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Masters Champion wins the prestigious award for the first time.

He is the second Spaniard to receive the honour after three-time winner Seve Ballesteros.

Garcia won three times in total in 2017 – the most victories by any player.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia, the reigning Masters Champion, has been named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year for 2017, receiving the prestigious annual award for the first time.

Garcia enjoyed a phenomenal 12 months on the global stage, winning three times on the European Tour, including an emotional first Major Championship at Augusta National in April. The 37 year old defeated his Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose in a play-off to become the third Spaniard to claim the famous Green Jacket, following in the footsteps of his compatriots Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal.

Fittingly, Garcia’s triumph came on the day the legendary Ballesteros would have turned 60, and in recognition of his achievements throughout 2017, a panel consisting of members of the golfing media voted him as winner of the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award for 2017, an award Ballesteros won on three occasions – in 1986, 1988 and 1991.

“This is an amazing honour,” said Garcia, whose year of celebration also included marrying his fiancée Angela Akins in July. “I think both on and off the golf course it has been a unique and unbelievable year, and one that I will definitely remember my whole life.

“I am so happy to receive this award, and to be named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year, against the calibre of players that were in contention is incredible. Tommy, Justin, Tyrrell and Jon are all amazing players, and all had unbelievable years themselves.

“With the five of us filling the top five places in the Race to Dubai, it shows the real strength of the European Tour, and European players in particular, and hopefully we will keep that going for next September in Paris.”

Garcia’s 2017 European Tour campaign got off to the perfect start with a wire-to-wire victory in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February – his first European Tour title in three seasons. He finished three shots clear of the 2016 Open Champion and Race to Dubai Number One Henrik Stenson, succeeding Englishman Danny Willett as champion at the Emirates Club.

Remarkably, two months later Willett presented Garcia with the Green Jacket, as the Spaniard became the 26th European Tour member to win a Major Championship, fulfilling the raw potential he showed when finishing runner-up in the US PGA Championship in 1999, the year he won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

In total, it took him 74 attempts to eventually claim the Major Championship his talent so richly deserved, having previously recorded 22 top ten finishes, but it was certainly worth the wait, as he prevailed in an unforgettable battle with Englishman Rose at Augusta National.

The pair shared the lead after the third round and produced a final day which will go down in Masters folklore, trading blow after blow for 18 holes as they carded matching closing rounds of 69.

Having endured his share of heartache across the years, it was finally Garcia’s time, as Rose found the pine straw on the first extra hole and then missed his par effort, before the Spaniard rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt for an emotional victory.

It was Garcia’s 13th European Tour title, but that number was far from unlucky, as he completed an outstanding season when he went on to lift his third title of 2017 on home soil in October with victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, an event hosted by his own Foundation.

Garcia was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour, as well as of Real Club Valderrama, during the tournament week and ended it with the trophy, as he continued his love affair with one of Europe’s top golf courses – by claiming a one stroke victory over Dutchman Joost Luiten after another epic final round duel.

Shrugging off the pressure of hosting his own event and playing on home soil for the first time since his Major breakthrough, Garcia was methodical in all aspects of his game, closing with a final round 67 for a 12 under par total of 272 and his sixth European Tour win in total on Spanish soil.

He finished the year in fourth position in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, with a runner-up finish in the BMW International Open in June and a tie for fourth in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai also contributing to his superb individual season.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Sergio is a wonderful ambassador for our game and an incredible talent, so it was no surprise his victory in the Masters Tournament proved so popular with golf fans around the world.

“That alone was a remarkable achievement, but to also win two other prestigious titles in 2017, including his home tournament at Valderrama, makes it a simply sensational season, and he is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award.”

Panel member Iain Carter, BBC golf correspondent and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, said: “There were brilliant performances throughout the year from European Tour players - most notably from Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose who pushed him so close in such a dramatic end to the season.

“However, Sergio Garcia had the season of his life, which is saying a lot given the glittering nature of his long career. No other player in consideration matched his tally of three wins and, of course, one of those was the Masters. It was a hugely popular triumph.

“Quite simply, all of his rivals would have swapped their results for his in 2017 if they were given the choice. For this reason, the Spaniard is a thoroughly deserving winner of the award, despite the substantial merits of the other leading contenders.”

