Competitors and fans enjoying the traditional spectacle of the Portugal Masters are indebted to those doing tremendous work behind the scenes to stage a safe, secure and successful event. As director of international championships at the European Tour, Peter Adams is well placed to provide an insight into what takes place behind the scenes, and he emphasises the importance of attention to detail.
“To maintain a process of constant development, it is important to analyse and learn from each Portugal Masters as it takes place, as this shapes our planning for the following year,” he says. It is no surprise to learn that effective teamwork is a vital dimension of organising such a major event.
Although the European Tour is a non-profit making organisation, significant sponsorship and promotions must be established to maintain the tournament’s status by attracting the world’s best players. Work continues throughout the year to guarantee that major sponsorship agreements are in place to provide the significant prize money expected for a major international competition.
In 2019, for instance, when a prize fund of €1.5 million is added to costs of around the same amount again, it is clear that significant sponsorship is indeed essential. As a result, attendant promotion and marketing of the event through various media including TV, billboard advertising, newspapers and a range of print publications must be secured, and it is to the organisers’ credit that this is managed so successfully.
There is no appearance fee for the players, although the effort made behind the scenes has guaranteed the quality fields year after year. The European Tour’s evaluation instruments consistently return top approval ratings from the players with, in addition to the prize money offered, the event’s attractions including a fantastic environment and first-class golf course.
As the Portugal Masters is broadcast globally, such widespread recognition – beamed to over 40 countries, in over 400 million homes – attracts both sponsorship and the world’s best players. It is easy to see why the event has such a massive pull for commercial sponsors which, in turn, is a great draw for the game’s international stars.
Another aspect of such a popular, public occasion is effective security, and necessary for time to be invested in making plans and preparations for staging a safe event for players and fans. Before that though, it’s also important to make sure that everyone gets to the location with the minimum of fuss.
With this in mind, the European Tour collaborates with both the local council to map out routes and strategies, and with the police, whose knowledge and experience of popular routes and potential restrictions are invaluable. As a result, traffic arrangements invariably run very smoothly.
With the players and fans safely in place at the venue, the former can concentrate on golf, while spectators may enjoy both the sporting action as well as various other attractions. Comfortable eating areas providing refreshments for the whole family, adequate rest and toilet facilities, and leisure pursuits including golf-related activities combine to create the opportunity for everyone to savour a memorable Algarve sporting occasion.
At the tournament’s conclusion on Sunday, the prize-giving ceremony is of course pivotal, but planning for this phase also considers wider aspects, as Peter Adams describes: “At this final point of the event, we have the culmination of everything that has gone before. While there is an appropriate focus on the winner and victory, there is also an emphasis on closure and these moments are crucial – for instance, in terms of making sure that everyone’s input and support are acknowledged in a media context guaranteed to have the highest possible profile. With that, it is time for an evening’s respite before planning commences the following morning for next year’s Portugal Masters!”
The magic of continued success for the Portugal Masters is rooted in the reality of what goes on not only during but also before, and immediately after, the event.
Peter Adams emphasises that the European Tour and its partners are “never standing still”, and this simple fact reflects the meticulous, ongoing process of development to ensure that the Portugal Masters endures as a sparkling showcase for international golf and the beautiful Algarve. From the first event in 2007, it is testament to the organisation, hard work and support for the Portugal Masters that this year’s 13th edition will be another magical chapter in the continually evolving story of Portuguese golf.
By TOM CALLAN