Miguel Angel Jiménez returns to Montecastillo Hotel and Golf Resort this week to defend the title he captured 12 months ago when he became the first Spaniard to win the Volvo Masters after a magnificent closing 65. It was his second victory on home soil following his earlier success in the Turespaña Masters - Open Andalucía, and a week later Jiménez brought the curtain down on an outstanding season when he pushed Tiger Woods all the way in the World Golf Championship - American Express Championship, Woods only edging ahead at the first play-off hole.
Jiménez's seven under par final round at Montecastillo earned him a two-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen. With four rounds in the sixties, Jiménez also trimmed two strokes off the low record score set by Darren Clarke the previous year.
This year the Volvo Masters prize fund has doubled to £2 million, elevating the tournament to being the richest event in Europe, outside of the Open Championship and the WGC - American Express Championship. A first prize of £333,330 is on offer as the race to win the Volvo Order of Merit enters the home straight. Lee Westwood currently leads the money Volvo Order of Merit with 2,350,238 euro (£1,366,417) followed by Clarke on 2,268,895 euro (£1,319,125).
Over £5 million is on offer over the next two weeks for what is shaping up to be a dramatic conclusion to the season. Beyond the top two players Thomas Björn occupies fourth place with Michael Campbell in sixth and both still have very real chances of overtaking Westwood at the top and Colin Montgomerie is certainly not out of the picture in sixth as he looks to continue his reign as European Number One for an eighth successive season.
The limited field of 66 players will also be playing for a place in the season-ending World Golf Championship - American Express Championship. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and the top 20 in the Volvo Order of Merit at the conclusion of the Volvo Masters will be among those eligible to play at Valderrama.