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The Madrid hospital will allocate the donation of 123,116.39 euros to a project to humanise the X-ray unit in the children's area.

The Sergio García Foundation has donated all the funds raised at the Andalucía Valderrama Masters to Madrid’s Hospital Universitario La Paz to support an interior design project aiming to humanise the X-ray unit in the children's area.

Antonio García, Sergio’s uncle and responsible for the Foundation, presented the cheque to doctors Javier Cobas, Children and Maternal Hospital Deputy Manager; Rafael Pérez-Santamarina, Hospital Manager; María Pilar Moreno Anaya, Central Services Deputy Director; Gonzalo Garzón, Head of Radiology; Esther Rey, Nursing Director; and Eduardo López Collazo, Director of the Research Institute.

The unit will be redesigned into a welcoming, bright and relaxing environment through the choice of appropriate materials, colours and images. In addition to caring for individuals, the project is environmentally friendly, as the improved lighting system will result in a 60 percent saving in power consumption.

“We are all very excited with this project, which is an area of real need. We have invested in equipment recently, but we lack infrastructure, and children must also be separated from adults,”, explained Dr. Cobas.

“The renovation will take about three months since we cannot stop our activity. Our children’s hospital, considered as number one in Europe, is well equipped with 240 beds and receives 9,000 patients per year, as the only hospital that can provide all medical and surgical specialties, allowing all types of pediatric transplants to be performed.”

For Sergio García, “Winning the Andalucía Valderrama Masters was an incredible feeling, I’m still over the moon. It was a great event for many reasons: Valderrama is one of my favourite courses, I played really well and felt confident, kept patient and waited for my chances; Joost (Luiten) played unbelievable and did not make it easy for me, and the support from the spectators was awesome.

“When I was presented with the project of humanising the X-ray unit, I really liked the idea. I am very happy because we have contributed to make a dream come true for the patients and their families, through the event and my Foundation”.

The third edition of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters took place from October 19-22 as Garcia secured his third win in a season where he achieved a career ambition by sealing his maiden Major title at the Masters Tournament.

García set up his charitable foundation in 2002 for the purpose of contributing to the social inclusion of economically-deprived children through social assistance benefits and the practice of sport as free-time activity. The Foundation supports, on a regular or an occasional basis, a large variety of NGOs and humanitarian associations.

Through his foundation, Sergio has been one of the key drivers of Spanish adaptive golf. Together with the Deporte y Desafío Foundation, they conducted 23 adaptive golf clinics throughout Spain attended by more than 700 disabled persons.

The Andalucía Valderrama Masters was sponsored by the Autonomous Government of Andalusia with the support of Rolex, Volvo, Solán de Cabras, Heineken and Osborne.

Video Sergio García Foundation


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Sergio Garcia, the reigning Masters Champion, has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in recognition of his triumph at Augusta National in April.

The 13-time European Tour winner becomes the 53nd player to be added to the exclusive list and is just the third Spaniard to receive the accolade, after Seve Ballesteros (1983) and José María Olazábal (1994).

The 37 year old was presented with the award by European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley during Real Club Valderrama’s President’s Dinner at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, where he entered the weekend in contention for a 14th title.

Garcia sealed his maiden Major Championship title in thrilling fashion in Georgia, overcoming his four-time Ryder Cup team mate Justin Rose on the first play-off hole after they matched each other in the final round with rounds of 69, having shared the third round lead.

His victory was widely celebrated 18 years after he first broke onto the scene as a precocious teenager. He turned professional after being the only amateur to make the cut at the 1999 Masters, and three months later won his first European Tour title at the Irish Open. He then played a starring role at the US PGA Championship in August of that year before making his Ryder Cup debut in September.

Garcia currently has 31 professional victories to his name, including ten on the US PGA Tour and five on the Asian Tour, while he has made eight appearances in The Ryder Cup, contributing to five European victories and racking up a points total of 22.5.

“This is an incredible honour for me,” said Garcia. “To join Seve and José María on the list of Honorary Members for the European Tour is very special and adds to what has already been a life-changing year for me, on and off the course.

