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BlogOmega European Masters Preview and Picks

Omega European Masters

September 5 – 8, 2013

Crans-Sur-Sierre

Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $2.9 million

with $478,747 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Richie Ramsay

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 18 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player in the field being #31 Matteo Manassero, #32 Branden Grace, #36 Richard Sterne, #42 Jamie Donaldson, #44 Francesco Molinari and #48 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, .  Here are the other top-100 players in the field: #55 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #58 Thongchai Jaidee, #64 Stephen Gallacher, #65 Paul Lawrie, #66 Thomas Bjorn, #67 Mikko Ilonen, #78 Brett Rumford, #80 Joost Luiten, #83 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #91 Padraig Harrington, #96 Peter Uihlein and #98 Paul Casey.

The field includes 24 of the Top 50 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #4 Ricahrd Sterne, #5 Matteo Manassero, #6 Branden Grace, #7 Brett Rumford, #12 Mikko Ilonen, #14 Stephen Gallacher, #15 Jamie Donaldson, #18 Thongchai Jaidee, #19 Gregory Bourdy, #20 Marc Warren, #22 Joost Luiten, #24 Thomas Bjorn, #25 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #26 Peter Uihlein, #27 Francesco Molinari, #28 Miguel Angel Jimenez,  #29 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, #30 Paul Casey, #33 Thomas Aiken, #36 Tommy Fleetwood, #40 Felipe Aguilar, #42 Pablo Larrazabal, #47 Darren Fichardt,  #49 Richard Santos and #50 Marcus Fraser.

The field includes 9 past champions: Richie Ramsay (2012), Thomas Bjorn (2011), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2010),  Jean-Francois Lucquin (2008), Brett Rumford (2007), Ricardo Gonzalez (2001), Sven Struver (1998), Matthias Gronberg (1995) and Jose Maria Olazabal (1986).

The field includes 16 players that have won on the European Tour this year: Jamie Donaldson (Abu Dhabi), Stephen Gallacher (Dubai Desert Classic), Richard Sterne (Joburg Open), Darren Fichardt (Africa Open), Thomas Aiken (Avantha Masters), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Malaysian Open), Brett Rumford (Ballantine’s & Volvo China Open), Peter Uihlein (Madeira Island Open), Matteo Manassero (BMW PGA Championship), Mikko Ilonen (Nordea Masters), Joost Luiten (Lyoness Open), Simon Thornton (Najeti Hotels Golf Open), Paul Casey (Irish Open),Michael Hoey (Russian Open), Tommy Fleeetwood (Johnnie Walker Gleneagles) and Gregory Bourdy (Wales Open).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Omega European Masters field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Omega European Masters  in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Omega European Masters.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Omega European Masters

Player Handa Wales Open Johnnie Walker Gleneagles PGA Championship Russian Open WGC-Bridgestone British Open Scottish Open French Open Irish Open BMW International Najeti Hotels Open U.S. Open
Gregory Bourdy
(164.67 pts)
Win
(132)
T23
(27)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T64
(0)
T49
(0.33)
T34
(5.33)
DNP
 
T58
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Stephen Gallacher
(134.67 pts)
WD
(-5)
T2
(100)
T61
(0)
DNP
 
T44
(6)
T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T8
(16.67)
T47
(1)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Tommy Fleetwood
(134.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP
 
T65
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(8)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Miguel A. Jimenez
(127.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T29
(28)
DNP
 
T4
(80)
T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
58
(0)
DNP
 
T26
(8)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Joost Luiten
(113.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
T2
(33.33)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Michael Hoey
(112.67 pts)
DNP
 
T28
(22)
DNP
 
Win
(88)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T63
(0)
T32
(6)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Simon Dyson
(110 pts)
T18
(32)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
9
(30)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T12
(12.67)
5
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
Soren Kjeldsen
(107 pts)
3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T31
(6.33)
T8
(16.67)
T18
(10.67)
T68
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Peter Uihlein
(106 pts)
2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T32
(6)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Paul Casey
(101.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T33
(22.67)
DNP
 
T27
(23)
DNP
 
T24
(8.67)
DNP
 
Win
(44)
T53
(0)
DNP
 
T45
(3.33)
Brett Rumford
(101 pts)
T8
(50)
T6
(60)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(9.33)
T35
(5)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Richard Sterne
(100 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
T9
(45)
T21
(19.33)
T31
(6.33)
2
(33.33)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Ricardo Gonzalez
(99.33 pts)
DQ
(-5)
T2
(100)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Scott Henry
(98.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T4
(80)
DNP
 
T44
(4)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T57
(0)
T29
(7)
T22
(9.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T15
(11.67)
DNP
 
