The European Tour makes a welcome return to Valderrama this week for the inaugural Andalucia Valderrama Masters. With a win or a tie for second place Martin Kaymer will become World Number 1.
A strong field of 96 players has assembled at the famous Sotogrande Club to do battle for a sizeable purse of €3,000,000. As the 2010 Race to Dubai approaches its conclusion, the winner’s cheque for €500,000 could prove crucial to those in contention.
Martin Kaymer has the opportunity to take Tiger Woods‘ crown as World Number 1 this week if he finishes tied second or better. The German has enjoyed an incredible season and has won on his last three European Tour starts – The USPGA Championship, the KLM Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. A victory here would go a long way to securing the 2010 Race to Dubai for the 25-year-old.
2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell is Kaymer’s closest challenger in the Race to Dubai but he’s currently €1,000,000 back from the German. The Northern Irishman will be aiming for nothing less than victory at Valderrama.
Joining the two 2010 Major winners on the start sheet are their victorious Ryder Cup team mates – Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and the Molinari brothers.
Last week’s winner Matteo Manassero will play, so will Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal as they continue their respective comebacks.
Valderrama is probably Spain’s best-known course having hosted 16 Volvo Masters plus the 1997 Ryder Cup. Constructed in 1974 by Robert Trent Jones Snr, it was expanded and improved when the club was acquired by Jaime Ortiz-Patiño in 1984.
Venue: Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
Date: Oct 28-31
Course stats: par 71, 6,988 yards
Purse: €3,000,000 Winner: €500,000
Defending Champion: Inaugural tournament
Thursday 28 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
Friday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
Saturday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 1pm
Sunday 31 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm
Martin Kaymer – He’s been in unstoppable form over the past three months and will be tough to beat as he aims to take the World Number 1 spot.
Graeme McDowell – The Northern Irishman will be pushing hard for the win to close the gap on Kaymer at the top of the Race to Dubai. He has a solid record at Valderrama including a tie for fourth in 2007 when he made a remarkable albatross at the par-5 17th in the final round.
Edoardo Molinari – The Italian has enjoyed a wonderful European Tour season that has included two wins and just three missed cuts. He’ll be looking to return to the first page of the leaderboard after a couple of quiet weeks.
Key hole: 17th. A brilliant risk and reward par 5. 536 yards with water short of the green so the approach must be perfect, anything a little too soft will roll back into the hazard.
Skills required: Course management. Valderrama requires a tactical approach and damage limitation is often the order of the day. It’s not a course that generally produces low scoring.