“I have always loved playing on the European Tour and I have had so many unforgettable moments there, while there is no more special privilege than representing Europe in The Ryder Cup. I am humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as Seve, José María and the other great players on this list and it is a very special moment for me.”

Keith Pelley said: Keith Pelley said: “It is an absolute privilege to present Sergio Garcia with Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour. The world of golf rejoiced at his Masters triumph in April and this week, where he is the host of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, is the perfect setting to commemorate that victory.”

Garcia was also presented with Honorary Life Membership of Real Club Valderrama by the club’s president Nuno De Brito De Cunha.

Fotos cedidas por Real Club Valderrama

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Sergio Garcia continued his march towards a sixth European Tour victory on home soil after the local hero moved into the outright lead heading into the final day of the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The reigning Masters Champion’s most recent home victory came the last time this tournament was played, in 2011 – also at Valderrama – and he moved one step closer to a third title of the season courtesy of a three under 68 to move to an eight under par total.

The 37 year old tournament host, who was this week awarded with Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour as well as of Real Club Valderrama, was followed by throngs of Spanish fans at the sun-kissed venue and he did not disappoint, starting strongly with birdies at the second and third.

While back to back bogeys pegged him back at the fifth and sixth, Garcia birdied the eighth to reach the turn in one under before further gains at the 11th and 14th, along with a bogey at the 15th, kept him in a share of the lead.

The 13-time European Tour winner had the crowd in raptures, however, on the par five 17th as a two-putt birdie earned him a one-stroke overnight advantage over Englishman Daniel Brooks, who significantly boosted his hopes of retaining his European Tour card for 2018 with a stunning seven under 64 to sit in second place outright.

Sergio García 68(-3) Total -8

“I think it was pretty solid. Got off to a great start with two, almost three, birdies in a row. Then I unfortunately I missed a couple of shots and made a couple of bogeys, but I stayed patient and made a good birdie on 8 and almost a great birdie on 9. On the back nine a couple of good saves and then a couple of nice birdies to finish with.

“I’m pleased with my patience; even on the tough moments I’m staying patient and waiting for my things to happen, and that’s what I want to keep doing.

“I’ll go out there tomorrow and try to post another under par round and see what happens. Brooks today shot 7 under, so good rounds are possible, but they have to be spot on. We know what Valderrama has in hand. I guess the way it’s playing you could go low, but everything has to go your way; you have to be spot on, and the couple of shots you miss you have to get lucky and have guts or have really good lies in the rough – it’s not easy.

“Five wins in Spain would be a great achievement, but it’s still a long day ahead tomorrow and I can’t get too much ahead of myself. I’m excited to be up there, that’s where I want to be and I’ll try to do my best tomorrow.

“To see so many people follow was amazing. You have to give it up to the Spanish people to come out here and support and cheer us on.”

Daniel Brooks: “It’s possibly the best round of my life. There’s a lot of birdies out there and I played some really nice golf. It’s been quite similar all week, but I had a few silly bogeys. Today I managed to keep them off the card and ended up with a minus 7.

“I got to a quick start as I’ve been doing all week, but today I just kept it very steady. I hit a lot of good shots; it’s been like inside like six feet, eight feet all day. I’ve been hitting it a good distance off the tee, giving me a lot of wedge chances and my distance control has been really good, so hopefully I can go on like that.

“On this course you need to play aggressive to get into good positions off the tee, and then it’s a lot easier to attack. I f you play quite conservative it does becomes trickier and longer. This week I’ve been playing quite aggressive, I’ve been attacking pins, I’ve been playing nice golf.

“Around here, the moment you start hitting a few trees your head starts to go all over the place. Today was a lot calmer for me and I kept it in play.  If I shoot anything under par tomorrow I will be quite happy.

“Coming here I knew that I needed a good week and I sort of accepted that I would probably have to go back to Q-School, so it’s a big bonus if I have a great day tomorrow.” 

Fotos cedidas por Real Club Valderrama

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Joost Luiten carded the first ever albatross in tournament play on Real Club Valderrama’s 11th hole to move into the halfway lead at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The Dutchman’s incredible feat - the fifth albatross on the European Tour this year and just the third in tournament play at this venue - was almost made even more remarkable when he came to within inches of finding the cup for a hole-in-one on the following hole.

