“Our objective is that each year the tournament will become established as one of the best on the Tour”
If there is anyone in Andalucía who knows what is involved in managing a major international professional tournament at their course, that person is undoubtedly Javier Reviriego. The Royal Valderrama Club general manager had first-hand experience of the World Match Play Championship during his time at the helm of Finca Cortesín and now, in his current professional position, has similar inside knowledge of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters and Spanish Open. A business graduate from the University of Florida with a masters degree specialising in golf course management, Reviriego is excited about this new challenge.
- What does it mean for Royal Valderrama to once again host a major tournament like the Andalucía Valderrama Masters?
- For us it means a return to what Valderrama has always been, a venue for major professional tournaments, and we’re very pleased. The agreement we reached with the Andalucian ministry for tourism and sport and the European Tour is for five years and our objective is that each year the tournament will become established as one of the best on the Tour – and we actually have all the ingredients to achieve that. We have a magnificent date, a great co-host in Sergio (García) and the ministry supporting the event and, of course, Valderrama.
- Will the date, in mid-October, be the same during the five years?
- The European Tour schedule is decided each year, but our intention is that it will always be in October.
- What advantages are there for the tournament being held on this date when it comes to attracting top players?
- It’s really good for two reasons: on the one hand, there are players trying to qualify for Dubai (European Tour end-of-season World Tour Championship), and others hoping to retain their cards, and the US PGA Tour will have concluded, so more players competing over there will be available. We’re very pleased with the date.
- Will there be any initiatives out on the course for this new era of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters?
- We are just about to complete our investment plan. The design hasn’t changed since the Volvo Masters, but there have been improvements related to the course’s agronomy. We’ve undertaken a major investment to improve the irrigation, to improve the bunkers, to improve the tees, to improve the greens and approach areas, and all of that during a month, October, which is great for the course, a very good date, so I’m convinced we will showcase the course in a magnificent state.
- The presence of top-level players depends on various factors, including the prizemoney…
- Well, it depends on many things. For example, that a player likes the course, and obviously here we have an advantage. It depends on his schedule fitting in with the date, that it doesn’t coincide with other events, and of course the prizemoney. Then we are fortunate to have Sergio, who is supporting the tournament and I’m sure will be able to convince some of his friends to come here and play.
- The amount of prizemoney has not been revealed, but floating in the air is the hope that the tournament will one day or another be a part of the European Tour’s Rolex Series – that is, offering more money…
- To be part of the Rolex Series, the prizemoney has to be a minimum of €7 million. The objective that we share with the European Tour is to eventually become a Rolex Series event, because that’s what they’ve told us and we are working in that direction. Our goal is to be a part of the Rolex Series.
- How did negotiations with the Junta de Andalucía (regional government) proceed: easy or difficult?
- The first meeting I had with the minister (for tourism and sport), in March to present the Spanish Open, was very good. I outlined the project Valderrama had in mind and I have to say he embraced it perfectly. He gave me his word that he would do everything possible to support the event, and he fulfilled that promise. So for me, bravo to the minister because he has an excellent vision of what tourist promotion is all about, he knows perfectly what impact golf has on Andalucian tourism, especially on the Costa del Sol, and I believe the fact that he has made a commitment to support the Andalucía Valderrama Masters is a clear sign that the government backs the sport and golf tourism.