Golfers comment on the Valderrama Golf Course
What the players said before the Andalucia Masters 2021
Jon Rahm (ESP) It’s extremely difficult (Valderrama). It’s a golf course where, on a perfect day, 80 degrees no wind, if you shoot under par it’s a good score. When the wind gets going, it’s a challenge. It’s not a long golf course. You don’t have to hit it hard off the tee, but you do need to put the ball in play. Every shot is going to make you think about what you’re doing. Every time there’s an event here, whoever wins was truly the best player that week. There’s nowhere to hide. You have to be the best. There’s no luck involved here. You go into the trees, you struggle, if you’re in the fairway, you have a chance. You can’t hide. It’s a historic venue for Spanish players. I’ve mentioned numerous times how my family started playing golf because of the Ryder Cup here in 1997. Sergio has done a great job out here and many other Spanish players have played great and been able to win here. It would be an honour to add my name to the list. There’s a lot of tradition here. It’s a traditional golf course – Spanish style, narrow and short. Historic reasons and nostalgia make me want to win out here. And it’s a challenge. You have to be the best to win out here.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) It’s an amazing golf course. It’s almost like the Augusta of Europe. It is one of the most intimidating, if not the most intimidating golf course I’ve ever played. Shots, don’t need to be good, they need to be perfect. Or as close to perfect as you can produce, because the margin between a great shot and a bad one is very, very narrow. You have to be on top of your game. Whoever wins this week gains a lot of respect from players because we know how difficult a test this is. You can’t get lucky around this course. You have to play great. All Spaniards, or my generation, we watched this course on TV. The Ryder Cup, Volvo Masters, American Express. We’ve seen stories of the best shots ever hit, like Miguel Jimenez’s albatross on 17, and we’ve seen complete meltdowns and shocking results – almost on 17 – by Tiger, for example. It’s a course that until you pick up the ball on the 18th green, there’s nothing guaranteed. It would mean a lot. There have been a lot of Spanish players who have had success here – my friend Sergio loves this place more than anyone else. I think this place was built for him, because he’s done really well here. It would be really cool to join that legacy.
The first time I played here I was twelve years old, I came to the finals of the juvenile ranking and for me it was like reaching the most beautiful garden I had ever seen in my life. Throughout my adolescence it was a dream to play the Volvo Masters, which was the most important tournament of the year. This is a course that suits my game well, it is not long, you have to go very straight, the second shots to the green are key, you have to know where you can go wrong and have a good short game. The only thing I have not been able to do so far is to play with ease, without worrying so much about the negative consequences of not hitting a good shot, but rather believing that it will be a good shot. I think that may change this week.
John Catlin (USA) This was a special win for me last year being my first win out here in Europe, especially on a golf course like this. It's a spectacular place to come back to, the memories start coming back, each hole I think about some of the shots that I've hit and it definitely makes me smile so I'm looking forward to a great week. It was a battle, Martin and I were kind of in a boxing match. It felt like it was one punch this way and a counter punch back that way and it just happened that I was up after the 18th hole - if we had to keep going it might have flip-flopped. I was very proud of the way I handled that boxing match. I just kept going and kept trying to dish out as many punches as I could. I always knew I could win. I had won quite a few times before but the European Tour is a whole other level and it definitely gave me a lot of confidence, especially on a golf course like this. It was playing very challenging and you had to hit high quality golf shots just to give yourself any kind of a chance at a birdie so it definitely gave me a lot of confidence. There might be a few days where it gets up out of the east like it did last year. There's a few days it seemed much calmer so we kind of got half and half which should make it a little easier. The course is a little softer than it was last year but that can change - the wind gets up tomorrow like it's supposed to and they don't water the greens and all of a sudden we get to Friday and Saturday and it could be very similar.It'll be interesting to see how it all plays but I would say the golf course, other than being soft, is about like it was last year so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. This is very, very cool. I would say it's definitely a happy thing. I'm really, really excited to be here, especially this being my first win, it's just always going to be a special place to come back to. I'm looking forward to the week.
Martin Kaymer (GER) Valderrama is a very special place for many reasons. Obviously it's a very iconic golf course on the European Tour and in general in Europe. I played the pro-am earlier with the president of the golf club and he told me a little bit about the changes they are planning to do in the future. It's a golf course I have always played really well, I enjoy the environment, the condition of the golf course is always fantastic. A lot of Germans, they come here to support me as well so overall it's a great venue. In general that had not much to do with the opponent that I played against. I made three double bogeys that week and I was still in a position to win the golf tournament so that tells me that I played the golf course really well, that I need to avoid those mistakes. Other than that I don't think I need to change much. I was more focusing on the putting last week. My wrist was hurting a little bit after the Dunhill week, when you squeeze the ball so much in those windy conditions certain things they hurt a little bit by the end of the week, so I wanted to rest because this week is a very important week for me. I've been coming here since 2007 and I remember the first week I played here - I was walking the golf course with a trolley because I didn't have a caddie at that time - and when I played the 18 holes and with the history of that place, my heart told me that you want to win there one day. I came close a couple of times and I will be fighting every year to get that win because it is a golf course and a venue where you would like to put your name on the trophy.
What the players said about Valderrama Masters 2017
Sergio García: "Each hole in Valderrama has its own attraction and I like them all, because they force you to keep thinking and stay focused from the first to the last shot. It is a very demanding course that doesn't give you any breaks. You need to put the ball in the right places and keep the errors to the minimum, but you are bound to make errors, so patience is key at Valderrama. You must respect this course or it will turn against you at any moment. One of the things I like most is that it allows you to use all the clubs in the bag."