Paul Waring
(97 pts)
T18
(32)
T6
(60)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Anders Hansen
(93 pts)
T8
(50)
T17
(33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T38
(4)
T22
(9.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Eduardo De La Riva
(88.67 pts)
T15
(35)
T49
(1)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T15
(23.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Matthew Baldwin
(88.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T65
(0)
T18
(10.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Jamie Donaldson
(83.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
WD
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T17
(33)
T32
(12)
DNP
 
T6
(20)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(12)
Emiliano Grillo
(82 pts)
T18
(32)
T6
(60)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Graeme Storm
(79.33 pts)
T6
(60)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
T32
(6)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(79.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
T38
(12)
T54
(0)
DNP
 
T38
(4)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
Mark Foster
(74.33 pts)
T31
(19)
T28
(22)
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Brooks Koepka
(73.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T28
(22)
T70
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
T12
(12.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(13.33)
DNP
 
Alexandre Kaleka
(70.33 pts)
T43
(7)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T2
(66.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T42
(2.67)
T46
(1.33)
T22
(9.33)
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Omega European Masters

Player Handa Wales Open Johnnie Walker Gleneagles PGA Championship Russian Open WGC-Bridgestone British Open Scottish Open French Open Irish Open BMW International Najeti Hotels Open U.S. Open
Bjorn Akesson
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
Phillip Price
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Keith Horne
(-29.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Jeev Milkha Singh
(-28 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T42
(5.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Fabrizio Zanotti
(-27.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
T42
(2.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Jbe Kruger
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Robert Coles
(-23.33 pts)
T64
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Christian Cevaer
(-23.33 pts)
T68
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Stephen Dodd
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T58
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
 
Jaco Van Zyl
(-21.67 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP
 
72
(0)
DNP
 
T57
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T35
(5)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The tour moves on to Switzerland and the Omega European Masters.  Let me take a few paragraphs to tell you that this is a really a special place and could be one of the most scenic stops in golf.  Of course your going to say that Pebble Beach isn’t bad, but the Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre has a special appeal that makes it as pretty as Pebble.  It’s the Pacific Ocean which makes Pebble so special, at Crans-sur-Sierre it’s the scenic views of the Alps and the mountain tops of the Matterhorm and Mont Blanc that takes your breath away.

Ever since the Golf Channel started showing European Tour golf in the late nineties, I have been a fan of several events but the two that I have loved the most were the Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega European Masters.  Love watching them play golf from Dubai and Switzerland and they became bucket places for me to go visit one day.  Two years ago I had a chance to join my wife on a trip to Switzerland and cross off one of those places off the list, Cans-sur-Sierre.

I saw it for the first time by accident.  I took a train from Venice to Geneva and when the train was traveling between the Alps in the Rhone Valley I saw what looked like structures at the top of one of those 8,000 foot mountains.  The closure I got, the more I realized they were big ten story structures, but by feeble mind didn’t know what they were.  I asked the train conductor and he said it was the ski resort Crans Montana, but that never really registered in my mind that it was the community of Crans-sur-Sierre.  A couple of days later my wife and I journeyed to see Crans-sur-Sierre and that was when it hit me that those buildings that I saw from the train was the site of my bucket list location.

What strikes one about the golf course is that it’s in the middle of town.  It’s much smaller than you can image it being but lovely anyway.  Walking the course you go out to the fourth hole and you feel on top of the world.  I don’t think there is a more prettier hole in all of golf, the hole sits on top of a bluff, looking to the Southwest way above the Rhone Valley with the Alps in front of you.  Just an awesome sight and something that every golfer should experience.

Changes to the Crans-sur-Sierre course:

The history of golf at Crans-sur-Sierra can be traced back to 1905. Arnold Lunn, who owned the Palace Hotel, was persuaded that the pastureland to the west of the hotel was ideal for a golf course. Two Englishmen Freemantle and Gedge were commissioned and the first nine holes were opened in 1906 to be followed by the second nine in 1908.

The golf course was abandoned during World War I but was reopened in 1921 thanks to hoteliers, Elysee Bonvin (Hotel du Golf) and Albert Bonvin (Beausejour). In 1924 the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club was founded, with Rene Payot as its first President. Shortly after the opening, architect Harry Nicholson was commissioned to add improvements.

A large number of greens were remodelled and additional bunkering, thus creating the overall layout at Plan-Bramois which remained unchanged until 1997. In 1995 Severiano Ballesteros was commissioned to make it more challenging to the professionals on the European Tour and even more attractive for the many golfers that visit this resort.

After two redesigns, the course opened with new greens with various contours and slopes, new tee boxes installed and obstacles added or modified.

Last year it was announced that the course would undergo more renovation.  In the first year of a four year project, the 10th, 12th, 13th and 17th holes of the course have been renovated to make the course harder and more gallery friendly.  Water will now come into play at the 10th, 12th and 13th greens making all of them more challenging.  For the 17th hole a stream crosses the 17th fairway about at the landing zone, so drives will have to be more accurate.  With the changes to the 13th green, it now will have room for over 3,000 spectators to look down on the action.

