Finally, on 20 November, the rumours were confirmed: Royal Valderrama Club will host an event on the 2023 LIV Golf circuit. Together with the renowned Spanish course, LIV Golf also announced two other new international venues for next year’s season: El Camaleón Mayakoba (Mexico) and Sentosa Golf Club (Singapore). These three joined the previously unveiled The Grange Golf Club in Australia (21-23 April) as the venues for four of the 14 tournaments that will bring together many of the sport's greatest names as part of the innovative LIV Golf circuit.
Later, the circuit announced three new tournaments in the United States: at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson (Arizona), Cedar Ridge Country Club in Tulsa (Oklahoma) and The Old White at The Greenbrier (West Virginia).
In addition, five venues from the 2022 schedule are set to return this season, according to the Golf Magic website: Boston (The International), London (Centurion Club), Bedminster (Trump National), Chicago (Rich Harvest Farms) and Miami, with the teams grand finale at Trump National Doral. Other expected but not yet confirmed venues are in Florida and Washington.
The tournament at the Sotogrande club will be held from 30 June to 2 July, and it will be the first of five editions that LIV Golf and Royal Valderrama have agreed to hold over the next five years.
Valderrama will be a key part of the world calendar of 14 tournaments and will be the only venue in continental Europe. The prizemoney for the event will be €25 million, and the prize fund for the 2023 circuit is expected to exceed €400 million.
The roster of players will be full of major winners such as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio García, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Henrik Stenson, Bryson DeChambeau, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen, as well as emerging golf stars such as Eugenio López-Chacarra, Joaquín Niemann and Abraham Ancer, among others.
The LIV Golf circuit will showcase its innovative format, in which an individual and a team competition are played simultaneously. The full schedule of the 2023 circuit is due to be announced in the coming weeks, although it is expected to begin in February and culminate with a team grand finale in September.
The general manager of the 1997 Ryder Cup host club, Javier Reviriego, said, “Royal Valderrama Club has a rich history of hosting extraordinary golf tournaments, and we are excited to initiate this new partnership with LIV Golf. The quality of players that will compete at Valderrama will no doubt attract many European fans that are eager to see some of the best golfers in the world. We will ensure that the golf course is presented in top condition and that it represents a true challenge, where precision and strategy will play a key role. There is no doubt that the five LIV Golf events that we will be hosting in the coming years will further position Andalucía as one of the top golf destinations in the world.”
For his part, LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman said, “LIV Golf is truly a global league dedicated to expanding the sport throughout the world, and these destinations for the league’s 2023 launch showcase our commitment to tournament play at the highest level. These venues have played host to signature moments in golf, and we’re excited to build new traditions for the sport while delivering a first-class fan experience at some of the world’s best courses.”
Tickets for these events are now available at LIVGolf.com, including special “Early Birdie” pricing for single-day passes and three-day passes, as well as opportunities to register for hospitality packages. Fans are encouraged to secure tickets now for LIV Golf’s festival-style three-day tournaments that feature shotgun starts, individual and team competitions, live music and fan activities for all ages.
Consistently ranked as the number one course in Europe since the late 1980s, Valderrama has played host to some of golf’s biggest events. Site of the thrilling 32nd Ryder Cup won by Europe in 1997, the course has also hosted two editions of the World Golf Championships (1999 and 2000), the long-running Volvo Masters (1988-2009), and in recent years the Andalucía Masters, one of the most prestigious tournaments in Spain.
Northern Ireland’s McDowell (2010), Spanish legend Garcia (2011, 2017 and 2018) and Adrián Otaegui (2022) – all three LIV Golf players – have been victorious at Valderrama, widely recognised as the “Augusta of Europe” for its championship pedigree and immaculate maintenance. Locals will also welcome 22-year-old Spanish prodigy Eugenio Chacarra, winner of the LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok and former world number two amateur.
Sergio García's Role
Sergio Garcia made an important contribution to Royal Valderrama Club becoming an LIV Golf venue. "They asked me what I thought of the Valderrama option and I told them, if that possibility existed, I would go for it," he said during a video-conference with Spanish journalists that also involved Eugenio López Chacarra, his colleague in LIV Golf’s Fireballs team. "For me,” said García, it is the best course in the world and, at the very least, the best course in continental Europe."
He also highlighted the line-up of great players who will be competing on the same golfing stage as the historic 1997 Ryder Cup. "Valderrama deserves a field like the one it is going to have," he said, citing – among others – Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson.
"Since the American Express (World Golf Championship) in 2000," he said, "they have not had such a field”, adding that Valderrama "has deserved this for a long time".
Garcia did not shy away from criticising the DP World Tour (the new name for the European Tour). "They have spent all this time saying that great players were going to come and, no matter what happened, in the end nobody did. It's a pity. The European Tour has not been able to take advantage of Valderrama and we will take advantage of it. Let the people enjoy it – they deserve it.”
Referring further to the DP World Tour, he said, "They have promised many things that ultimately they have not given them. In the end there came a time when Valderrama saw a different option, which has enabled it to secure several players who will make a significant contribution, something the Tour never did, even though I was going to play, and Jon Rahm from time to time. There were only three or four players of a high standing, and Valderrama, because of its history, deserves more."
López Chacarra agreed with his LIV Golf teammate in praising the quality of Valderrama, which he described as the best course in Spain. "For me," he said, "playing in front of the Spanish public is going to be very important. I already have it marked on the calendar. It will be a very enjoyable week.”
He also spoke about his good relationship with García. "He helps me in every aspect he can, in everything he can, not only golf. Hopefully we can both do a great job at Valderrama and, if it goes well for the team, I don't mind letting Sergio win that week."