The president of Royal Valderrama Club, Nuno Brito e Cunha, is very well aware that, during these difficult times we are living through due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is necessary for everyone to collaborate in their own way to help restore – as much as possible – a sense of normality. That is why the prestigious golf club that he presides over has given its full collaboration to the European Tour to host the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters in September.
Finally, it has been confirmed that the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters will be held at Valderrama in September – possibly without spectators or with a limited number. Do you think it is best that the tournament is held, even in these circumstances?
I think so. It’s important that we make an effort to normalise our lives as quickly as possible. It’s very important for our economies and therefore for the future of everyone.
The European Tour committed itself to not skipping this year’s edition of the tournament. Was the Junta de Andalucía (regional government) also in favour of this?
The Andalucian economy depends a lot on international tourism, and therefore the Junta recognises the great importance of a televised sporting event that people can watch around the world.
Do you believe that the international situation will allow for a similar level of players to that of previous years?
It’s natural that the quality of the field will suffer due to players’ difficulties in travelling, and the fact that the US Open is played two weeks later. Many of the top players are already in the United States and will not return to Europe before the US Open.
Will the prize fund be maintained despite the circumstances, or will it have to be adapted to them?
It is an exceptional year and all the European Tour tournament prize funds are suffering: we have to adapt to the circumstances.
If the tournament is played without spectators, or with a limited number, will the essence of the tournament change much?
Members of the public bring atmosphere to a tournament, so the tournament will lose something in this regard. However, watching PGA Tour tournaments I have noticed that they lose less on TV, that there is still good play on diplay. I don't think Jon Rahm's great victory at Muirfield Village has lost prestige or drama due to the absence of spectators.
Do you maintain the idea and interest for the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters to become a Rolex Series tournament?
Efforts for it to be part of the Rolex Series continue. We are convinced of this and, if the situation returns to normal quickly, we will reach our goal in a couple of years, perhaps sooner.