Andalucia Valderrama Masters Preview
The Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation takes place this week on the European Tour.
The event is back on the Tour schedule for the first time since 2011 when Garcia prevailed by one shot over his compatriot Miguel Angel Jiménez. In 2012 it was cancelled due to cost-cutting measures by local government and this week we will thankfully see the five-year hiatus come to an end.
Let's take a look at what this week in the Costa del Sol has in store for us.
Course: Valderrama Golf Club
Yardage: 6,990 yards
Valderrama is a golf course often viewed as the jewel in the crown of Spanish golf and one of the best on the whole of Continental Europe.
Designed in 1974 to the plans laid down by the highly esteemed architect Robert Trent Jones, this week's venue played host to the 1997 Ryder Cup when a Seve Ballesteros-led European side prevailed by one point over the Americans to retain the trophy for the first time since 1989.
Catch the best highlights from the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama below:More recently it has played host to the now-defunct Volvo Masters and last year's Open de Espana.
You can catch our recent course history review of Valderrama right here.
Despite not having the same Rolex Series status as last week's Italian Open, this week's event boasts some stellar names amongst its competing field.
2016 Open De Espana winner Andrew Johnston - better known to us all as 'Beef' - returns to the site of his only professional win to date and he will compete against the last two Masters champions in Garcia and Danny Willet, as well as the young Spanish prodigy Jon Rahm.
The 2017 Farmers Insurance and Irish Open winner will be playing in his first tournament on Spanish soil since turning professional in 2016 and has been speaking of his excitement to be teeing it up this week at Valderrama Golf Club.
Garcia and Rahm help make up a 17-strong Spanish contingent in this week's starting field.
Who wins it?
The fact that in-form Englishman Tyrrell Hatton has decided to give the Andalucia Valderrama Masters a miss this week puts the brakes on the possible hat-trick of victories which few would have otherwise ruled out.
So who do we think could be in with a chance of a win this week in sunny Spain? Let's look at a few worth considering:
Worthy Favourite: Jon Rahm
Not much of an explanation needed here. Rahm is quickly becoming one of the hottest properties on both sides of the Atlantic and will come to the Costa del Sol brimming with confidence that he can pick up a third win of the season.
Slightly favoured over Garcia to be the top Spaniard of the week and this could well be enough to get it done.
Remember how Rahm grabbed a first professional win at Torrey Pines earlier in the year? Catch a memory jog below:Don't rule out: Joost Luiten
Despite being there or thereabouts on a few occasions this season on the European Tour, Luiten is without a win since September 2016 when he prevailed at the KLM Open in his native Netherlands.
The current world number 102 has been sliding in the rankings but, if he can put four rounds together, should be in with a good chance this week.
Worth a mention: Austin Connelly
A second place at the KLM Open in September and a few other finishes in the top ten this season seem to suggest that a first professional win could come in the not too distant future for the young Canadian.
Also finished T-14 at Royal Birkdale in July after having secured a place at the 147th Open Championship in final qualifying.
Who is your Andalucia Valderrama Masters champion? Let us know below.
Dreaming of a round of golf in the beautiful Costa del Sol?