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(From left to right) Ángel Gavino, Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, Javier Reviriego and Pablo Mansilla (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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The presentations of golf tournaments, such as the one held on Tuesday 28th September at Real Club Valderrama to announce the latest news about the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, usually offer a balanced mix of hopes, illusions and good news. In this case, the optimistic expectations have been accompanied by strong realities: the tournament doubles its prize money compared to the difficult 2020 and reaches three million euros, opens its doors to the public with almost unlimited seating and counts with the presence of the world number one, Jon Rahm, European stalwart in the recently played Ryder Cup and main attraction for this European Tour event which will be played from October 14-17 and whose main sponsors are Estrella Damm and Andalucía.

The representatives of the institutions and organisations gathered at the Real Club Valderrama, headed by Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, Vice-Minister of Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration of the Junta de Andalucía, made clear the importance of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, a tournament which has been declared an event of exceptional public interest by the Spanish Government, to recover normality, without underestimating, far from it, its nature as an economic, tourist and sporting engine for San Roque, Andalusia and Spain.

In his speech, Simon Alliss, tournament director and representative of the European Tour at the event, referred to the character of the championship as a beacon in the recovery of the longed-for normality after a complicated period.

“It has been a very difficult 18 months but I am confident we are through the worst and that the horizon looks bright. We have had 18 months of behind closed-door events, travel restrictions and borders closing down to battle this terrible virus, but here we are – returning to the beautiful Real Club Valderrama (which I hear is in wonderful condition) and looking forward fairways lined with fans, hearing the noise return and welcoming the World Number 1 golfer Jon Rahm back to Andalucia,” said Alliss.

Pablo Mansilla, president of the Royal Andalusian Golf Federation, wanted to stress the importance of major events to complement the work of dissemination and promotion carried out by the federations, as they serve to bring golf to a much wider audience in an attractive and effective way.

“Big professional events are the best way to promote golf. It is very important to be seen abroad, but also here, where there are still many people who don't know anything about our sport,” said the RFGA president. “In Andalusia we have 48,000 licensed players. In the last two years with the pandemic we have grown by about 3,000 more players, but we want to continue to raise awareness of golf, and for that we need top class events like the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters.”

“This tournament is also very important for our next generation of golfers. Seeing the world’s best players up close will inspire our juniors to follow the steps of Jon Rham. The Andalusian champions in children and junior categories will play the Pro-Am. We have more than 6,000 children's licences and they are the future of Andalusian golf,” finished Mansilla.

Ángel Gavino Criado, Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Sports in San Roque, emphasised the importance of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters and the Real Club Valderrama in the daily reality of a municipality that has seven clubs throughout its geography and is a Spanish and world reference in its relationship with golf.

“The Estrella Damm Andalucía Masters is an excellent way to bring the name of San Roque to thousands of homes. It will give us a wonderful opportunity to put this whole period of restrictions behind by enjoying the world number one and many other champions. The fans are looking forward to coming back, and for us the tournament is a great way of extending the summer season which has been exceptional,” said the Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Sports of San Roque.

Javier Reviriego, General Manager of Real Club Valderrama, emphasised the sporting and organisational strengths of this new edition once the difficulties of the recent past have been overcome, the course's commitment to the environment and the future prospects of the tournament thanks to the new relationship established between the PGA Tour and the European Tour, an alliance that could decisively open the doors of the tournament to the American market.

“Last year we decided to go ahead with the tournament in very difficult circumstances, and we made it despite the restrictions thanks to the loyalty and commitment of the institutions and tournament sponsors. This year we are delighted to see the public come back to Valderrama. Ticket sales are going well and we expect a great atmosphere,” explained Reviriego.

“We will present the course in top condition as usual; the set up will be challenging for the pros but always fair. The main change in recent months has to do with our commitment to more sustainable maintenance. We have replaced grass areas with mulch to save water. We want to maintain the same level of playing quality, but in a more sustainable way in terms of water use, resources and products.”

“We are following with great interest the discussions with the PGA Tour and the European Tour about the possibility of launching a world tour. The best tournaments should be held in the best venues and we also have great institutional and private support, so we remain committed to the tournament's continued growth. We are optimistic and we are fighting for Valderrama to be the venue for this possible world circuit,” emphasized the Real Club Valderrama General Manager.

