The European Tour returns home as Sergio Garcia hosts the Open de Espana at the iconic Real Club Valderrama

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The European Tour returns to Europe for the first time this season at Valderrama for the Open de España hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

James Morrison defends the title he won in fashion last year at Real Club El Prat in Catalonia.

It’s the first time Valderrama hosts Spain’s national Open, after hosting tournaments on the European Tour since 1988 as well as two World Golf Championships and the 1997 Ryder Cup where Seve Ballesteros’ Team Europe beat USA 14½ – 13½.

Sergio Garcia said of the course: “Valderrama is, without doubt, one of the best courses not just in Europe, but in the entire world.”

The weather for the week looks perfect with temperatures ranging from 24-27 degrees celsius and a maximum wind for the week at around 10mph.The course will be playing firm and first, and should ensure the winning score stays at single-digits under par.

Valderrama Open de Espana

The 18th hole at Valderrama

Venue: Real Club Valderrama
Date: Mar 14-17
Course stats: par 71, 6,991 yards
Purse: €2,000,000
Defending Champion: James Morrison

TV Coverage:
Thursday 17 – TBC
Friday 18 – TBC
Saturday 19 – TBC
Sunday 20 – TBC

Player watch:

Soren Kjeldsen – The Dane tied-7th at Augusta for his best major finish since 2009. He has also won around Valderrama before when he claimed the Volvo Masters in 2008.

Sergio Garcia – Sergio is hosting the tournament so he will be busy during the week but knows the course well. He won the 2011 Andalucía Masters at Valderrama and has had a decent season so far – he could have won the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour back in February but came 2nd to Adam Scott.

Sergio Garcia Open de Espana

Sergio Garcia comes into this week as tournament favourite

Rafael Cabrera-Bello – Rafa finished 3rd two weeks ago at the WGC-Dell Match Play where he defeated Rory McIlroy in the consolation match and made his Masters debut last week – finishing an impressive T17th.

Valderrama Open de Espana

The 17th at Valderrama

Key hole:  17th – The par-5 may be where the tournament is decided. The green sits over water that also runs short-left. A perfect risk-reward hole that will see plenty of birdies but plenty of bogeys too.

Key skill: Patience – the course, similar to Augusta, is very firm and fast and players will need to accept their bogeys and minimise damage. The winner will be the man who keeps his ball in play and understands that most of the time, par is a good score.