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    The Open de España will take place in Madrid!

    It is one of the oldest and most celebrated tournaments in Europe and it will return to the European Tour in April. After its absence from the schedule in 2017, the 91st playing of the Open de España will take place at the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid from April 12-15.

    Pelley said: “I am delighted to announce the return of the Open de España to our schedule. The roll call of champions reads like a Who’s Who of the game itself and we look forward very much to seeing who will add their name to that illustrious list in a couple of months’ time.

    “Our game thrives on prestigious national championships such as the Open de España and we thank everyone at the Royal Spanish Golf Federation and the Madrid Golf Federation for helping us make this happen.”

    The first contested played in 1912 was also the first tournament played in the European Tour’s inaugural season in 1972, with home favourite Antonio Garrido crowned as champion. Several Spanish greats followed onto the Roll of Honour including Seve Ballesteros, Sergio García, Álvaro Quirós and Miguel Ángel Jiménez.

    Also victorious in the Championship have been Major Champions Arnold Palmer, Bernhard Langer, Sir Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington and Charl Schwartzel, alongside European Number Ones Colin Montgomerie and Robert Karlsson.

    Schwartzel’s victory, in 2007, came at the Centro Nacional de Golf itself and was the second of his current 11 victories on the European Tour, four years before he won the Masters Tournament at Augusta

    National.

    Gonzaga Escauriaza, President of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, said: “The Open de España is back on the European Tour International Schedule, which is great news for Spanish golf and we are doubly delighted to be welcoming it back to our home at the Centro Nacional de Golf.

    “Our country has always held a relevant position in Europe, not only because of the outstanding performances of the Spanish golfers, both professionals and amateurs, but also for being one of the main tourist destinations. Therefore, Spain deserves its Open and I am convinced that our professionals will support the event with their presence. I especially would like to thank Keith Pelley and the European Tour, the Madrid Golf Federation, and all who have contributed to make it happen.”

    Ignacio Guerras, president of the Madrid Golf Federation, said: “The Open de España is set to return to its origins. In total, 43 of its 91 editions will have taken place in Madrid, one of the great cities in Europe, and also host to the first 17 editions of the tournament. Throughout history, Madrilenian golf courses have attracted the greats of the game including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Davis Love III and Fred Couples.”

    Aside from the 2007 Open de España, the Centro Nacional de Golf has also played host to the 2009 Madrid Masters on the European Tour and the 2006 Challenge de España on the European Challenge Tour.

    With the Open de España now confirmed, the number of Race to Dubai counting tournaments in 2018 still stands at 47 after the news that the Philippines Golf Championship, scheduled for March 15-18, will not take place this year.

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    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.

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    Miguel Ángel Jiménez junior starts as a Pro in Tenerife

    The eldest son of veteran golfer Miguel Ángel Jiménez played his first tournament today as a professional at the Gran Premio Meliá Hacienda del Conde– Gambito Golf Tour in Buenavista, just a few days after getting his professional golf card.

     

    Miguel Ángel Jiménez junior, who is currently contesting the European Senior Circuit and the US Champions Tour, is going to follow his family tradition, debuting as a Pro at the Meliá Hacienda del Conde – Gambito Golf Tour Grand Prix. On his trip to Tenerife he will play at Buenavista Golf, designed by Seve Ballesteros. An incredible par 72 course of 6019 meters and some nice holes close to the beach that offer the player a sensation of striking the ball towards the ocean and the waterfalls of holes 9 and 18.

    22 year old Miguel Ángel Jiménez Bravo is a member of the PGA of Spain. Almost immediately after finishing his Finances career in Miami he became a profesional so that he could play his first official tournament today. ”Since he was a kid he had a passion for golf, You would always see him playing with a spoon and a golf ball” says his mother Montse, as she thinks back.





    Greater Things… a Master Class

    (Photo: Toni Doro)

    Oldest European Tour champion, sublime US Masters performance, sparkling senior tour debut… Miguel Ángel Jiménez, now arguably the third member of a global trio of Málaga favourite sons (together with Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas), just keeps dazzling us. So how does the “world’s most interesting golfer” do it? “If you are 50 it doesn’t mean that you cannot play well. I’m still moving. I’m still flexible.” Cue to… his endearingly particular stretching and warm-up routine, captured for posterity on YouTube.

    History made in Hong Kong (Getty Images)

    These are the salient facts…

    • He was fourth in the 2014 US Masters at 50 years of age (Jimenez became eligible for the “round-belly” ranks on 5 January), the second-best performance by a player in his fifties at Augusta after Sam Snead (joint third in 1963).

