LIV Golf Field The 'Best Ever' At Valderrama - Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia says Valderrama deserves their "best ever field" for LIV Golf after being let down by the DP World Tour

Sergio Garcia speaks to the media during a Masters practice round
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia says Valderrama deserves to stage this week’s LIV Golf League event, calling it “the best field they’ve ever had” while voicing his disappointment that the DP World Tour failed to deliver such star names to his favourite course.

Garcia is a three-time Andalucia Masters champion at Valderrama – where he has 14 top 10 finishes in 15 appearances at what he says is his favourite golf course in the world.

That Andalucia Masters was part of a long-running deal with the DP World Tour that Valderrama has ended after becoming frustrated with the quality of the field for events being held there.

And Garcia voiced those same frustrations after saying his favourite track is getting the field it deserves when hosting the LIV Golf League this week.

“This is my favourite golf course and one of the best golf courses in the world in my opinion,” said Garcia. “It’s No.1 for me, and obviously it suits me if you look at my stats here.

“Now we’re going to have the kind of field that they’ve never had at Valderrama and the kind of field they deserve. I love that Valderrama is finally getting the chance to have the kind of field that it deserves.

“For too many years, unfortunately, the DP World Tour has been promising me and other Spanish players that have been involved in the tournament playing there, and the course itself, that the field was going to get better, more great players were going to come and play and it never happened.

“I think Valderrama deserves a lot more than that. It’s just 48 players but it’s going to be the best field they’ve ever had and that makes me very proud because that’s my favourite golf course.” 

Valderrama Golf Club

Valderrama Golf Club is known as the Augusta of Europe

(Image credit: Valderrama Golf Club)

Valderrama's general manager Javier Reviriego says it was not easy to cut ties with the DP World Tour after an association of about 25 years, but felt that bringing big names like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson to the course was of more benefit.

"It was not an easy decision, obviously," said Reviriego. "We have a partnership for many years, 25 years, I think, of partnership.

"But when we evaluated the progress of our previous event, we considered that it was not what we wanted. I'm not blaming anyone. I'm not blaming the European Tour. I'm just saying that our expectations of growth of the event when we started (were higher). 

"It's just that we're not happy. When the possibility and the discussions started with LIV, we saw a potential opportunity to host an event with top talent, top players, to host an event with quality. 

"We saw an opportunity to host a world-class tournament, and that's what we wanted. It's as simple as that.

"It's not easy because it was a long-time partnership before. But looking back now, especially with the news of the last few weeks, I feel pretty confident. I'm pretty happy that we made the decision."

Big names at Valderrama

Tiger Woods

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Garcia is likely talking about the Andalucia Masters specifically when stating it's the best field ever at Valderrama - with many pointing to the two WGC events staged at the course in 1999 and 2000.

The WGC-American Express Championship attracted the very best players at the time over to Spain, with Mickelson joining headliner Tiger Woods and a host of stars.

Garcia himself played in the events with the likes of Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, Bernhard Langer, Jim Furyk, Jose Maria Olazabal, Justin Leonard, Nick Price, Colin Montgomerie and David Toms.

Woods won the first event in 1999 in a playoff against Miguel Angel Jimenez after triple-bogeying the 17th to help throw away a four-shot lead, while Canadian Mike Weir won in 2000 before going on to win the Masters three years later.

Apart from those events though, and the first ever Ryder Cup to be held on mainland Europe, Valderrama has had some lean times in terms of big names.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.