Jon Rahm: "Valderrama is the dream course to make my professional debut in Spain, mainly because of its significance for Spanish and European golf. It has a huge history, and Patiño did a great job at creating one of the best golf courses in the world. I couldn't think of anything more special than making my first appearance in front of the Spanish public at an Andalucía Valderrama Masters. I've been dreaming for ages for this moment and hope to give a good show."
José María Olazábal: "Without being long, Valderrama is one of the most demanding courses in the world; technical and narrow with small greens. You must keep perfectly focused from the first tee shot to the last putt. I know no other course that doesn't allow for a moment of relaxation in 18 holes. It's a great golf course and always in top condition."
Pablo Larrazábal: "Valderrama is the best course I have ever played. It's very demanding off the tee and into the greens. I haven't scored well lately, but my game is in good shape, so maybe coming here will give me the motivation I need to do things well. The course is not set up as difficult as last year, but the greens are as small as ever and you need to strike the ball really well if you want to score".
Álvaro Quirós: "Valderrama is not long, but you need to put the ball in the right spot on every single shot. It's no good to put it within ten yards; you must put it exactly where the course demands.
Obviously, this is not my style of play, but I like to practice there because it tests my patience and pushes me mentally to the limit. It is great practice, and I am very grateful to be able to practice on a course to be proud of."
Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño: "I love Valderrama, it's my second home. I have spent many summers here and I have many good friends. It's a pleasure to return to one of the best courses in Europe, or even in the world. I look forward to performing well this week. Although my results are not yet as good as I would like, I feel that I am getting closer. I would love to up there on Sunday. I have always dreamt of winning a European Tour event, or at least to challenge for the title - hopefully this will be the week."
Alejandro Cañizares: "I practice here when I am at home, so I know the course well and I love it. I have few expectations, I just want to play my own game and do my best. I feel more confident and I am playing better, so why not? a good week here would be a great help. I'll be at home, and I will have my family there, my friends will come and It's going to be a lot of fun. If the wind blows as usual it will be tricky, but I want to enjoy my week."
"I think Valderrama is an excelent golf course that suits my game. Also I have watched it so many times on television especially when the Volvo Masters was on the air and especially when the Ryder Cup was on the air. Coming in, I played just one practice round and was very comfortable on the golf course.
"It has been rather complicated day with the wind. I think to finish a day like this on this course with just one bogey (7th) to me, it means a lot. I only made two bridies, but going out today with just one bogey at Valderrama. Few times, I leave the course saying I could have had a lower score, with the wind as it is, to be below par it Valderrama, it's always a good thing."
"I've obviously found Valderrama tough over the years, as a lot of people do. It's a tough course. It's a course that should suit me. It has very good greens. I realy like the greens here. I like the type of puts you get on the greens here. I probably see the difficulty that is hitting the fairways out here in the crosswinds, very narrow fairways, and some of the doglegs obviously have various wind on them at times so it can be very hard to get in the fairway."
Padraig Harrington (27/10/2004)
"It's a very precise golf course. You have to hit it in the fairway, and your misses are very - they're just compounded. I mean, if you hit one off-line, you're usually penalized quite a bit for them. I think the player that is precise will usually do pretty well here. I like the golf course - great greens"
Mike Weir (12/11/2000)
"There are so many different shots to be hit. Every tee you stand on, there's a certain way, depending on the player you are or the situation you're in, to playing the hole. Every hole has a best way of playing it, whether you're 5-over or 5-under. Actually, this course, with the wind directions and stuff, it does change. So it's a very interesting course to play. Depending on the wind direction, there are usually on a golf course, as I was saying, there are sort of ways of playing a hole. Here, there isn't, because the wind direction suggests you can do one or another. I like playing chess around the course, and I enjoy the challenge of it. Every hole has its own potential disasters and own challenges."
Colin Montgomerie (08/11/00)
"The 2nd hole, for instance, today, I was practicing this morning. You go -- you can hit a driver down the left, 2-iron up the right, 3-wood in the middle. Because now they push the tee back 25 yards on the 2nd, that tree really comes into play now. There's a different way of playing the hole than there was normally. So it doesn't mean it's a par 4. It's a driver, which I don't like anyway."
Colin Montgomerie (08/11/00)
"The eleventh tee shot, you just cant keep the ball on the fairway there."
Nick Price (10/11/2000)
"I think it is a great hole. It's a hole that gives you a lot of different chances, different options. You mainly depend on the wind. If there is no wind into you you can miss the green. You are going to be hitting long irons or 3-woods into the green but you can definitely get to it. If you play into, whith a bit of strong wind you have no chance. It's just a lay-up and a difficult third. Although you are hitting a short club it is a difficult third shot."
Sergio Garcia (27/10/2004)
"I think you should just start all over again. I've made pars on that hole and a couple of birdies. I haven't made any eights or nines, so I am not talking sour grapes here like Tiger and some of those other guys should be. But that is probably the worst green I have ever seen in my life; there is no doubt about it."
Nick Price (10/11/2000)
"A very dificult hole. Controversial hole, I guess, but it adds to the flavour of this Golf Course."
Mike Wier (12/11/2000)
"Every ball I have hit in the water there, have been good shots. It is just indicative of the hole and unfortunately if you just walk around the bank, look how many balls are in the water!"
Tiger Woods (12/11/2000)
"I still haven't figured out how to play that. I don't think many people know how to play that hole. All I know is there are fewer trees on the left side of the fairway than on the right side, and I am aiming down that left rough every day."
Nick Price (10/11/2000)