Close to six million dollars is being spent on these changes over the four years, with the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 9th holes getting renovated for next year’s event.

Other sad news from the European Tour:

Seems that Bernhard Gallagher, who was three time captain of the Ryder Cup team including the winning squad in 1995 is fighting for his life in a hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Little is know other than some are saying that he was due to give a after-dinner speech last week in Aberdeen but collapsed before and was rushed to the hospital.  Little is being released but some papers in England are saying it was a heart attack.  Bernard’s nephew Stephen Gallacher, said to the Mirror paper “I understand that he is critical but stable. My family is in disarray at the moment and it is obviously a worrying situation. We are all anxious.”

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Omega European Masters:

Key stat for the winner:

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but three of the last four winners led the greens hit category, Alex Noren in 2009, Thomas Bjorn in 2011 and Richie Ramsay last year.  In 2010 Miguel Angel Jimenez was T32nd while Rory McIlroy, who finished 3rd that year led in greens hit.  So I have to think that hitting a lot of greens is very important for this week.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

Length is not the issue on this course since at just under 6,900 yards it’s one of the shortest on the European Tour.  But of those at the top of the leaderboard the last four years, hitting fairways is important.  The course is tight with a lot of trees running along the fairways, so if you miss the fairway the odds are you will be behind a tree, so yes you have to be straight.

Another thing to think about.  Crans-sur-Sierre is at 5,000 feet so the ball will travel about 10 to 13% further than sea=level courses.  So the 6,900 yard figure is misleading, the course will play closure to 6,200 yards for this year.

Water hazards come into play on 6 holes all of the back nine.  The course does have a lot of undulation and winds do pop up in the afternoon coming up the valley.  Weather can change drastically because of it’s location and several past events have had fog problems.

There are six events left before the four tournament playoff series so this will be a perfect week for many to pick up more race to Dubai money.

The weather looks like it’s going to be wet and very cold all week.  Look at the Weather.com forecast not only is it going to rain but by Sunday it will only be a high of 43, so only the brave apply for this week.  I see the Swedes and those that learn to play golf in Northern Scotland with an advantage over those from Spain.

This is another one of those tournaments that no one player or players have dominated.  So it’s best to look for those that have done well in the last month instead of looking at past performance of this tournament.

Who to watch for at the Omega European Masters

Best Bets:

Joost Luiten

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T27 15 CUT CUT

Dutchman is on a role this summer with a win at the Lyoness Open, T2nd at the Irish Open and T4th last week in Wales. Knows how to play in cold weather, he also has played ok in this event.

Paul Lawrie

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T6 T35 CUT CUT T46 T62 T2

Can’t think of any better of a fowl weather player than Paul, remember how bad it was at the 1999 British Open? Was T6th in this event last year, has not had a top-ten since January and he is overdue.

Peter Uihlein

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Played well last week the only question is can he do well in the cold on a course he has never played in before.

Best of the rest:

Miguel Angel Jimenez

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Hard to believe that he is playing in his 25th Swiss Open. Has the best record of anyone in this event, has a win and a pair of runner-up finishes, hasn’t been out of the top-11 since 2007. The big question however is can he play in the cold and wet weather?

Matteo Manassero

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T34 T18 3 T23

Has had some time off and is fresh and ready to go again.

Paul Casey

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT T37 3 T8 T10 T37

Could be a very good choice, had some success earlier in his career at this event.

Francesco Molinari

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T18 T42 T11 T62 T2 T17

Would like to regain some of his good form that he showed earlier in the year.

Solid contenders

Jaco Van Zyl

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T14 T3

Was T3rd in this event in 2011, still looking to regain his first of the year form.

Richie Ramsay

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
Win 34 CUT CUT

Defending champion is rounding into form after finishing T10th at Gleneagles two weeks ago.

Thomas Bjorn

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
CUT Win T15 CUT T26 T23 WD

Another past champion who is in search of his game that was good at the start of the summer.

Simon Dyson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T27 T16 T60 T7 T32 WD T12 T69 T16 T39 T4

His game is rounding into form plus has had some success in this event.

Long shots that could come through:

Mikko Korhonen

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

A great dark horse pick, has finished T8th, T10th and T10th in his last three starts on the European Tour.

Thongchai Jaidee

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T35 T51 5 T21 T74

Has had some success on this course, but can he play in cold weather?

Danny Willett

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 T25 T42 T23

Looking to improve upon his finish from last week.

Worst Bets:

Stephen Gallacher

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T34 T18 WD T43 T53

Sorry but his mind may be on his uncle in a hospital in Scotland.

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