Congratulations to the PGA European Tour, Turismo de Portugal, Portuguese Golf Federation, Dom Pedro Golf, CNIG and the Algarve for the success of the Portugal Masters, held for the 15th time at the Victoria Course in Vilamoura – this is the only European Tour event that is always held at the same venue.
This success fits into the resurgence of golf, which was in slight decline in many countries, as a healthy and safe sport alternative.
The actual golf course is designed by Arnold Palmer, the man responsible for the great development of golf in the USA and in the world in the last 50 years.
The course is pleasant and challenging for golfers of every skill level and is certainly one of the favourites of members of the European Tour. But it has an additional typical Portuguese element: the kitchen of Bernardo Sousa Coutinho is hailed by players as the best on the entire European circuit.
The victory of a Belgian golfer against a Frenchman is attractive for both the tourist and resident markets which are growing in Portugal.
The presence of 24,000 fans, most of whom foreigners living in the Algarve, represents almost double the number of golfers registered with the Portuguese Federation.
For years, I have proclaimed the need for a training programme for players coordinated by the Federation, involving the participation of official sports entities, schools and universities, official institutions (such as the three military branches) and big companies, taking advantage of how little golf courses are used during weekdays, particularly in Lisbon and Porto, because most Portuguese play golf at the weekend.
We are the European country with fewest national players per course, including Eastern European countries, which at the time of the fall of the communist regime in the Soviet Union did not have one single golf course. Furthermore, Northern European courses close in the winter due to the climate.
I particularly congratulate Turismo de Portugal for allotting the necessary prize money to attract quality players and the sponsors led by Rolex.
By André Jordan
André Jordan is one of the founders of the luxury golf tourism concept in Portugal.