The European Tour travels to The Netherlands this week for one of its most historic tournaments. Martin Kaymer and Tom Watson are among the star names on the start sheet for the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC.
This first Dutch Open was held way back in 1912 when English player George Pannell was the winner. The list of champions makes for impressive reading. Bobby Locke has lifted the trophy, so too Roberto De Vicenzo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie.
In last year’s event, Paul Casey played some superb golf to claim his 13th European Tour title. The Englishman held on despite the best efforts of his countrymen Andy Sullivan, Eddie Pepperell and Simon Dyson.
Casey won’t be back to defend his title, but a strong field has assembled. It includes: 2016 European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, 2014 Ryder Cup players Thomas Bjorn and Stephen Gallacher, crowd favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez and 2009 USPGA champion Y.E. Yang.
Four things to watch for at the KLM Open:
1. The course at Kennemer G&CC is one of the very best visited by the European Tour. It was opened for play in 1927 and was designed by legendary course architect Harry Colt. It’s one of the few tracks outside of the British Isles that can be classed as a “links” and the wind always tends to be a factor. It may measure less than 6,700 yards, but it’s a track that demands creativity and shot making.
2. Tom Watson will make his Dutch Open debut. The 66-year-old is a links specialist and connoisseur of the great courses. The opportunity to play this Colt classic was too good to pass up for the five-time Open champion. “The reputation of Kennemer made my decision to play an easy one really,” he said. “It’s a world top-100 layout and I just hope my old game is up to the task of playing such a wonderful course.”
3. Martin Kaymer is a former winner of this event. He took the title in 2010 and will be looking to repeat that performance this time out. The two-time major champion is 17th on the 2015 Race to Dubai and will aim to climb the list with a victory here.
4. The wind specialists. The forecast is that, as expected, the wind will play a role this week. Players who enjoy breezy conditions will flourish this week. Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen has a game ideally suited to this type of golf, so too does two-time European Tour winner in 2015 Andy Sullivan. Also look out for Eddie Pepperell of England and Scottish duo Paul Lawrie and Richie Ramsay.