Season Finale Set for Spain


The European Tour wraps up its 2004 campaign with the playing of the Volvo Masters Andalucia at the Club de Golf Valderrama in Spain.
Twenty-three of the top 25 on the tour's Order of Merit, as well as an impressive list of former champions, will tee it up in the season-ending event in Sotogrande.
Missing out on the action are world No. 2 Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who are ranked first and second on the money list. Both players remained in the United States to prepare for the PGA Tour Championship next week in Atlanta.
No matter, however, as continental Europe is well represented with the likes of Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and possible player of the year Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The young guns on tour will also be on hand as Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Trevor Immelman will tee it up in hopes of cashing in on one of the biggest purses on the tour's schedule.
Each will be trying to put his stamp on the year and none more so than Spain's own Jimenez. The 40-year-old has played some of the best golf of his career in amassing four victories on the year to go along with another 6 top-10s in just 25 starts. He won this championship in 1999.
Others in the field with at least two victories are Harrington, Donald and Immelman. All three would like one more win to be able to throw their hats into the ring for player of the year honors.
Curiously, both Clarke and Westwood, who rank 7th and 8th on the money list respectively, have yet to chalk up a win on their home tour this season. The pair have both won this event in the past, Westwood in 1997 and Clarke in 1998. In jeopardy is Clarke's current streak of winning at least one event in six straight seasons.
Westwood went two years without a win before coming back from the golfing abyss to notch a couple of victories last year. He just missed out two weeks ago by finishing second to Ernie Els at the HSBC World Match Play Championship. He currently has 17 European Tour wins.
Garcia, who has only played in 10 events thus far in 2004, is coming off a big, personal win by claiming the Mallorca Classic in Spain. It was his first win ever on his home soil.
One name to watch out for who is still in search of his first-ever European Tour victory is Raphael Jacquelin. The 30-year-old Frenchman has seven top-5 finishes in 2004, including two runner-up showings and a pair of third-place finishes. He placed fourth in this past week's Open de Madrid.
His fellow countryman Thomas Levet, however, did him one better, producing not only a pair of runner-up and third place finishes, but also winning the Barclays Scottish Open. It was Levet's third career win.
A record purse of $4,118,130 is on the table with $686,350 going to the winner.
Played since 1988, Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer are the only players to have won the Volvo Masters twice. Montgomerie won his first in 1993 followed by Langer the very next year. They both earned their second victory in strange fashion in 2002.
After two holes of a sudden death play-off had failed to separate them, and standing in total darkness, both men agreed to share the trophy. Ironically, Langer was also the man who was involved the last time the tour awarded a share of the trophy. He and Seve Ballesteros agreed to a tie back in the 1986 Trophe Lancme, also due to darkness.
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - Volvo Masters