The European Tour returns to Crans-Sur-Sierre this week for the Omega European Masters. Here are your five things to know.
Making a return
The European Tour returns to the famously picturesque Crans-Sur-Sierre for the Omega European Masters this week,a truly historic event which has produced some legendary winners and iconic moments.
Last year marked the first time the tournament – which first began in 1905 – was not been part of the official schedule since the European Tour’s inception in 1972, as it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A star-studded field returns this time around as Sebastian Soderberg aims to defend the title he won in 2019.
The picturesque mountain views of Crans Montana offer an exquisite setting for the Omega European Masters, an event which boasts a list of winners that would be be the envy of many.
Those on the illustrious roll of honour include the late, great Seve Ballesteros and 15-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjørn, as well as numerous Major Champions such as Sir Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett.
During the last edition of the Omega European Masters in 2019, Sebastian Soderberg earned his maiden European Tour title in the most dramatic circumstances.
The Swede was the only man to make a birdie on the first hole of sudden death at Crans-sur-Sierre, coming out on top after a five-man playoff that included Rory McIlroy.
He returns to Austria to defend following a top 20 finish at last week’s D+D REAL Czech Masters, where he briefly sat atop the leaderboard, and is excited to be back.
“It’s wonderful to be back, this course is special,” said Soderberg. “Playing at this altitude with all of the upslopes and downhills, it’s a different experience and it’s definitely nice to be back.
“I finally feel like I’ve finally played some good golf (this season). I don’t think it was great for me to be leading last week in Czech Republic heading into this event. I haven’t played the weekend since May, so I had to deal with a few more emotions than I have in a while. I was a little rusty there I would say, but as much as you can put yourself in that position and gain from the experience the better. I’m definitely happy feeling those things coming into this week.”
Beautiful Crans Montana
With views up to the Pleine Morte Glacier and across the mountain ranges and valley below the seventh tee, Crans-sur Sierre Golf Club sits high amongst the snow-capped Swiss Alps at almost 5,000ft above sea level. Its signature hole is the 13th, an amphitheatre for spectators as they take in all the drama on the par 70, 6,848-yard golf course. The picturesque surroundings provide incredible views for golfers and fans alike.
Crans-sur Sierre closes under several feet of snow in the winter months and becomes a popular ski resort, however summer provides perfect playing conditions for some of the world’s best golfers.
A recent trend of play-offs
Never a place short of dramatic finishes, there have been six play-offs in the last seven years at Crans-sur-Sierre.
Former Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn is one of seven players to have won this event on multiple occasions, and he did for a second time in 2013 after emerging victorious from a play-off against Scotland’s Craig Lee. David Lipsky then won the following year in a play-off of his own against Graeme Storm.
And in the two years before Soderberg lifted his first European Tour trophy, Matt Fitzpatrick came out on top in consecutive play-offs – defeating Scott Hend in 2017 and Lucas Bjerregaard in 2018. Fitzpatrick had also finished as the runner up to Danny Willett in 2015, while Hend was beaten in a play-off in 2016 by Alex Noren.