GREEN Jacket winner Sergio Garcia and Rolex Series winner Rafa Cabrera-Bello will head the Spanish challenge when the BMW Indoor Invitational heads to Valderrama, on Saturday.
The fourth leg of the BMW Indoor Invitational – powered by TrackMan – sees another strong field of nearly 40 European Tour players.
The presence of Garcia and Cabrera-Bello is sure to swell interest in the virtual golf tournament.
Rafa was inspired to play in the Ryder Cup – having been a promising junior when Garcia made his debut for Europe at Brookline, in 1999, aged just 19.
The Spanish stars are this week’s interactive feature group as they tee it up virtually to make their debut in the BMW Indoor Invitational.
Forty-year-old Garcia, who claimed the Masters in a play-off with Justin Rose, in 2017, has fond memories of Valderrama.
The Sergio Garcia Foundation hosted the European Tour’s Andalucia Masters there in 2018, which he won.
Garcia said: “I love Valderrama. Everyone knows it and I have always said it is my favourite golf course.
“I have been fortunate to do very well there. It is my idea of a golf course, not particularly long – but narrow, dog-legs, trees, small greens.
“And it is target golf. That is what I love about Valderrama and one of the reasons it suits my game so well.
“It is something I am really excited about. Obviously, it is something I have done before playing courses with TrackMan.
“But I have not competed on a worldwide stage like this. So I am excited to see how it goes.
“Personally, the time off from golf has been great. We had the birth of our son, our second child Enzo. It has been nice to spend time with my wife Angela and the kids in these very difficult times.
“Here in Texas has been pretty good. I have been able to practise a little bit here and there – which has been nice.
“But it has been hard. It has been really tough in Spain. My family are there, and fortunately have been able to stay home the most part. But it has been quite scary for a while.”
Garcia has three Valderrama wins
GARCIA’S victory in the 2018 Estrella Damm NA Andalucía Masters at Valderrama saw him become the first man since Colin Montgomerie to win the same tournament three times in a row in Europe.
Montgomerie won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth from 1998 to 2000.
Cabrera-Bello also cannot wait to join in the interactive fun.
The European Tour announced on Thursday it would resume real live tournaments from July 22, when Lee Westwood hosts the Betfred British Masters at Close House, near Newcastle.
Cabrera Bello, who won the Scottish Open in 2017 for his maiden Rolex Series win, said: “In the last week or so I have picked it up a bit, practising more seriously now – trying to get ready for when we start back.
“Valderrama is a great course. I love it and I always enjoy playing there. It is a really tough challenge.”
Former World No. 1 Martin Kaymer is again in action, while Belgian Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters makes his debut alongside countryman Nicolas Colsaerts – one of the heroes of Medinah in 2012.
Valderrama drama for ’97 Ryder Cup
WORLD-renowned Valderrama, hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup.
Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros lead Europe to the first victory over the USA, when the biennial tournament was held on the Continent for the first time in its long history.
It has also hosted a number of prestigious events including the Andalucía Masters, Open de España and the WGC-American Express Championship in 1999 and 2000.
Tournament footage will once again be shown at bmw.trackmaninvitational.com
Fans can also follow Garcia and Cabrera-Bello, and the other 36 players, using #BMWTrackManInvitational on social media.
The winner will receive $10,000 to benefit a Coronavirus charity or relief fund of his choice.
Footage of the BMW Indoor Invitational will be shown from 11am BST on the European Tour’s social media channels.
Go to Twitter: @europeantour
The European Tour’s YouTube channel and atbmw.trackmaninvitational.com
• After Valderrama the final event will be held playing the Wentworth Club, on Saturday, June 6.