The European Tour visits the German city of Pulheim for the BMW International Open this week and we’ve taken a look at five things you need to know…
This year, the BMW International Open celebrates its 30th anniversary as a European Tour event. No other event on the Tour has been held continuously for three decades under the same tournament name and with organiser BMW. It was recently revealed that BMW has extended the agreement to hold the tournament by four years until 2022, and it is set to return to Golfclub München Eichenried next year.
A stellar field is set to tee it up at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof, with Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia and 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood among a stellar field, but the home hopes will be placed on Martin Kaymer. The German is a two-time Major Champion – triumphing at the 2010 US PGA Championship and the 2014 U.S. Open – and is a previous winner of the BMW International Open. The 33 year old secured his second European Tour victory at the 2008 event, defeating Anders Hansen on the first extra hole after a birdie at the 72nd hole forced a play-off.
Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof will play host to the BMW International Open for the fourth time. It was previously the venue for the German Masters for 11 consecutive years from 1998-2009 and measures 7,229 yards. It was designed by 18-time Major Champion Jack Nicklaus in 1996 and is the only course in the country designed by the great of the game.
Bidding for history
When Andres Romero tees it up this week, he’ll be aiming to become the first man to successfully defend a BMW International Open title. Paul Azinger, Thomas Bjørn, Henrik Stenson and Pablo Larrazábal have all won two editions of the event, but never back-to-back. The Argentinean carded five back nine birdies to sign for a closing 65 and a 17 under total last year, finishing one clear of Richard Bland and Thomas Detry, who were a shot back.
The final rehearsal
This week’s BMW International Open is the final tournament before a run of three consecutive Rolex Series events. The likes of Fleetwood, Garcia and Kaymer will be aiming for a good week in preparation for the three Rolex Series events and the ensuing Open Championship which follows, with increased Ryder Cup points on offer in the weeks to come. Every tournament between now and Made in Denmark at the end of August will offer points multiplied by 1.5.