After last week’s thrilling Open Championship in St Andrews, the European Tour moves on to the Swiss Alps this week for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. David Lipsky of the USA is the defending champion.
This event has been shifted in the European Tour schedule in 2015. Until this season, the tournament had traditionally been played in September. But it’s been moved up this year with the objective of attracting a stronger field as, for the last few seasons, it has clashed with the FedEx Cup playoffs.
There’s a large prize-fund on offer this week with €450,000 going to the winner. It provides a great chance for players to make a move on the Race to Dubai rankings.
This is one of the European Tour’s oldest tournament venues and has been a fixture on the circuit since the Tour’s inception in 1972. Past winners include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.
David Lipsky was something of a surprise winner last year, he came through a playoff against England’s Graeme Storm to win in 2014.
Four things to watch for at the Omega European Masters:
1. – Sergio Garcia makes a return to this event for the first time since 2006. After a strong performance in The Open Championship last week, he’ll be looking to continue his good run of form. He has a great record in the tournament, albeit from a decade ago. He won in 2005 and also has third and fourth place finishes to his name.
2. – Patrick Reed of the USA is also on the start sheet and will be an exciting addition to this year’s event. The highly-strung young American finished tied for 20th in St Andrews and will come into this tournament looking to get one over on his European rivals. He’s sure to give it everything in Crans.
3. – Other players straight in from St Andrews. A number of those on the start list this week will have had little time to draw breath following the Monday finish at the year’s third Major. For some, this could prove to be negative and they’ll struggle to get up for this tournament. Others will still be buzzing and keen to keep their adrenaline levels up. One of those who could fall into the latter category is energetic Englishman, Danny Willett. He was tied for sixth at St Andrews and he finished top-five in this event last year. He could definitely be a contender in Switzerland.
4. – The views. Crans-sur-Sierre has, perhaps, the most spectacular backdrop of any course on the European Tour. With the towering Swiss Alps surrounding the layout, this event makes for a stunning TV spectacle.