The European Tour commences a three-week swing through Spain in the nation’s capital and the Spanish Open with two-time defending champion, World No.1 Jon Rahm, headlining the event. Here is all you need to know.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Having been postponed in 2020 due to COVID, this is the first time the Open de Espana has been played since October 2019. Jon Rahm dominated at Club de Campo de Madrid, defeating fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello by five strokes to successfully defend the title he won in 2018.
COURSES: The Club de Campo Villa de Madrid is widely regarded as Spain’s most prestigious golf clubs. The club is home to two courses – the Yellow, designed by Seve Ballesteros, and the Black, created by Javier Arana and opened for play in 1956. The Black Course has played host to the Spanish Open – which dates back to 1912 – on six previous occasions.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: World No.1 Jon Rahm is aiming to become the first player since Spain’s first golf professional, Angel de la Torre, in 1919 to win three consecutive Spanish Open titles. Angel de la Torre still holds the record for the greatest number of Spanish Open wins, at five, and if Rahm is successful this week he will join the likes of Arnaud Massey, Max Faulkner and his idol, Seve Ballesteros, as a three-time winner.
“In front of a home crowd, it’s always really hard for me to keep everything under control and to play the weekend that I did for them, it’s always really fun,” Rahm said after his victory in 2019. “I can’t wait to come back and hopefully do it three times.”
He couldn’t have possibly imagined that it would be a year later than expected.
Fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello is lining up for his 17th national championship, having had his best result in 2019 when he finished runner-up behind Rahm. It was his third top-six in the event. He would dearly love to add a victory in his home open to his career resume.
“The Open de España is undoubtedly the biggest victory a young Spaniard can dream of. This tournament is truly thrilling, for all Spanish golfers this is our major,” Cabrera-Bello said.
Leading the Aussie charge in Madrid is Min Woo Lee, who is making his first appearance in the championship. The World No.63 made the cut at the Alfred Dunhill last week but will be hoping to make more of an impact in Madrid.
Fellow West Australian Jason Scrivener will be returning to a happy hunting ground, having fired four rounds in the 60s in 2019 to finish T7 behind Rahm. If he can spoil Rahm’s party this week with a win, it will be his first European Tour title and could see him crack a spot in the top-100 of the world ranking.
72-HOLE RECORD: Aggregate – 262, Mark James (1988), Jon Rahm (2019); To par – 22 under, Kenneth Ferrie (2003), Jon Rahm (2019).
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Rodger Davis (1990), Bob Shaw (1968), Peter Thomson (1959).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Min Woo Lee, Scott Hend, Jason Scrivener, Maverick Antcliff.
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10pm – 3am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10pm – 3am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9pm – 3am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9pm – 3am)
*AEDT, check local guides