The European Tour returns to the Spanish capital of Madrid for the first time since 1996 this week for the BBVA Turespaña Masters Comunidad de Madrid with Miguel Angel Jimenez seeking a hat-trick of victories.
A record prize fund of Euro 1,000,000 awaits for the eighth edition of the Turespana Masters which is being played at Club de Campo for the first time. Indeed the BBVA Open Turespaña Masters Comunidad de Madrid is the first European Tour event to be played at Club de Campo since Padraig Harrington won the Peugeot Open de España in 1996.
Madrid has been a regular port of call for the European Tour for many years having hosted the Madrid Open annually until 1993 and the Spanish Open on many occasions.
Jiménez will be seeking to win the tournament for the third time in succession following his victories at Santa Ponsa I in 1998 and Parador Malaga Del Golf in 1999. The Turespaña Masters was first played in 1992 and it has been won by Spanish golfers since 1996 with Diego Borrego successful at El Saler in that year and José Maria Olazábal claiming the title at Campo de Golf, Tenerife, in 1997.
Since the 1996 Peugeot Open de España, Club de Campo has undergone a substantial re-design. Manuel Pinero, former Ryder Cup player, PGA and European Open Champion, has introduced a more difficult test with undulating greens and sloping fairways. The finishing hole in particular has been completely re-shaped to provide a clear view of the fairway and green.
Among the leading challengers this week will be Darren Clarke, currently number two in the Volvo Order of Merit behind Lee Westwood. With only four events left on the 2000 European Tour International Schedule, Clarke has the chance to close the gap on the top and possibly even regain pole position as the race to win the Harry Vardon Trophy draws to an end.
1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie is also in the strong field along with other Ryder Cup teammates Sergio Garcia, Jarmo Sandelin and Andrew Coltart. Miguel Angel Martin will be playing in front of his home crowd for the first time since partnering Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal to victory Alfred Dunhill Cup last weekend.