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Spotlight on golf – Part 1

History of the European tour

Golf Algarve Portugal

The history of golf

Did you know that professional golf actually started in Scotland? 

The “professionals” were the clubmakers and greenkeepers who taught the game to the wealthy (men of course). Eventually, in 1860, The Open Championship was introduced for professionals; however, only 8 entrants were recorded. The next year, amateurs were admitted and that’s how it all started.

More tournaments sprang up and spread to the Continent, although it was impossible for a golfer to earn enough to make a living at the game in those days. By 1901 the British professionals were represented by the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), who eventually created the European Tour in 1972. 

European Tour Golf Algarve

The beginning of the European Tour

The first European tour of 1972, played between April and October, included twenty rounds played in nine European countries and was won by Peter Oosterhuis from England using the Order of Merit system. The Order of Merit was based on a points system which meant that high prize money could be won by lower players.

 Changes to the European Tour

This all changed in 2009 when the Order of Merit was replaced by the Race to Dubai, with a bonus pool of $10 million, (reduced to $7,500,000 due to the recession), to be distributed amongst the top 15 players by the end of the season. In 2012 the bonus pool was cut in half to $3.75 million and distributed to the top 10 golfers. There are now 49 rounds played in 26 countries, encompassing 5 Continents in this tournament and the last game of the tournament is The Dubai World Cup. 

Vilamoura Victoria Golf Course

Portugal’s role in the European Tour

In 2007, Portugal joined the European Tour as regular hosts with rounds played on the Victoria golf course in Vilamoura, designed by Arnold Palmer, one of the highest icons in the history of golf. Known as the Portugal Masters, some of the top players in Europe have competed there ever since. Steve Webster from England won the first Portugal Masters with a massive -25 score, which to this date has not been matched.

2013 saw up to 40,000 spectators at the Victoria course. A little known fact is that all the participating professional players donated their €100 entry fee for the Pro Am to the official charity ACCA Kids. Spectators donated heavily too and the Tour Players Foundation matched “the take”, resulting in a hefty €31,822 being handed over to the charity for Algarve children with mental, physical and social needs. Another Englishman, David Lynn, won that round of the tournament by one stroke, playing -18.

The Portugal Masters, as this leg of the European tour is known, is the largest tournament in the golfing year of Portugal. Vilamoura will be flooded with visitors, eagerly joining in as well as press, spectators, organisers and players. Thankfully they are well equipped to cope with this influx. 

The Portugal Masters takes place between 9th and 12th October and Meravista will be keeping you up-to-date with entrants, tee times and scores throughout the tournament.

ACCA Kids Algarve


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