Steve Todd, europeantour.com, brings you all of the action from behind the scenes at the Omega European Masters, including José María Olazábal’s nod to Seve.
Heaven on Earth
For those of you who have seen the Omega European Masters on television, or been fortunate enough to have visited in person, there is few more picturesque golf courses around the world. Set among the Swiss Alps, Crans-sur-Sierre is simply stunning. After his opening round 65, Paul Casey described the course as ‘heaven on earth’. It is also a photographer’s dream. From the majestic splendour of the seventh hole, surely one of the most photographed in golf, to the new panorama of the revamped 13th hole, Crans-sur-Sierre lays claim to some of the most memorable vistas imaginable.
Richard Heathcote, of Getty Images, has the enviable task of capturing these backdrops in all their glory this week.
“You get the views across the valley to the mountain on the other side and when the light is right, you can get the mountains and it looks fantastic,” he said. “You can get some angles you don’t normally get on a golf course.
“The high altitude light is very different and it looks better. The light is cleaner and it looks crisper. But you also have the Swiss ski lodge look, which echoes the mountains and also make for great photographs.
“The seventh hole is just fantastic. Because the green is elevated you can shoot across so it almost looks like the players are putting on the mountain.
“When it is sunny up here, there is nowhere quite like here. It doesn’t look like a Tour event sometimes. It is so unique. It is a photographer’s dream.”
The Spirit of Seve
José María Olazábal certainly managed to call on the ‘Seve spirit’ when leading Europe to an amazing comeback in last year’s Ryder Cup, and his thoughts were with his friend again during the first round on Thursday. You are seemingly never too far from a Seve Ballesteros memory in Crans, whether it be the pavement stone commemorating his three victories, the giant poster of him on the walk to the course, or the changes he implement to the track itself. But probably the most iconic of all Seve legacies here is the plaque commemorating his remarkable shot on the 18th hole in the final round in 1993. The Spaniard appeared to have no shot, stuck up against a wall to the right of the fairway, but somehow conjured a piece of brilliance, weaving his ball over the wall and through the trees to land just short of the green, before then chipping in. Naturally. Even by Seve’s legendary standard it was a remarkable moment and it provided the inspiration behind The European Tour’s popular Every Shot Imaginable campaign. It also inspired former champion Olazábal on Thursday when his drive found the fairway bunker near to where the plaque recalls Seve’s famous shot.
“I was close by to the plaque and it was a good thing they put those bunkers in there otherwise I would have been up against the wall too,” he said.
For our video remembering Seve’s shot, click here.