    • He carded the best round of the tournament, a six-under 66, in the third round to start the final day just two strokes off the lead. It matched the lowest score for a senior golfer at Augusta National: Ben Hogan was 54 when he carded 66 during the third round of the 1967 tournament, and Fred Couples matched it at 50 years during the opening round in

    2010.

    • One week later he was a winner on his Champions Tour debut, in the Greater Gwinnett Championship, only the third player to achieve that feat leading wire-to-wire (the second was in 1999).

    European Masters bliss in 2010 (Getty Images)

    • Totalling 14-under over the 54 holes, he carded 15 birdies, one eagle, and just one bogey and one double bogey (on the third and fourth holes, respectively, in the second round): i.e. covering his last 32 holes without recording a single over-par score.

    • He became the 18th player in the history of the US seniors tour to win on his first start, a stellar list that includes Arnold Palmer (1980), Gary Player (1985) and Jack Nicklaus (1990).

    • He is just the second golfer from Spain to win on the Champions Tour: José María Cañizares took nine play-off holes to secure the 2001 Toshiba Classic title.

    • He became the first player to win a European Tour and Champions Tour event in the same season.

    • Thirteen of his 20 European Tour victories have come after he turned 40. When Jiménez was victorious in the Hong Kong Open in December 2013, he extended his record (set in the same event the previous year) as the oldest winner on the European Tour.

    So where to next? Jiménez has a one-year exemption for the Champions Tour but he is reluctant to make a firm commitment. “To me it’s not about money,” he said after his victory in Georgia. “It’s about some different goals to make me feel proud of myself. To me I would feel nice to play on the Ryder Cup once more.”

    If Jiménez does qualify to play in the Ryder Cup on points, or if Paul McGinley makes him a captain’s pick in September, he will become the oldest member of the European side in the history of the event. Ted Ray was 50 years, two months and five days old at the inaugural contest in 1927. The Spaniard has played in the Ryder Cup four times: twice on the winning side and twice among the losers. His record is mediocre (4-8-3) and he is keen to improve it.

    Jiménez shot a blemish-free opening 65 (seven-under) to lead by three strokes on his Champions Tour debut. “Very good start,” he said later. “Now it’s time for a nice, warm shower, a nice fat cigar and a glass of Rioja… I’m desperate to find one of my cigars and have a glass of wine.” Bernhard Langer had set the previous tournament record with a 66 while winning the 2013 inaugural championship.

    Player of the Month” after Hong Kong Open victory (Photo: Getty Images)

    Also sharing second place was 2013 player of the year Kenny Perry, who – when asked about Jiménez at the post-round press conference – said, “”He’s amazing. He’s fun to watch. He’s a great player.”

    “We need guys like that out here. I mean, he’s a huge fan favourite. He brings a lot of flair and class to golf and he just has a good time.”

    During the conference, Perry noticed the Spaniard trying to sneak through the interview room and called out, “Hope to see you tomorrow. Don’t beat us too bad, okay?” Jiménez replied something about wine and cigars, prompting Perry to lament, “That guy has too much fun.”

    Jiménez’s playing partners in the last round of the Greater Gwinnett were two former US Masters champions who also had excellent results at Augusta this year: Fred Couples (the Champion Tour’s most popular attraction – at least until now!) and Bernhard Langer (its best current player). The American finished five shots behind the winner, and the German was second, two strokes back.

    More celebrations in May

    “I showed my game is in very good shape,” said Jiménez. “I’m very happy with my age and the way I’m doing things. The last 15 years have been the best years of my career. It’s nice – I’ve got no complaints with being 50.”

    The week before at Augusta he was just as upbeat, in spite of the disappointment of not winning his first major. “The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 (years). I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

    The next time Jiménez is due to tee up is the Spanish Open at PGA Catalunya in Girona from 15 to 18 May.

    In the meantime, he will be marrying his Austrian fiancé, Susanne Styblo, on 3 May in Vienna; and he plans to make his European Senior Tour debut in the Senior British Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl in July.

    The post Greater Things… a Master Class appeared first on Oz in Spain.


    Original post reproduced with permission from ozinspain.com

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    Golden Prospects for Golf

    Lumine Golf on the Costa Daurada

    A pronounced sense of optimism prevailed at the 16th edition of the International Golf Travel Market, held on Spain’s Costa Daurada in November.

    In his keynote address to the IGTM – considered the premier global event for golf tourism – Peter Walton, chief executive of the IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) presented positive findings from his organisation’s “Global Golf Tourism Report 2013”, highlighting a 9.3 per cent growth in global golf tour operator sales in 2012 compared with 2011.

    “With our report showing a steady, healthy growth of the sector, I believe we can all look forward to a third consecutive year of golf tourism growth in 2014 – an optimistic forecast I am confident will be reflected in next year’s global golf tourism survey,” he said.

