European Tour Report, 26 June 2019: The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation takes place at Real Club Valderrama this week and we’ve picked out five things you need to know ahead of the tournament. Shubhankar Sharma leads the Indian presence this week in the company of SSP Chawrasia and Shiv Kapur.
Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia are the only two players to have won this event in four editions. Defending champion Garcia is aiming to win for the third successive time, having claimed the title in 2011, 2017 and 2018, the last of which was a 54-hole win due to the torrential rain which shortened the event in the autumn of 2018. The Spanish host won by four shots from nearest challenger Shane Lowry after play was suspended and the third, and final, round was completed on Monday.
Earlier this year, Estrella Damm, the iconic premium lager brand of the Spanish brewing company Damm, was unveiled as the new title sponsor of the Andalucía Masters in a significant five-year deal. As part of the new partnership, players will now compete for a prize fund of €3,000,000 – an increase of €1,000,000 from 2018. The partnership is the latest branch of a long-running association between the Mediterranean lager and golf. At the end of the 1990s Damm decided to support golf, at first through amateur clubs all over Spain and then, in 2017, sponsoring the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open, a professional golf tournament on the Ladies European Tour, in which Europe’s leading women golfers compete.
Ryder Cup memories
In September 1997, Real Club Valderrama was the first venue in mainland Europe to host The Ryder Cup, when it welcomed Team Europe and Team USA to Andalucía. Team Europe, under the captaincy of the legendary Seve Ballesteros, reigned victorious 14 ½ – 13 ½. The victory was Europe’s first of six consecutive wins on European soil, a streak which still continues after their latest triumph at Le Golf National last year.
Off the course
The Sergio Garcia Foundation will host the Andalucía Masters for a third successive time. Garcia set up his charitable foundation in 2002 to help economically-deprived children, both through funding projects and through increased access to sport. Half of the funds raised during tournament week will go towards a cause promoted by tournament host through the Sergio Garcia Foundation, with the other half going to the European Tour Foundation- the charitable arm of the European Tour.
On the tee
Host Garcia heads a strong field for the Andalucía Masters, with the 2017 Masters Champion joined by countryman and 2018 Ryder Cup teammate Jon Rahm at Real Club Valderrama. BMW International Open winner Andrea Pavan and Matt Fitzpatrick, who the Italian beat in a play-off last week, will also tee it up in southern Spain. Ryder Cup Captains Thomas Bjørn and José María Olazábal will be joined by 2018 vice-captain Robert Karlsson in Andalucía, in addition to Jorge Campillo, the only Spaniard to win on the European Tour this year.