Finally, and closing the event, Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, representative of the Junta de Andalucía, stressed the importance of golf for Andalusia in different areas, especially now that the health parameters are improving significantly. This region, adding the seventh edition of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, has already hosted 63 European Tour events in its territory, to which other professional tournaments of the Ladies European Tour, Challenge Tour or Alps Tour must be added, and the future Solheim Cup which will take place in 2023 at Finca Cortesín.

“Covid incidence data allow us to be very optimistic for the autumn. The summer season has gone better than expected, so far we have received 20 million tourists and we expect five million more for the month of October. For the first time we have surpassed Catalonia as a tourist destination, and all of this is thanks to the fact that we have been able to convey a message of safety,” explained the Vice-Minister of Tourism of the Andalusian Regional Government.

“Andalusia has long since gone beyond the sun and beach as a tourist attraction, and golf is an essential part of our offer. We have 21% of the courses in Spain, a total of 104 courses, and there are new projects to increase this figure. Golf allows us to deseasonalise tourism, we receive an average of one million people a year just to play golf and we will continue to support this sector,” said Cardenete.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, a European Tour tournament that will be crucial in the outcome of the Race to Dubai 2021, the order of merit of this circuit, will offer the public a great field led by Jon Rahm, current world number one, first Spanish champion of the U.S. Open and star of the European team in the Ryder Cup recently played in Whistling Straits, where he achieved the highest score (3.5 points in five matches) of the continental team.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with options for purchasing individual tickets for each day, four-day passes or weekend passes, with preferential rates for children under 14, federated golfers or people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be purchased from the Tickets menú on the tournament website, at edamgolf.es or at Fever.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain. This tournament is also supported by the Diputación de Cádiz, Exterior Plus, Hero, Rolex y Santander Private Banking. Callaway, Cinco Jotas, Enterprise, Gadira, Kyocera, La Reserva Club Sotogrande, Marca, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, SO/ Sotogrande, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

Jon Rahm, in a practice round at the Real Club Valderrama (credit © Real Club Valderrama)

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The number one spot is the ultimate goal in every sport, the hallmark that secures a place in history. This week’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters will boast a large number of winners from October 14-17.

First of all, world number one Jon Rahm, the first Spanish US Open champion and a stronghold of the European Ryder Cup team, will be the leading player in this Race to Dubai tournament. The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters is the best-endowed of the six European Tour events held in Spain in 2021, and the first golf competition to be recognised by the Spanish Government as an event of exceptional public interest.

Real Club Valderrama has held a record 26 European Tour events on Spanish soil plus the historic1997 Ryder Cup where Seve Ballesteros led Europe to victory against a powerful U.S. team including Tiger Woods. This beautiful and prestigious venue sits also on the number one spot as the best Spanish golf course in the specialized rankings, and the general praise from the players backs up this status. 

Another number one in the field this year is Santiago Tarrío, the undisputed leader of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit with two wins and nine top ten finishes, who has secured his card for the 2022 European Tour.

A quick analysis of this year's field shows a stunning figure: 90 of the 126 participants in the tournament are European Tour winners, 17 of which have won in 2021, starting with Rafa Cabrera Bello, last week’s Open de España champion. Moreover, the tournament features 20 European Ryder Cuppers, 25 among the top 50 players in the 2021 Race to Dubai, and 11 among the top 100 in the World Ranking.

All these factors will no doubt create a wonderful spectacle for the fans this week at Real Club Valderrama in this seventh edition of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, the pinnacle of golf in our country.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with options for purchasing individual tickets for each day, four-day passes or weekend passes, with preferential rates for children under 14, federated golfers or people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be purchased from the Tickets menú on the tournament website, at edamgolf.es or at Fever.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain. This tournament is also supported by the Diputación de Cádiz, Exterior Plus, Hero, Rolex y Santander Private Banking. Callaway, Cinco Jotas, Enterprise, Gadira, Kyocera, La Reserva Club Sotogrande, Marca, Quirónsalud, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, Riversa, SO/ Sotogrande, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

View of Real Club Valderrama’s 9th hole (credit © Getty Images)

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Real Club Valderrama, an essential partner and venue for all the editions of the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters held to date, is a clear example that aesthetics can go hand in hand with competitive demands, a circumstance that is reflected year after year in the scoreboard. In addition, its magnificent presentation has been accompanied for more than 25 years by an impeccable environmental management, certified by international entities of recognized prestige. 

Real Club Valderrama was the first golf course in Europe to obtain the Audubon International certificate of environmental excellence in 1995 and since then it has passed all the annual evaluations that confirm it as a reference in terms of commitment to the natural environment. In addition, the club also obtained the recognized ISO 14001 environmental management certificate in 2008.

