Spanish Politics Blamed For Cancellation Of Next Month's Andalucia Masters
The European Tour's Andalucia Masters set for next month in southern Spain has been canceled after the Andalucia regional government's decision "to withdraw its funding," according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. European Tour CEO George O'Grady said the Tour is "extremely disappointed" with the government's decision. The Junta de Andalucia's tourism office said that it was "pulling its sponsorship as it tries to push through sweeping budget cuts" for Spain's heavily indebted regions imposed by the central government. It had agreed to provide €3M ($3.9M) in prize money for the Oct. 18-21 tournament at Valderrama, won last year by Spaniard Sergio Garcia (REUTERS, 9/12). The AFP reported that O'Grady said that the event "was a victim of the economic crisis engulfing Spain." The cancelation came amidst "concerns over the cost of staging major sports events in Spain because of the country's ongoing financial crisis." A change of government in Andalucia "appears to be behind the cancellation, with the new authority keen to reduce public spending." O'Grady absolved Valderrama Golf Club of blame, telling Sky Sports News: "This isn't Valderrama's problem. Valderrama has been tremendously helpful and supportive in the political arena" (AFP, 9/12). SKY SPORTS reported that O'Grady "allayed fears" that this could be the first of many future tournaments to be canceled. O'Grady: "This is, I think, an isolated case. The other tournaments that have had problems, we've known a bit about that for some time. They're with individual promoters, which is different if they can't make the money" (SKYSPORTS.com, 9/12). In Madrid, Alberto Espinosa wrote that "it was an open secret" with only an official announcement missing. The Andalucia regional government "could not cope with the €3M investment required" and the European Tour has canceled the Andalucia Masters (EL MUNDO, 9/12).