Nuno de Brito e Cunha knows better than most the inner workings of Royal Valderrama Club, as he has been a part of it, as a member, from just a short time after its founder, Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, acquired the course. Born in Cascais (Portugal) and an outstanding amateur player, his love of golf was instilled in him by his father – passionate about the sport – almost from the cradle. Young Nuno learned the game so well he became Portuguese champion on more than one occasion and represented his country in world and European championships. He visited the Sotogrande area for the first time in the 1960s, participating in a Spain-Portugal tournament, and it was love at first sight. His excellent work as president of the most famous and prestigious golf club in Spain has been widely recognised by members, who have endorsed, with their votes, his third term at the helm of Royal Valderrama.
What do you like most about your work as club president?
Seeing how members increasingly enjoy the course and Valderrama club.
And what are you least enthusiastic about?
Without a doubt, the fact that some members fail to repair pitch marks on the greens. We know that it is a common problem for many clubs and we work to eradicate it. It seems as though some people still need to be reminded that it only takes 15 seconds to fix a pitch mark.
What has been your happiest moment as president?
When the members bought the club in 2018.
Your favourite hole and why?
The fourth, for its beauty and the playing strategy it requires.
Of all the great golfers who have passed through Valderrama, who would you like to, or would have liked to, play a round with?
Without a doubt Seve Ballesteros. I never had the opportunity to play golf with him. Also with Tiger, of course.
What requirements must be fulfilled to become a member of Royal Valderrama Club?
Apart from the economic consideration, to be recommended by two club members and approved by the board of directors.
What did the change of date, earlier than last year, and the entry of Estrella Damm as main co-sponsor mean for the 2019 Andalucía Masters?
Estrella Damm’s involvement has been an essential step forward for the tournament to grow and continue to position itself as one of the highlights of the European Tour. We are very grateful to Estrella Damm for their support and commitment to this event.
The intention of the Junta de Andalucía (regional government), as stated by its vice president and minister for tourism, is to continue sponsoring the tournament. Is an agreement already signed to guarantee that?
As you note, Don Juan Marín has already confirmed that the Junta was very satisfied with the tournament’s impact and will continue to support it. We are currently working with them on the new agreement and we hope to announce it very soon. At the ministry of tourism they appreciate that golf has a great significance for the Andalucian economy and there are competing destinations such as Turkey which have a Rolex Series event, in spite of being a country with a minimal golfing tradition.
Royal Valderrama Club’s aim is for the Estrella Damm Andalucía Masters to become part of the Rolex Series, and for that to happen it would have to provide a minimum of seven million dollars in prizemoney (this year the tournament had a three million euro purse). What are the chances of achieving that in the short term?
It has always been one of our objectives, and the club’s board of directors will continue working to attract sponsors. What is clear is that we can only raise the Masters to Rolex Series category with the support of public institutions, private sponsorship and, very importantly, the support of Spain’s top stars.