of the event being postponed to 2011, Valderrama will be back to the European Tour the last week of October, meaning a great chance for a golf holiday to Spain that same week.
Live the Volvo World Match Play from the ‘backstage’
Hotel Finca Cortesín is now offering very interesting conditions for the few rooms that are still available for the Volvo World Match Play. We have also updated the package we have published for this event, including new extras like a welcome drink with tapa, Junior Suite with views for the same price as the Standard Junior Suite or the possibility of an early check in or late check out (all these extras are always upon availability).
Having reduced the minimum stay to 3 nights, this is a unique opportunity that will be difficult to level off in the future: staying and enjoying the luxury this hotel offers, surrounded by 16 of the best golf players worldwide. This is like living the tournament from the “backstage”. You can also add golfing to the package, in some of the best courses in Spain, like Valderrama, Sotogrande or La Reserva. And remember, November 1st is a national holiday, make this an event you will never forget!
Volvo Masters’ Panoramic Moments
A collection of selected panoramic views we’ve had the ocasion to take in some of the unforgettable moments of Volvo Masters’ history.
Hole 18.- 2004 Edition. This is where the first tie was experienced, and finally the settlement was in favor to Poulter.
Mel Pyatt – The “father” of Volvo Masters
By Maria Acacia López Bachiller (Sept. 2007)
The Volvo Masters, the Grand Finale of the European Tour season, will celebrate its twentieth anniversary from 1st to 4th November at Club de Golf Valderrama, in San Roque (Cádiz).Many have witnessed and have lived the event from its very first staging in 1988, but not many people know the story of how the tournament was born. Its “father” is the English golf professional Mel Pyatt, now President and Chief Executive Officer for Volvo Event Management, who, incidentally, will be retiring at the end of the year.