Since its inception in 1992, the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) has served to integrate biodiversity stewardship and environmental protection into the implementation of good housekeeping practices at golf courses. The environmental management system is based on the following elements: water conservation, environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, rational reduction in the use of chemicals, reduction in fuel consumption, and outreach and education.

Regarding water, in 2016 the Real Club Valderrama installed one of the most advanced irrigation systems in the world with which it achieved a 19% saving in consumption, but efforts in this area are constant, as Javier Reviriego, general manager of the club, explained. 

"We have finished the construction of a 55,000 cubic metres lake that will collect rainwater and water from drains in the field. We will be able to fill it with rainwater during the winter and use it in the summer, which gives us a good buffer for consumption peaks," Reviriego points out. "Then, in many areas of the field, especially areas that don't come into play under the trees, we have decided to remove the irrigation to stop the grass from growing and replace it with crushed cork oak bark (mulch). Mulching allows us to save a lot of water, products and fertilizers. Technically, it looks very good and does not break up the natural landscape at all, and it has allowed us to cancel almost 400 sprinklers on the field without affecting the game".

In addition to the water collected in the lakes, the irrigation water comes from its own wells approved and validated by the Confederación Hidrográfica del Sur, and the Sotogrande wastewater project is being developed, thanks to which the club will be able to use tertiary treated water from nearby towns to irrigate most of the course. In addition, the implementation of new grass varieties will also help to limit consumption. 

"We are doing many tests with new varieties of grass that tolerate more the lack of water and shade, such as zoysia. These are varieties widely used in the United States in climates similar to ours and we have done a test in the short game area and, if it works, we will implement it in the rest of the course," says the general manager of the Real Club Valderrama.

With respect to wildlife, a team of experts monitors the status of all existing wildlife species at the Real Club Valderrama and takes care of their protection in the various habitats and sanctuaries located on the course, inventorying and tracking them. In addition, the cork oak grove is regularly cleaned and pruned and more than 90% of the shrubs and flowers on the estate belong to plants native to the Mediterranean region. Wildlife habitats containing any endangered species of flora or fauna that are threatened by golfers and maintenance activities have been designated "environmentally sensitive areas" and golfers are not allowed access to them.

On the other hand, the maintenance machinery is equipped with GPS devices that monitor routes and applications to optimize the routes used on a daily basis. With this detailed monitoring, adjustments are made to the operators' routes in order to reduce them and thus limit fuel consumption. In addition, the machinery fleet is being renewed with electric and hybrid devices, another measure aimed at reducing fuel use.

Since the 1980s, Real Club Valderrama has also been a pioneer in the monitored application of organic products for pest control and has progressively reduced the application of chemical products in a controlled manner, reducing their use until their total disappearance. At the same time, work is regularly carried out to improve soil health and advanced practices such as modification of organic content, aeration and improvement of water infiltration are carried out to maintain a living and heterogeneous biotic soil community.

Of course, golfer support for the environmental management program is essential for its long-term success, which is why the staff at Real Club Valderrama is particularly involved in communicating the importance of environmental management at conferences, forums and in the media. Awareness and dissemination of the projects undertaken are essential to avoid clichés and stereotypes and to ensure that the efforts of the club, and the world of golf, are well received by society.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with options for purchasing individual tickets for each day, four-day passes or weekend passes, with preferential rates for children under 14, federated golfers or people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be purchased from the Tickets menú on the tournament website, at edamgolf.es or at Fever.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain. This tournament is also supported by the Diputación de Cádiz, Exterior Plus, Hero, Rolex y Santander Private Banking. Callaway, Cinco Jotas, Enterprise, Gadira, Kyocera, La Reserva Club Sotogrande, Marca, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, SO/ Sotogrande, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

Matt Fitzpatrick in the last Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits (credit © Getty Images)

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Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger will add further star power at this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters as the 2020 Ryder Cup players confirmed they will be teeing it up at Real Club Valderrama from October 14-17.

Fitzpatrick, who played in his second Ryder Cup last month at Whistling Straits, will be returning to Valderrama after his first appearance in 2019, while Wiesberger, the first player to represent Austria on Team Europe, will return after his debut in the event last year.

The pair join World Number One Jon Rahm and fellow Ryder Cup players Thomas Bjørn, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Martin Kaymer in the field at the second of three consecutive events taking place on Spanish soil.