    According to research presented at the 2013 IGTM, held at the PortAventura Convention Centre, Spanish golf tourism is a €340 million industry. Noting that Spain is the number one travel destination for visitors from the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia, the study also highlighted the value of European golf tourism at €1.55 billion a

    year.

    The findings formed part of a research document entitled “European Spotlight on Golf Tourism to Spain”, commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of the IGTM, and produced by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc.

    “The importance of golf tourism to Spain and the wider European economy is abundantly clear with these findings,” said SMS Inc. senior manager Richard Payne. “It also highlights why events such as IGTM are vital in unlocking future international growth in the global golf travel market to keep pace with this strong demand.”

    Added IGTM exhibition manager Peter Grimster, “These top-line findings underpin the scale of the golf tourism industry in Europe, and how it represents an important 10 per cent of the total economic impact of golf on the economy of Europe, which stands at €15.12 billion per annum.”

    The research also revealed the popularity of other destinations, with 17 per cent of golf travellers in 2012 visiting Portugal, 16.1 per cent opting for Great Britain & Ireland, 7.5 per cent arranging trips to Turkey, 7.1 per cent travelling to France and 6.9 per cent booking long-haul trips to the US.

    One of the showpiece events of the IGTM was the presentation of the IAGTO Awards, sponsored by Etihad Airways. Known as the “Oscars” of the golf tourism industry, the awards ceremony was held at the Tarragona bullring at the end of the IGTM, rewarding the best-performing golf destinations and golf resorts worldwide. New for this year’s awards were four categories recognising excellence in environmental sustainability and social responsibility at IAGTO member golf courses.

    Recipients from South Africa, California, Florida, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Sweden, Costa Rica, Portugal and Dubai were honoured during the awards ceremony, while US and British Open champion Ernie Els became IAGTO’s 14th honorary award recipient.

    Bringing together golf tourism suppliers, buyers and the media from throughout the world, the 2014 IGTM will be hosted in Italy’s Lake Como region, at the Villa Erba Exhibition and Conference Centre from 27 to 30 October.

    (Photos: www.edwardhill.com)

    The post Golden Prospects for Golf appeared first on Oz in Spain.


    Original post reproduced with permission from ozinspain.com

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    GolfinSpain Milestone

    Spain’s premier website for travelling golfers is now officially an “adult”. Founded in 1995 in the Costa del Sol town of Fuengirola, when the internet was a long way off from becoming the phenomenon it is today, GolfinSpain reached its legal age in 2013. Over the past 18 years the portal has become an online pacesetter (leader in traffic for “golf in Spain” at an international level) and a reference point for the Spanish golf tour operator market.

     

    A pioneering enterprise at the time, GolfinSpain was developed within the framework of a local PR and marketing company with “a technological restlessness and inquisitiveness”, according to founder José Luis Moya, who noticed a link between countries where the internet was more highly developed and where golf was most popular.

    He recalls that, on presenting the project in 1995, many golf course managers were sceptical, arguing that “golf was very traditional and could never be sold online”. Fortunately for the innovative company, the reality was completely different and, since its launch, GolfinSpain has handled more than 250,000 green free reservations, hotel bookings, and transport and transfer arrangements for travelling golfers, both Spanish and international. The number of pages visited over the past 18 years is now over 28 million, involving as many as 1.2 million users, and the company currently has nearly 3,500 registered clients and total bookings since 1995 of €11 million.

    Even though the project has received several awards and honourable mentions over the years, its management team stresses that it has always been a completely private initiative that “has not received direct support from any public authority, or any subsidies of any kind”, in spite of the handicap of having to operate and continuously innovate from a small municipality in southern

    Spain.

    “When we began we had to connect with the internet via a conference call to a service provider in Zaragoza. Later, the advent of Infovia reduced our competitive disadvantage but, even though Málaga province is the ‘capital of Spanish golf’, innovating from our local base has always, sadly, been a disadvantage,” explains José Luis Moya.

    The company initially came to international attention during the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, the first held outside the UK and the US. GolfinSpain was the only website at an international level selling packages for accommodation and entry tickets, as well as providing a resoundingly successful live broadcast from the event.

    This was followed by two World Golf Championship-American Express events, six Volvo Masters and two Volvo World Matchplay Championships for which GolfinSpain was commissioned as a consultant for the marketing and management of advance ticket sales.

    Coinciding with its anniversary, El Sur Existe S.L. – the brand’s parent company – is completing a major revamp of GolfinSpain’s corporate identity and image, and preparing to launch two innovative new projects that, among other objectives, aim to sell a wider range of international golf destinations – and compete with major international golf tour operators.


    Original post reproduced with permission from ozinspain.com

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