Portugal’s blue riband tournament forms part of the reshaped 2020 Race to Dubai competition, following the suspension of the season on March 8 due to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Play resumes during the week July 6, with back-to-back dual-ranking events in Austria – the Austrian Open and Euram Bank Open – and will continue with the six-event UK Swing, before the European Tour returns to Continental Europe.
Crucially, the Portugal Masters will be governed by the Tour’s comprehensive Health Strategy, developed by Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Murray in consultation with health care specialists and advisors in many of the 30 countries in which the European Tour plays. The tournament will also be part of the new ‘Golf for Good’ initiative, supporting communities where the European Tour plays, rewarding heroes, such as frontline workers, and promoting the many health benefits of golf.
Peter Adams, Championship Director of the Portugal Masters, has conveyed his gratitude to the appropriate organisations for making this necessary change possible: “I must thank Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection and Turismo de Portugal for their support in allowing us to reschedule the Portugal Masters for September. The team at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course have been excellent hosts over the past 13 years and we are looking forward to working with them for the next edition of this tournament. My thanks also go to the Portuguese Golf Federation and the local health authorities for their support. The safety of our members, staff and all those involved remains our priority and the event will be underpinned by the Tour’s comprehensive health strategy.”
Luís Correia da Silva, CEO of Dom Pedro Golf, also underlined his delight that the event is taking place: “At Dom Pedro Hotels & Golf Collection, we are all delighted with the European Tour decision to keep the Portugal Masters in the 2020 European Tour Calendar, after almost 30 events being cancelled. Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, once again, will be in its best condition to host and challenge the best Tour players after they resume playing, and I am quite sure they will appreciate not only this fantastic Arnold Palmer design layout, but also the easy and friendly Vilamoura golfing atmosphere. Golfers around the world are keen to watch and follow European Tour tournaments again and I am confident the Portugal Masters will not disappoint them with the quality of the field that will tee off their way to victory.”
The recent comments of Luís Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal, also echoed the universally positive responses to this major announcement for Portugal: “Portugal has been growing as an undeniable golf destination, very much due to the quality and diversity of courses on offer all over the country. The international recognition is reflected in the countless prizes and distinctions attributed, with a special reference to the confidence the European Tour bestows on the country; in the last 13 years Portugal has hosted one of their most important tournaments, the Portugal Masters. Hosting this internationally reputable tournament confirms that Portugal offers excellent conditions for the sport, as well as the professional capacity to organise golfing events. The confirmation of this year’s tournament, the 14th edition of the Portugal Masters, reaffirms the commitment and effort of all partners: Turismo de Portugal, regional entities and companies, in the consolidation of a quality product aligned with a new reality. The systematic return of a tournament of this magnitude is also a message of hope to golfers all over the world that visit us and to the national companies that managed to react to the demands and expectations of a ‘Clean & Safe’ destination.”
Reaction to the news included an ecstatic Miguel Franco de Sousa, President of the Federação Portuguesa de Golfe, who emphasised his pleasure and determination to ensure the tournament’s continued success: “We are delighted to guarantee the organisation of the Portugal Masters in September. Events like these are crucial for Portugal in these difficult times. We must be fully committed to the quick recovery of golf tourism in the country, and the Portugal Masters plays a major role in establishing Portugal as one of the main golf tourism destinations in the world.”
Spectators numbering tens of thousands and a global TV audience are traditional dimensions of the massively successful Portugal Masters. However, there remains inevitable uncertainty concerning this year’s edition, and further details will be announced in due course.
For now, though, Portugal, and in particular the beautiful Algarve, can also embrace this fantastic news as a very hopeful sign of better times to come.