Real Club Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain
Used recently in 2010 & 2011 Andalucia Masters, 2016 Open de Espana, and 2017 & 2018 Andalucia Masters
7,001 yards – Par 71 – Bentgrass
Fairways and Rough: Bermuda fairways and Bermuda/Rye rough
Architect: Robert Trent Jones (1985)
Location: Southern Spain; 2 miles off the coast of Alboran Sea
Water Hazards: In play on three holes
Style: Tight and tree-lined
Field Scoring: 73.77 (+2.77 RTP)
Notes: Weather delays turned the 2018 edition into a 54-hole event.
Important Interview Quotes
SERGIO GARCIA: Coming back to Spain is always special but to come back to Valderrama, my favourite golf course where I have done so well, it’s really something else.
The course is playing totally different than it has the past few years. There’ll be some scores because it doesn’t look like it’s going to be too windy but I would expect it to be around the five or six under par that usually wins here.
It’s true that I haven’t won this year, but I wouldn’t call it a bad year. I have played some good tournaments, but my sensations have not been consistently good. I am looking to recover my good sensations for the rest of the season, and this week could be the turning point.
Valderrama is a good course for me because I can see the shots, and that helps immensely. When you see many options, doubts start to creep in. I have always felt comfortable on this course because I see the shots clearly. Every course is different ant that’s the beauty of golf. Some courses where others play well can be less clear for me; it’s a very personal matter.
I believe the winning score this week could be somewhere between -4 and -8. The course is in great shape, and you need really good shots to get the ball close. -2019
JON RAHM: I think I might have caught a little cold. The only thing that makes it worse is the jetlag, you’re already struggling with some jetlag and it’s hard to stay up, congestion, just tiredness and body aches in general. It’s nothing I haven’t played with before.
I played today and I played really good, my swing was feeling good, it’s just dealing with it more than anything else. It’s not too bad, nothing that should stop me from playing good. I’ll never make that excuse. -2019
JON RAHM: I would love to take a small revenge from last time and play nicely this week. Last time I took the wrong strategy. I faced Valderrama as a U.S. course and started hitting drives everywhere. I know now that the key for me here is to make the right decisions off the tee, and also, you don ?t need to hit it long, you just need to put the ball on the right spot to approach the green.
The main issue for me at Valderrama is from tee to green, I need a more passive strategy off the tee.It’s quite similar to what I did at Pebble Beach: I only hit five drives and many irons off the tee, the greens are small and the rough was high, so having performed well at Pebble will help this week.
And also, I need to be more patient. Ian Poulter gave me the best advice when he said that historically four par rounds is top ten at Valderrama.
The players are hitting it longer every day, and it’s a big advantage. Instead of fighting distance with more distance like they do in the U.S., thank God we have courses like this one that leave the driver out. The big issue is not technology–limiting the ball nor the equipment–but having tight courses like this one where the driver is limited. Here, for instance, you can only use it on 4, on 7, maybe on 9, on 11, maybe on 13, and on 17. So, on a maximum of six holes – I love to play on this type of course. -2019
ANDREA PAVAN: My caddie knows this course very well, he’s caddied here lots of times. He caddied for Rocca against Tiger Woods in the singles match at The Ryder Cup in 1997. He’s been here a lot of times so it’ll be a nice help to have him on the bag.
It’s a tough course for everyone and it really seems to reward good iron play which is my strength so I’m looking forward to keeping the form going. -2019
SERGIO GARCIA: I love the way this course plays, I love how tough it is even though it’s not a long golf course. It’s just testing you and every part of your game, which is always good fun. There are courses that I love playing and Valderrama is one of the favourites so I love playing here. -2018
ASHLEY CHESTERS: This is not a long-hitters course and I’m not one of those, so it does suit my game because you just put it into position off the tee and the greens are tight – the greens are great as well. -2018
JASON SCRIVENER: I love the course; it’s probably one of my top three favourite courses all year. It’s very similar to the course I grew up on and it kind of suits my game because I’m not the longest hitter but I’m fairly straight and plot my way round; so it suits the way I play. -2018
RICHIE RAMSAY: I just went out to really enjoy the golf course. We’re really fortunate to be able to come to such a fantastic place. You see the way the tees are, the fairways, greens. Even though we’ve had a significant amount of rain, it’s in absolutely fantastic condition. For me it’s a joy to play and it plays to my strengths.
I was very good from about ten feet. Being second out the greens are much purer. If you can pick the right line and good speed you can make a lot of putts, but on the same side if you get high of the hole it’s really tough because the greens coming down are really rapid. It was one of the first times this season when the best club in the bag was the putter.
The last time I had the opportunity to play here I had China after and as much as I love coming to Valderrama it’s very difficult to get from Spain to China with the time difference. So although I didn’t come last time it’s a place that I love and I would be more than happy if we played here every week. -2018
SERGIO GARCIA: I love how this course plays; it’s not a long golf course but you have to be very accurate; unfortunately a lot of the courses we play nowadays it’s just grab your driver, hit it as hard as you can and that’s it. The beautiful thing about this golf course is that you have to think your way around; you pretty much play every club in your bag. It’s just small greens, small targets; if your game is on you can give yourself a lot of birdie chances, but if you struggle you’re going to have tricky chips, so it’s a perfect course to test your whole game. -2018
ALVARO QUIROS: The truth is that this golf course, as everybody knows, doesn’t fit to the long hitters – except to Sergio in the past – but I practice here because I consider this golf course to be a great challenge every day.
I’m not used to practising in these conditions, we don’t have these conditions often – thank you god. The greens normally are drier, a bit quicker, but it’s a great test always. -2018
GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO: I’m a member here, but you very rarely play this course in these soft conditions. I was hoping for Valderrama playing at it’s best, and by that I mean when it’s firm, fast, windy. We had none of that this week. -2018
SHANE LOWRY: I always feel a lot more comfortable when I come back and play in Europe. I’ve found it somewhat hard to go over and play in America and spend my time over there, but it’s what I wanted to do and I have no regrets. It’s nice to be back here for a while and nice to throw in a few good finishes as well to move up the Race to Dubai and the World Rankings.
It was a long week but the golf course was great, it held up. It was in super condition considering the amount of rain we had. This is one of my favourite golf courses in the world, so when there’s a tournament here I’ll always be back. -2018
GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO: If I had to choose a tournament to keep my card it’s probably this one. It doesn’t particularly suit my game, but it’s a course I know very well, and also I knew the scoring would not be extremely low. I like courses where pars are good, and that’s what Valderrama is about. -2018
MARTIN KAYMER: I really enjoy playing Valderrama. You have to enjoy playing this kind of golf course. It doesn’t really let you breathe, every single shot is very important and you have to place the ball so well. It’s one of those ones where you have to be really focussed from the first to last shot. I really enjoy that because it’s not a putting competition or a birdie fest, you really have to play well. -2017
JAMIE DONALDSON: It’s one of the most difficult golf courses we play to find the fairway and I did that most of the time, which is great. You have to drive it really well around here so I’m really happy with it. It’s very playable when you start knocking it down the middle of every fairway.
As soon as you’re missing fairways, you don’t have to miss them by much and you’re behind a tree, or sometimes you’re even behind a tree in the middle of a fairway, so you have to hit certain sides. It’s a very difficult golf course, it’s a bit like playing chess out there, you just have to aim at your target and hope it goes there. -2017