The ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid, which will take place at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid from 12 to 15 October, will celebrate 50 years with the European Tour, now the DP World Tour.
The bond between the men’s Open de España and the European Tour, which began in 1972, has remained firm for 50 years (despite the fact that the competition did not take place in 2017 and 2020). The partnership originally came about thanks to John Jacobs, the driving force behind the unification of the tournaments in Europe in order to overcome the divisions then existing between Great Britain and Continental Europe.
If they were to have a truly united European circuit, it was essential to join forces, the great player, coach and captain correctly observed at the time. Now, fifty years later, that globalisation has led to a DP World Tour that boasts tournaments all over the world in its schedule, including the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid.
The third oldest professional tournament in Europe.
However, it should not be forgotten that the Open de España was first played back in 1912, early in the twentieth century, making it Europe’s third oldest continuous event.
This status does come with a footnote; the Belgian Open began in 1910, but it has not been played for many years, much like the German Open, whose first edition came in 1911, the same applies to the PGA Matchplay, which was first held in 1903, but disappeared in 1980.
It can be said, therefore, that the Open de España is a tournament that, alongside the Dutch Open, is only beaten by The Open Championship (1860) and the Open de France (1906) in terms of continued longevity. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, it is older than the US Masters (1934) and the PGA Championship (1916), both of which now form part of the Grand Slam.
The inaugural edition of the Open de España as part of the European Tour, in 1972, was played at Pals. Antonio Garrido would take the spoils after beating Valentín Barrios in a playoff.
In 2023, the golden anniversary of the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid is being celebrated with a number of significant milestones on the horizon. One of them could be doubly significant; were Jon Rahm to win the Open de España this year, he would surpass Seve’s haul of three titles at the event and move to within one of the five Ángel de la Torre claimed early in the twentieth century, when golf was a very different game to the one we know today.