Five things to know about the Omega European Masters

50th edition

Thursday will start the 50th edition of the European Masters. This tournament was part of the European Tour’s first international schedule in 1972 and has been around ever since, with only one omission in 2020, when it was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Swiss Open, as the tournament was originally known, was first held in 1923 and first played in Crans-Montana in 1939, where it has been held ever since. This is its 83rd anniversary and its 75th edition, the scene of many memorable moments and emblematic winners.

A unique course

With views of the Plaine Morte Glacier and the mountain ranges and valley below the seventh tee, Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club is located in the Swiss Alps, nearly 1,500 meters above sea level.

(Andy Mueller/FRESHFOCUS/SPORTS PRESS/Sports Press)

During the summer, Crans-sur-Sierre is home to a 6,250m golf course, but in the winter several meters of snow close the course, which becomes a popular ski resort.

A track record provided

The European Masters trophy has been lifted by big names, including Severiano Ballesteros, three times first in Crans-Montana. Defending US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is a two-time winner and the only player since Ballesteros (1978) to defend his title after success in the 2017 and 2018 editions.

Severiano Ballesteros, in action at Cran.

Severiano Ballesteros, in action at Cran.

Current Ryder Cup captain and former world number 1 Luke Donald won in Switzerland in 2004, while other former European leaders such as Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam also have their names engraved on the trophy.

Defending champion Hojgaard

Last year, Rasmus Hojgaard came out on top with a final lap of 63 and claimed his third DP World Tour victory at the age of 20. The Dane started the final day four strokes behind the day’s leaders, but his -5 over his last six holes was enough to win.

The victory allowed Hojgaard to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Thomas Bjørn, becoming the second Dane to win the title after the successes of his elder, in 2011 and 2013.

A history of play-offs

Six of the last eight editions of the European Masters have been decided by extra holes, with Højgaard’s victory twelve months ago ending a run of four consecutive play-offs. We remember in particular the victory of Jean-François Lucquin against Rory McIlroy, during the 2008 edition.

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