Ricardo Melo Gouveia on the third round©João Lobato-MR

Portugal praised as 14th Portugal Masters commences at Vilamoura

International TV audience for Portugal Masters live from the Algarve

There is a proud significance at the staging of the 14th Portugal Masters this week over the fabulous Dom Pedro Golf, Victoria Course, Vilamoura. A galaxy of international stars is lined up to compete, and since the event’s inaugural edition in 2007, Portugal’s premier golfing event has consistently provided drama and excitement for fans across the globe.

The tournament was originally scheduled for October, but due to the effects of Covid-19 it has been necessary to adjust the golfing calendar, and Peter Adams, Portugal Masters Championship Director, has praised the Portuguese hosts for enabling the event to take place: “I must thank the Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection and Turismo de Portugal for their support, which allowed the Portugal Masters to be re-scheduled for September.”

Peter Adams has also paid tribute to the Portuguese Golf Federation (FPG) and the country’s health authorities for their support, while underlining that this year’s priority is “the safety of the circuit members, teams and everyone involved in the event.”

The 2020 tournament will be covered and monitored by the European Tour Health Strategy, and the current pandemic necessitates a very limited number of spectators. However, the great news is that, in addition to print media coverage, including the Algarve Resident, the traditional live television broadcasts will be as fantastic as ever. Portugal’s top sports channel, Sport TV, will again be broadcasting nationally, while images via Sky Sports are beamed to a worldwide TV audience. Such a comprehensive focus reflects the status of the Portugal Masters as not only one of Europe’s blue riband competitions, but also its exalted international standing. The star-studded field for this year’s spectacular is liberally sprinkled with players from every corner of the planet.

The magnetism of the Portugal Masters has consistently proved an irresistible draw for top golfers of all nationalities, and this year’s field again illustrates the appeal of a very special competition. Players from a fantastic range of inter-continental locations range from India to the Isle of Man and, it seems, from everywhere in between. Countries represented, in addition to several of Portugal’s finest players, include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the USA, Wales, and Zimbabwe. With such a diverse combination of international golfers about to grace the Algarve, it is undeniable that the Portugal Masters enjoys a privileged place in the world of golf. The value of attracting such a world class field to the 2020 event, and to ensure its success, was highlighted by FPG President, Miguel Franco de Sousa, who underlined the “crucial importance” of this year’s event: “The Portugal Masters plays a fundamental role in establishing Portugal as one of the most important golf tourist destinations in the world.”

Since England’s Steve Webster first lifted the magnificent trophy at the inaugural event in 2007, significant prize money has consistently ensured the participation of top tournament players. When financial incentives are combined with a first-class golf course, lavish facilities for players and their families, and the opportunity to secure lucrative points in the season-ending, Race to Dubai, it’s obvious why the Portugal Masters has earned its deserved place as one of the international golfing calendar’s most prestigious events.

The added significance, nationally and internationally, of staging this year’s competition is also stressed by the president of Turismo de Portugal, Luís Araújo.

“The 14th edition of the Portugal Masters reflects the commitment of all partners – Turismo de Portugal, various regional bodies, and a range of companies – to consolidate a quality product, and facilitate its alignment with the new reality. For Portugal, ensuring the continuation and permanent place of a competition of this magnitude reflects how expertly the country has successfully responded to the challenge of maintaining the country’s status as a ‘Clean & Safe’ destination.

Hosting this renowned international competition confirms not only that Portugal has excellent conditions for golf, but also that it has the professional capacity required to successfully stage the tournament,” he said.

England’s golfers, in particular, enjoy a special relationship with the Portugal Masters, having been victorious at Vilamoura on no fewer than seven occasions.

However, it was not until Tom Lewis lifted the trophy in 2018, to add to his 2011 triumph, that any player had won more than once at the Portugal Masters.

Intriguingly, though, the distinction of securing successive titles still proves elusive, despite some near misses. Andy Sullivan came closest to achieving successive victories in 2016 when Ireland’s Padraig Harrington secured a one-stroke victory over Sullivan to deny the Englishman a repeat of his 2015 championship winning performance. This year, England’s Steven Brown has the opportunity to establish a new record by repeating his 2019 triumph, although standing in his way of course is the stellar international field, with each player equally determined to emerge victorious.

There are many fascinating scenarios to ponder for the 14th Portugal including, such as, will this be the year when a Portuguese player becomes the first home-grown champion? Will the record-breaking European Tour sub-60 round of 59, carded by Steven Brown in 2018, be equalled, or even bettered? While the Portugal Masters continues to provide the potential for new, historic achievements, and more record-breaking performances, there is the delicious certainty of a tournament characterised by first class golf against a background of high drama and excitement. Fans across the entire world of golf, courtesy of lavish TV coverage, are guaranteed to savour yet another fantastic fiesta of golf from the beautiful Algarve.