Recently crowned Open Champion Ernie Els heads a high quality field for the 68th staging of the Omega European Masters at the spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre course high in the Swiss Alps.
It will be the 32 year old South African's second visit in succession to the tournament and if he reproduces the excellent form he showed at Muirfield six weeks ago, he could well improve on his finish last year of tied 16th.
Els, who currently tops the Volvo Order of Merit, is one of seven Major Champions who will take the trip up the Swiss mountains to compete, the others being Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle and American Craig Stadler, winner himself at Crans-sur-Sierre in 1985.
The Omega European Masters is one of Europe's most prestigious tournaments, dating back to 1923. Since 1939 it has been hosted by Crans-sur-Sierre when its roll of honour has resembled a Who's Who of golf.
Last season saw Omega, the prestige watch maker, take over title sponsorship for the first of a five year agreement, further enhancing their commitment to The European Tour in conjunction with their backing of the Omega Hong Kong Open.
Defending champion this week will be Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez, who made it two in a row for the South American country following Eduardo Romero's victory in the tournament in 2000.
Gonzalez followed Romero's footsteps in leading from start to finish, his 16 under par total of 268 , following rounds of 65-67-68-68, and beating Søren Hansen into second place by three shots.
In doing so, he became the fifth Argentine golfer to win on The European Tour, following Angel Cabrera, José Coceres, Vicente Fernandez and Romero, although the tally was raised to six later that year when Jorge Berendt won the Cannes Open.