Greg Norman, who was accorded Honorary Membership of the European Tour earlier this year, makes his first appearance of the new millenium on the continent where he cut his competitive teeth in the seventies and eighties by playing in this week's BMW International Open at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenried.
Happily restored to full fitness, Norman joins World No.2 Ernie Els and defending champion Colin Montgomerie in a top class field in Munich. Els, who won the Standard Life Loch Lomond in July prior to the Open, arrives in Germany in prime form after finishing runner-up in three of the year's four majors.
Montgomerie claimed his fifth title of an outstanding 1999 last August with rounds of 69, 64, 65 and 70 for a 20 under par total of 268 and a three shot win over Ireland's Padraig Harrington whose performance earned him the tenth and final qualifying spot in the European Ryder Cup side to play in Boston.
Karlsson, who won the BMW International Open in 1997 returns along with four other past champions - Mark McNulty, Peter Fowler, Marc Farry and Russell Claydon of England, who made his long-awaited breakthrough in the tournament two years ago.
Bernhard Langer, a regular winner in his native country but never in the BMW International Open, makes another attempt to add this title to his curriculum vitae.
Harrington, who appears to have recovered from the neck injury which plagued him since the TNT Dutch Open, is a starter this week after playing in the WGC-NEC Invitational. Also in Munich is Thomas Björn of Denmark, who has produced some superb form in finishing runner-up to Tiger Woods in the Open Championship and third behind the amazing American in the recent US PGA Championship.