In the end, Luiten signed for a one under par 70 to move to a six under total, moving a shot clear of Scott Jamieson, Robert Rock and the tournament host Garcia.

The Masters Champion shared the first round lead with Luiten but could not follow up his opening 66 with an under par second round, carding a level par 71 to give the home crowds plenty to shout about at the weekend.

Scotsman Jamieson had three birdies in the space of four holes on the front nine to thank for his impressive three under 68 in breezy conditions on the notoriously challenging course, while Rock boosted his hopes of a third European Tour title with a one under 70.

Joost Luiten

“On 11 I had a good drive at 209 meters to the flag, sitting up nicely on the semi rough. Wind was helping a bit, perfect number for a 4 iron. I hit it good and it pitched a couple of yards on the green and then released, and I heard the crowd go crazy. I couldn’t see it from down there, but we knew it was in. An albatross is always special, and I am pleased to have the first albatross on that hole.

When you are hot you want to keep it going, so I hit a 5 iron straight at the pin on the next hole, and it pitched like 3 feet short and I rolled that in for a birdie, so two twos. That’s what you want; when you are in the zone like that you want to go at flags.

I saved a couple of good pars at 13 and 14; unfortunately I missed on 15 and was a bit unlucky on 17 with the drive ending in a plugged lie in the bunker, but I got lucky today a couple of times so you when you get unlucky you can accept it easier, I guess.

That’s Valderrama, you can make birdies but you can make bogeys just as easy.

I like this place, I’ve been second here, so hopefully we can have a good weekend and we can win and open the champagne Sunday night. But there’s still a lot of golf to be played.

I think the course will play a bit shorter off the tee but a bit harder to keep it on the fairways. It’s still fairly soft, so you can be aggressive into the pins, but you must keep it on the fairway. I think 10 under would be a good number”.

Sergio García

“I think I could have shot 2 or 3 under, but it was tough out there this afternoon; a little breezy, the fairways were firming up, some of the pins were difficult to get to. Because of all the rain the greens in the afternoon got a bit bumpy and I struggled with the speed on some of the putts. At the end of the day, even par is not a bad round here with a bit wind, and we are still there. Two up-and-downs on 17 and 18 to finish with a better feeling, and hopefully we can keep going in that direction tomorrow.

“I could have seen someone finishing 7 or 8 under today, but Valderrama is Valderrama, there’s always some breeze, the greens are very small, the pins are tucked in, and even though the greens are soft, you still have to hit a lot of good shots, and if you don’t, you have a fight. It happened to both Andrew and Shane on the last; they both played beautifully all day and finished with doubles. It is tricky, and that’s why we love this course.

The winning score is difficult to say. I think the course is going to get firmer and tougher as the week goes on; anything between where we are and 8 or 9 under could have a chance, but it depends very much on the weather conditions. 

As for my wrist, I felt a couple of pinches on 13 and 14, so I will ice it and put the anti-inflammation pads, but unfortunately, I guess that it gets worse just by playing”.

Jon Rahm

"It hurts. It was such a special week I wanted to play well, and it’s a shame that one of my three bad weeks this year had to be this one.

I believe the problem has been mainly mental – too much pressure on myself, too big expectations.  I was playing well coming into this week and I was very much looking forward to playing for the Spanish public. I tried too hard on every shot and didn’t allow my swing to flow. Once I got to +3 or +4 I kind of relaxed and started hitting good shots both days.

I put too much responsibility on myself to give a good show instead of playing within myself; but the public has been great to me and I felt their support all along the way.

Such is golf, and it will be over in half an hour. It’s neither the first nor the last missed cut in my career. You can’t play well every time, an this kind of experience is part of the learning curve. Next week is also important and hopefully I will play well. This is not my last visit to Valderrama, and I will be more experienced next time for sure

Valderrama has not been tougher for me than for the rest. The only thing I can say is that I belive the European Tour's decision of no preferred lies on Friday was unfair, because having had preferred lies on Thursday, the course was still wet for the morning groups. I actually got two mud clots on 7 and 17 that affected my shots badly. But those were only two shots, the rest were my own doing.

I don't think the pins were trickier today – all Valderrama pins are difficult."

Fotos cedidas por Real Club Valderrama

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