Tuesday, 04 September 2001
Eduardo Romero returns to the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre course high in the Swiss Alps and the scene of his seventh European Tour title this week when he defends the Omega European Masters.

Romero won the title by a staggering ten strokes last year from the in-form Thomas Björn to win his first title since his previous victory at Crans-sur-Sierre six years earlier. His winning total of 261, 23 under par, was the lowest sub par score on the 2000 European Tour International Schedule while his ten-stroke winning margin was beaten only by Tiger Woods in the 100th US Open Championship and the WGC - NEC Invitational.

Also in the field is double US Open champion and World Number Four Ernie Els, playing in the tournament for the first time since 1992. He is joined by four other major champions in Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Craig Stadler.

Ballesteros is, of course, remembered affectionately for the miraculous recovery shot he pulled off in 1993 - a feat which is recorded for posterity in the form of a plague deep in the undergrowth alongside the 18th fairway. The Spanish legend and his design company have also made substantial modifications to the course in recent years including the rebuilding of all 18 greens.

Europe's Number One Lee Westwood is back in action for the first time since retiring from the WGC - NEC Invitational suffering from a wrist injury and the 1999 champion is joined in starting line-up by Björn as the two members of the 2001 European Ryder Cup team in the field.

The Omega European Masters is one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious tournaments dating back to 1923. Since 1939 the tournament has been hosted by Crans-sur-Sierre and among the former champions in the field this week is Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, who won at Crans-sur-Sierre in 1985.

Omega, the prestige watchmakers have taken over as title sponsors for the first year of a five year agreement following sponsorship of tournaments in Asia in recent years, including the Omega Golf Tour from 1995 to 1998. Their commitment increases Omega's presence in the sport in Europe and at the same time secures the future of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.

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