Miguel Angel Jiménez will attempt to create golfing history in Munich this week by becoming the first player to successfully defend his BMW International Open title at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenried.
The 41 year old Spaniard was in imperious form 12 months ago when he claimed his fourth title of a hugely impressive season, four rounds in the 60s giving him a 21 under par total of 267 and a two shot victory over Frenchman Thomas Levet.
Now Jiménez will return to Munich in search of a golfing first. Both Paul Azinger (1990 and 1992) and Thomas Björn (2000 and 2002) have won the title twice, but never in succession. However, Jiménez will face stiff competition in his quest to rewrite the record books.
Once again, one of the strongest fields of the season has assembled at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenried to compete for the record prize fund of €2 million, with the international flavour of the tournament title helped by the appearance of players from South America, Australasia, Asia and America, the latter in the imposing shape of John Daly.
The winner of The 1995 Open Championship at St Andrews is always a popular figure with spectators wherever he competes and never was that truer than at Golfclub München Nord-Eichenried in 2001 when he held off the brave challenge of Padraig Harrington in a thrilling battle.
Daly’s birdie at the last gave him victory by a shot and, had it not been for the preferred lies in operation that year, the 39 year old American’s remarkable 27 under par total of 261 would have been the lowest in the history of The European Tour.
Harrington will play again this year, as will his compatriot Paul McGinley, who performed so admirably in last week’s World Golf Championships – NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
The 38 year old pushed Tiger Woods all the way before having to settle for a share of third place, two shots adrift of the World Number One, but will be sure to use the experience of being involved in the heat of battle in a world event to good use should he be in the mix come Sunday night in Germany.
It was a fine week overall for The European Tour contingent in Ohio and the two Englishman who finished in a share of sixth place – Luke Donald and David Howell – will also make the trip to Munich.
Donald finished with a final round 67 while Howell showed once and for all he is over the rib muscle injury which had seen him out of action for two months before he made his competitive comeback in the US PGA Championship two weeks ago with four excellent rounds at Firestone, none of which was over par.
“I was really pleased with the way I played over the week at Firestone,” he said. “Sure I hit the odd loose shot here and there but overall I was delighted and I am looking forward to moving forward to Munich.
“I’ve done well here and this performance has put me on the fringes of getting into the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club next month. So hopefully another good showing in the BMW International Open can seal that deal.”