Miguel Angel Jiménez will be hoping his intimate knowledge of Prosper Golf Resort will give him an advantage over his rivals at the Moravia Silesia Open presented by ALO Diamonds this week.
Jiménez co-designed both the Old and New Courses at Prosper Golf Resort, and when the first European Tour event in the Czech Republic for 12 years gets underway on the Old Course on Thursday, the Spaniard will be bursting with pride for it will be the first European Tour event to be played on one of his creations.
He will be joined by the likes of last week’s SAS Masters champion Ricardo Gonzalez, David Howell, Pablo Larrazabal, Thomas Levet and Chris Wood, who finished joint third in The Open Championship on his last outing two weeks ago, one short of the play-off with Stewart Cink and Tom Watson.
Jiménez has been in fine form of late, having been in contention at The Open Championship before finishing joint 13th, and sharing fourth place at the BMW International Open in late June. His last Tour victory was the BMW PGA Championship in May 2008.
"I am really delighted that The European Tour is staging the tournament at the Prosper Golf Resort,” said Jiménez. “It is very exciting for me and a great honour as this was my first co-design project.
“It's a challenging course but hopefully everyone will enjoy playing it. I am very much looking forward to returning to Celadná myself."
The home supporters will also be able to cheer on Czech-born four-time European Tour winner Alex Cejka, who was born in Marienbad and left the country with his parents as a refugee at the age of nine before settling in Germany.
Cejka has previously won in the Czech Republic when he claimed the KB Challenge on the Challenge Tour in 1997 and earlier this year he led The Players Championship on the US PGA Tour after three rounds.
“I always like coming back to the Czech Republic,” said Cejka. “Everyone will be thinking I should win it and of course I will be trying to, but anything can happen in golf.
“It will be special and I will be a little nervous, but I am nervous before any tournament.”
Ryder Cup player Jiménez, who has won 15 European Tour titles, designed the two hilly courses, which opened in 2001 and 2003 respectively, with accuracy in mind as narrow tree-lined fairways are typical. Both the Old Course and the New Course are cocooned within the Beskydy Mountains, offering stunning views and featuring testing holes, including the island green on the 15th.
The event was contested on the satellite Alps Tour last year but returns to The European Tour this season with a prize fund of €2,000,000 in one of the most prosperous areas of the Czech Republic. The Moravia Silesia region is a burgeoning golf and tourist destination and its inclusion in the tournament’s official name is in recognition of the support local companies offer.
On display at the Moravia Silesia Open will be the world’s most expensive golf ball, made from white gold and decorated with thousands of white diamonds. There will also be a golden pin to be auctioned for charity, and a diamond gift for VIP guests. And any player lucky enough to bag a hole in one at the par three third during the preceding Pro-Am will win a luxurious diamond jewel from ALO Diamonds.