The BMW International Open celebrates its 25th anniversary this week with a return to its spiritual home in Munich.
In 1989, when BMW first became involved in professional golf, Germany was still a divided country, the top scorers in West Germany’s Bundesliga were Thomas Allofs and Roland Wohlfahrt, and Sir Nick Faldo celebrated his first Masters Tournament win.
And Golf Cub München Eichenried hosted the inaugural BMW International Open, marking the start of partnership with The European Tour that would raise the bar and set new standards.
A quarter of a century later the BMW International Open has the honour of the being the tournament with the longest continuous sponsor on The European Tour and players are lining up to win this anniversary edition.
Matteo Manassero, following his success in becoming the youngest winner of BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club last month at the age of 20, is looking to complete a BMW double and win his fifth European Tour title this week.
Martin Kaymer, who won the 20th anniversary edition to become the only German winner of the BMW International Open, leads the home challenge along with Marcel Siem, winner of the Trophée Hassan II in March – his third European Tour title – and Max Kieffer
Kieffer, attached to the European Tour Destination Golf Fleesensee, has shown plenty of promise in his rookie season after graduating from the Challenge Tour last year and narrowly missed out on a maiden title in the nine hole marathon play-off for the Open de España.
Kaymer and Siem are among ten players who made the cut at last week’s US Open who have travelled from Merion to Munich along with former winners David Howell and Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, reigning Open Champion Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Morten Ørum Madsen, Dustin Johnson and John Parry.
Only two players have managed to get their hands on the trophy twice – Paul Azinger, who won in both occasions in a play-off, and Thomas Björn – as the event has thrown up 22 different winners from the 24 previous stagings.
The most recent of those is Danny Willett, who secured his maiden title a year ago after a four hole play-off at Golf Club Gut Lãrchenhof, defeating Marcus Fraser.
Sunday will also mark a significant milestone for one of The European Tour’s most decorated players with 1999 BMW International Open champion and eight time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie turning 50 on June 23.