“Valderrama is a great course and I’m looking forward to coming back,” said Fitzpatrick, who won his sixth European Tour title at last year’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. “It’s a tricky layout and you really need to keep the ball in play; it’s a test I think we’re all looking forward to.”

Bernd Wiesberger, first Austrian on Ryder Cup Team Europe (credit © Getty Images)
Bernd Wiesberger, first Austrian on Ryder Cup Team Europe (credit © Getty Images)

Eight-time European Tour winner Wiesberger said: “I really enjoyed playing at Valderrama last year. It’s a course with a lot of history and it’s a fantastic test of golf.

“It has been a great year for me with the win in Denmark and playing in the Ryder Cup. I hope to keep this momentum going and finish the season with some strong performances.”

Two-time Major Champion Kaymer finished runner-up to American John Catlin, who will return to Real Club Valderrama to defend one of three European Tour titles he won in the space of just eight months. After triumphing in Spain, he won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open three weeks later and then won the Austrian Golf Open in April this year.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with options for purchasing individual tickets for each day, four-day passes or weekend passes, with preferential rates for children under 14, federated golfers or people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be purchased from the Tickets menú on the tournament website, at edamgolf.es or at Fever.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain. This tournament is also supported by the Diputación de Cádiz, Exterior Plus, Hero, Rolex y Santander Private Banking. Callaway, Cinco Jotas, Enterprise, Gadira, Kyocera, La Reserva Club Sotogrande, Marca, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, SO/ Sotogrande, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

2021 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters Beach Clean-up poster

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Beyond the results, the champions who have triumphed in the six editions held to date, and the spectacle enjoyed by the fans at the Real Club Valderrama, Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters has always been characterised by its commitment to the environment and local communities. Once again this year, the event, which will take place from October 14-17 on the beautiful Sotogrande course, will be accompanied by various initiatives that enhance its essence, starting with the beach clean-up at Playa de Torreguadiaro next Tuesday from 10 h.

Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters is proud to be part of the European Tour Green Drive, delivering its vision to showcase social and environmental responsibility and deliver net positive impacts in sustainability. In this case, the action scheduled for the morning of October 12th will have an immediate and visible effect, as volunteers will be collecting rubbish and microplastics in this wonderful environment of the San Roque coastline.

Almost 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters every year in the oceans via different means and its presence is extremely harmful for biodiversity since it’s directly contributing towards the reduction and extinction of marine wildlife. The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters team have organised this Beach Clean-Up with a simple goal: to try to collect as much plastic and waste as possible to help keep our beaches and oceans clean and safe for all.

Besides, the volunteers will be helped by local stars Alejandro Cañizares and Santi Tarrío, and will see their efforts and commitment rewarded because the first 200 participants will receive a grounds access ticket for Saturday 16th October at the Estrella Damm Andalucía Masters at Real Club Valderrama. Volunteers just need to show up at the Registration area by the flags on Playa de Torreguadiaro.

Another initiative launched in 2020 by European Tour officials remains in recent memory, the Golf for Good program that raised €100,000 for four local charities, with money pledged for every birdie and eagle made on the iconic 17th hole at Real Club Valderrama. It is also worth mentioning the efforts of the Sergio García Foundation in previous editions to support entities such as the association Por Una Sonrisa, an NGO that brings illusion, happiness and hope to children and adolescents affected by cancer in hospitals in the area.

All these initiatives make it clear that the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters transcends the barriers of sport and strengthens the ties between golf and society.

Tickets are now available for this year’s Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, with options for purchasing individual tickets for each day, four-day passes or weekend passes, with preferential rates for children under 14, federated golfers or people with reduced mobility.

Tickets can be purchased from the Tickets menú on the tournament website, at edamgolf.es or at Fever.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters, an event in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai made possible by the essential contribution of the Real Club Valderrama, is sponsored by Estrella Damm and the Consejería de Turismo, Regeneración, Justicia y Administración Local of the Junta de Andalucía, jointly funded by the EU, declared Event of Exceptional Public Interest by the Government of Spain. This tournament is also supported by the Diputación de Cádiz, Exterior Plus, Hero, Rolex y Santander Private Banking. Callaway, Cinco Jotas, Enterprise, Gadira, Kyocera, La Reserva Club Sotogrande, Marca, the Real Federación Andaluza de Golf, SO/ Sotogrande, Varma and Volvo are official suppliers.

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