After all the excitement of the British Masters the European Tour moves on to Spain to play its final rounds on European soil for they year. And what a perfect way to end home soil events by hosting this tournament at one of the very best around.
The Andalucia Valderrama Masters will take part for only the 4th time and the 2nd time since 2011. However this tournament venue has hosted many events throughout recent years and any tournament played on this amazing course is one to look forward to and enjoy.
Home to the Volvo Masters (1988-96 and 2002-2008), the Ryder Cup (1997), the World Golf Championships (1999-2000), the Andalucía Masters (2010-2011 and 2017) and Open de España (2016). - Valderrama surpasses its reputation as Europe's number one course.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones and lovingly maintained by founder and original owner Jaime Ortiz Patiño for many years, this is one of the continent's toughest challenges.
This has to be one of my favourite courses, stunning to look at, clever in design and simply awesome to play. Measuring just 6,991 yards and with a par of 71 this extremely tough layout will test the patience of the participants this week.
Narrow, intimidating tee shots to sloping fairways lined by cork trees that are further guarded by intelligent bunkering and lush rough, small targets to aim at and once on the dance floor the quick and undulating greens will further frustrate.
The green speed is anticipated to be at 11ft 6" during tournament play, might be a little quicker come Thursday, they like them to be slick and quick here..
3 water hazards come in to play during the round, these feature on holes 4, 10 and 17 and bring in a little risk/reward for 2 of its 3 par 5's.
Key Stats and Strategy
Accuracy off the tee and into the green will be the main advantage any player could ask for on this course.
Its fair to assume scoring will be similar to last year. Bogey avoidance will be key as there wont be tonnes of birdies on offer and in order to stand a chance this week of picking up a healthy return in gpp, players positioning will be crucial.
Something around -10 on Sunday is my prediction of a winning total.
Measuring just under 7,000 yards this course doesn't require a bomber to score well. Getting the ball in position and hitting your targets are crucial and when the odd error creeps in that get out of jail card of a special short game will pay huge dividends.
The greens here are pure but extremely tricky, quicker than most events on tour and awkwardly undulating. Great skills with putter in hand and a vast amount of experience on these greens will be something I weight relatively highly.
Course form and course knowledge is a huge benefit, knowing the lines and knowing you can play this course well eases the pressure in a big way. This is obvious to see when looking at the history of events played on this course and taking into account how intimidating some of the shots can be.
Not all the big names will feature in this event but it has a fantastic level of support from its home nation players including one of the very best they have to offer in Garcia. With many of the other household names taking some time off and getting ready for the WGC event and next Rolex series event others are presented with an extremely valuable opportunity to retain their playing rights for next year.
Sergio Garcia $11,700
$9,000 - $10,000
Robert Rock $9,500
Joost Luiten $9,300
$8,000 - $9,000
Pablo Larrazabal $8,700
Matthew Southgate $8,600
Richard Sterne $8,500
$7,000 - $8,000
Ashley Chesters $7,900
Edoardo Molinari $7,800
Richie Ramsay $7,700
Nino Bertasio $7,000
$7,000 or less
Richard Bland $6,800
Phachara Khongwatmai $6,600
Matteo Manassero $6,500
Well Ladies and Gents all though its not the last event of the European Tour season just, however next week I'll be on a break whilst the best golfers from both sides of the pond come together to compete in the WGC event in China and then I'll be back to cover the last 3 Rolex Series events of the season including the season closer DP World Tour Champs in Dubai.
As always feel free to fire those questions across to me on Twitter @AshleyMorrisson. Hope you all have a great fantastic end to the week, all hopefully signed off with some lovely green screens and healthier DK balances