Lowdown:
The European Tour heads for North Africa this week and the Trophée Hassan II at the Golf du Palais Royal in Agadir, Morocco. David Horsey defends a title he won in a tense playoff last year against Rhys Davies and Jaco Van Zyl.
The Trophée Hassan II is Morocco’s longest running sports event. It was first contested in 1971 and has been won by nine different Major champions over the years including Lee Trevino, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington.
Despite its heritage, this is only the third season the event has been part of the official European Tour schedule.
The Golf du Palais Royal is located within the walls of the Royal Palace of Agadir. Outside of the tournament week it’s only used by King Mohammed VI and his guests. It’s a superb layout and one the players actively look forward to playing.
“It’s an awesome course,” said defending champion David Horsey. “It’s always in mint condition because nobody ever plays it. And to play in a King’s back garden is something special.”
In last year’s event both Horsey and Rhys Davies had short putts to win the tournament outright on the 72nd green but both missed and they dropped back into a tie with South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl. Horsey took the title with a birdie at the second extra hole.
Last year’s Trophée Hassan II was played to a pro-am format with two courses being used over the first two days. This year, however, there will be no amateurs and only the Golf du Palais Royal course will be used.

Venue:
Golf du Palais Royal, Agadir, Morocco
Date: Mar 22-25
Course stats: par 72, 6,844 yards
Purse: €1,500,000
Defending Champion: David Horsey (-13)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 22 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 11.30am
Friday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 11.30am
Saturday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1pm
Sunday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 2pm

Player Watch:
Jaco Van Zyl – The South African lost out in a playoff for this tournament last year. He’s enjoyed a great start to this year with a fourth then a third place finish in South Africa. He was also seventh last week in Spain.

Matteo Manassero – The talented Italian was second in last week’s Open de Andalucia. He’s a tenacious competitor and if he can get a sniff of victory here he’ll be tough to beat.

Robert Rock – This will be the Englishman’s last chance to secure a spot in the Masters and only a victory will do. Look for him to come out all guns blazing this week.

Key hole:
17th. A par-5 of just 511 yards, this will be reachable for every player in the field. It will provide the opportunity of some significant leaps up the leaderboard late in the day on Sunday.

Where next?
PGA Tour –
Arnold Palmer Invitational preview