The Portugal Masters in the Algarve was one of the most iconic events on the DP World Tour but having been axed from the calendar in 2023, golf tourism in the region looks set to take a knock. Questions now remain over the long-term future of the event and whether the world’s best golfers will ever return to the Algarve.
The special history of the Portugal Masters
For many golf enthusiasts, the reasons behind the decision to scrap the Portugal Masters will make little sense owing to its illustrious place in the sport's history. After all, this is a tournament that has been won by Lee Westwood, Shane Lowry, and more recently, 2023 European Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington. In Lowry’s case, his 2012 victory at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course was the catalyst for significant future success.
Indeed, 11 years on from sinking the winning putt in the Algarve, the Irishman is at just 40/1 in the latest golf odds to win the Masters at Augusta National in 2024. Additionally, the 36-year-old is in the top 30 in the official world golf rankings following years of consistent performances.
Putting Lowry’s impressive career trajectory to one side, the wider point is that the Portugal Masters has historically given a platform to some of the best players in the world to kickstart their careers.
Beauty and the Beast
But it isn’t just a breeding ground for the world’s finest players to cut their teeth as the Portugal Masters is also one of the most dramatic events on tour for a very different reason. Typically, the Portugal Masters is the last tournament of the season which means that players who have yet to secure their playing privileges for the following year have to perform, or else they will no longer be eligible to play on the DP World Tour.
It really is a case of being in the last chance saloon for the players on the bubble and for many years now, it is the idyllic holiday landscape of the Algarve that has provided the backdrop to such nail-biting drama. The extraordinary contrast of these two images has previously ensured that golf fans from around the world eagerly tune in when the Portugal Masters begins.
Sadly, that won’t be the case in 2023 and as of July, there is little to suggest that an agreement will be reached that sees the Portugal Masters readded to the DP World Tour calendar in 2024.
The reason for the impasse
The short answer is that the necessary funding is no longer available to host this event which is why it has been pulled from the schedule. In the past, the tournament was jointly hosted by the DP World Tour and the Portuguese Tourist Board which means that it was an event reliant on public finances rather than sponsorship from the private sector. The reality is that going forward, sponsors will have to be found in order to bridge the shortfall that is currently prohibiting this tournament from being played.
Golf fans from around the world will be hoping that this is a temporary pause and not the end of a competition that allowed viewers a front-row seat to one of the most breathtaking regions in the world.