Andalucía Preview: Real good vibes at Real Club Valderrama for Smash GC

Written by
Bryan Mullen, LIV Golf Correspondent
Jul 08 2024
- 4 MIN
Smash GC Andalucia preview STORY image

Team: Smash Golf Club
Previous event team finish: 12th
Season-long team standings: 5th
Top finisher from previous event: Jason Kokrak, T18
Fun stat: Smash GC commands multiple stat categories, including leading in Eagles (15) and Fairways Hit Percentage (63.73%). In fact, Smash GC has hit 21 more fairways than any other team.


Forgive the members of Smash Golf Club if they are seen salivating entering LIV Golf Andalucía this week. After all, they should feast on Real Club Valderrama considering their successful history here coupled with strong showings throughout 2024.

Smash GC enters this week fifth in the season-long standings and in prime position for a late-season run to claim the 2024 team title. Chalk up LIV Golf Nashville as a brief negative blip on the radar (12th place) and focus more on their previous two finishes of T2 in Houston and fourth place in Singapore. And let’s not forget its team victory in Las Vegas and a third-place podium finish in Jeddah.

That’s some good mojo heading into a venue that has been kind to the team. Smash GC finished a solid fifth at LIV Golf Andalucía last year and was only three shots shy of a podium finish. Talor Gooch won the individual title by one shot over Bryson DeChambeau while Smash GC Captain Brooks Koepka finished on the podium with a third-place finish, just three shots off Gooch’s winning total.

Teammate Jason Kokrak played exceptionally well and finished sixth here last season, and a resurgent Graeme McDowell posted a respectable 39th. McDowell was also sharp at times last week at the International Series Morocco on the Asian Tour before missing the cut by only one shot.

The overall play of the team adds up to a recipe for Spanish success in 2024. Look for Koepka to bounce back at Real Club Valderrama following a tough T42 in Nashville. In his previous three events before Music City, the five-time major champion posted three top-10 finishes, including winning the individual title in Singapore. Expect his world-class talent to be back on display at a venue he has thoroughly enjoyed and thrived on..

Gooch, the reigning season-long Individual Champion, sits 13th in the standings while McDowell (21st) and Kokrak (29th) aren’t far behind.

Real Club Valderrama will be a familiar venue for most players. The historic course is beloved by amateurs and professionals alike. Known as one of the most iconic holes in golf, the par-5 17th features a natural amphitheater and has been the setting for sun-drenched comebacks, triple bogeys, and even an albatross from McDowell.

It hosted the Volvo Masters off and on from 1988-2008, the Andalucía Masters from 2010-2011 and 2017-23, the WGC-American Express Championship from 1999-2000, and the Ryder Cup in 1997. The course, which is shorter than most professional venues, is known for its ability to test the game’s top players and has plenty of trouble sprinkled throughout. Players who can hit a wide variety of shots typically do well on the famed layout.

Four tournaments are left in the regular season, followed by the Team Championship in Dallas in September, giving Smash GC time to make a jump in the standings as they vie for more hardware.