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BlogEuropean Masters Preview and Picks

Omega European Masters

September 4 – 7, 2014

Crans-Sur-Sierre Golf Club

Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Par: 70 / Yardage: 6,881

Purse: $2.94 million

with $468,646 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Thomas Bjorn

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 17 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player in the field being #22 Victor Dubuisson.  The other top-100 players in the field are: #26 Thomas Bjorn, #28 Jamie Donaldson, #34 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #47 Mikko Ilonen, #61 Shane Lowry, #65 Bernd Wiesberger, #68 Pablo Larrazabal, #69 Marc Warren, #73 Brooks Koepka, #75 Matteo Manassero, #77 George Coetzee, #91 Fabrizio Zanotti, #94 Anirban Lahiri, #95 Tommy Fleetwood, #97 Hennie Otto and #98 Thorbjorn Olesen. Last year there were 18 top-100 players in the field so no gain this year.

(Updated Rankings)

The field includes 28 of the Top 50 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #4 Ricahrd Sterne, #3 Thomas Bjorn, #4 Jamie Donaldson, #8 Victor Dubuisson, #14 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #15 Mikko Ilonen, #17 Shane Lowry, #20 Marc Warren, #23 Kristoffer Broberg, #24 Pablo Larrazabal #25 Alexander Levy, #26 George Coetzell, #27 Fabrizio Zanotti, #30 Edoardo Molinari, #31 Bernd Wiesberger, #33 Tommy Fleetwood, #35 RObert Karlsson, #37 Hennie Otto, #38 Danny Willett, #39 Thomas Aiken, #40 Matteo Manassero, #41 Ross Fisher, #42 Michael Hoey, #43 Andy Sullivan, #44 Matthew Baldwin, #45 Brooks Koepka, #46 Romain Wattel, #47 David Howell and #48 Marcel Siem.

The field includes 10 past champions: Thomas Bjorn (2013 & ’11), Richie Ramsay (2012), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2010),   Brett Rumford (2007), Bradley Dredge (2006), Robert Karlsson (2002), Ricardo Gonzalez (2001), Sven Struver (1998), Matthias Gronberg (1995) and Jose Maria Olazabal (1986).

The field includes 18 players that have won on the European Tour this year: Morten Orum Madsen (South African Open), Miguel A. Jimenez (Hong Kong & Open de Espana), Thomas Bjorn (Nedbank), Pablo Larrazabal (Abu Dhabi), Stephen Gallacher (Dubai Desert Classic), George Coetzee (Joburg Open), Thomas Aiken (Africa Open), Ross Fisher (Tshwane Open), Marco Crespi (NH Collection), Alexander Levy (Volvo China Open), Felipe Aguilar (Championship at Laguna National),  Daniel Brooks (Madeira Island Open), Mikael Lundberg (Lyoness Open), Mikko Ilonen (Irish Open), Fabrizio Zanotti (BMW International), Marc Warren (Made in Denmark) Jamie Donaldson (Czech Masters) and Hennie Otto (Open D’Italia)

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 Open D’Italia Czech Masters The Barclays Made in Denmark Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. Russian Open Canadian Open British Open Scottish Open French Open
Marc Warren
(239 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T15
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
3
(30)
T26
(8)
Bradley Dredge
(204 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(193 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(34.67)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T5
(23.33)
Hennie Otto
(143 pts)
Win
(132)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Soren Kjeldsen
(132 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
T18
(10.67)
Scott Jamieson
(130.67 pts)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(16.67)
T18
(10.67)
David Howell
(123.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
T35
(5)
T35
(5)
Thomas Bjorn
(123 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
T24
(8.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Victor Dubuisson
(119.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(73.33)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
T48
(0.67)
Kristoffer Broberg
(112 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
2
(33.33)
T12
(12.67)
Bernd Wiesberger
(103.67 pts)
6
(60)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T41
(3)
T18
(10.67)
Craig Lee
(95 pts)
T35
(15)
T13
(37)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
David Lipsky
(92 pts)
T24
(26)
T19
(31)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
S.S.P. Chowrasia
(90 pts)
T24
(26)
T39
(11)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(83.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP
Shiv Kapur
(82.33 pts)
T14
(36)
T52
(0)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
T18
(10.67)
Rikard Karlberg
(80 pts)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mikko Ilonen
(78 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(73.33)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(11.33)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(76 pts)
T24
(26)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
75
(0)
DNP
Lee Slattery
(75 pts)
T7
(55)
T30
(20)
DNP T76
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
T45
(1.67)
Richie Ramsay
(75 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
Stuart Manley
(71.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T23
(27)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Willett
(70 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T11
(13)
DNP
Paul Waring
(68.67 pts)
DNP T19
(31)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
T59
(0)
Mikael Lundberg
(66.33 pts)
DNP T30
(20)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T48
(0.67)
T48
(0.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Open D’Italia Czech Masters The Barclays Made in Denmark Wyndham Champ. PGA Champ. WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. Russian Open Canadian Open British Open Scottish Open French Open
Justin Walters
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DQ
(-1.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Thomas Levet
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jose-Filipe Lima
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
John Parry
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Daniel Brooks
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Berry Henson
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Padraig Harrington
(-33.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T27
(7.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jeev Milkha Singh
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 77
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Mathias Gronberg
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brett Rumford
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

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 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 Matterhorn 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 to Switzerland,  they became bucket places for me to go visit one day.  Three 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 closer 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  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 prettier hole in all of golf, the hole sits on top of the 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, Elysée Bonvin (Hotel du Golf) and Albert Bonvin (Beauséjour). In 1924, the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club was founded, with René 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 that 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.
  • In 2013, 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.
  • For this year’s tournament all the bunkers on the front none were updated and fairways at 1, 2 and 4 rebuilt.  The 9th hole has been redone with a new green that will be able to handle more people and be more attractive.  The 5th hole has been lengthened by 25 years so it won’t be pushover as it was in past years.  One other major change, the 14th hole had 38 yards taken off, and par reduce from 71 to 70.  The hole will be a brute at 559 yards.
  • Close to six million dollars is being spent on these changes over the four years.

Ryder Cup news:

As of writing this on Monday three is no news since both teams wild card picks will come on Tuesday.  For the European Tour it looks like captain McGinley will pick three of these four, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher.  The odds on favorite is Poulter, Donald and Westwood,  based on their experience.  Only problem, of these three none of them are playing worth a damn.  Have provided links of all their records, and you can see that Gallacher is the only one of the four that has top-ten finishes since the U.S. Open (he has three).  As for Poulter, Donald and Westwood combined their best finish in the weeks since the U.S. Open is T-15th as the three together only have four top-25 finishes.  I see Poulter has an easy pick because he has come through in every Ryder Cup.  I see Gallacher as a pick not only because of the way he has played, but he is Scottish, lives 40 miles from Gleneagles and has an impressive record in the Johnnie Walker Championship which is played on the same course the Ryder Cup is being played on.  So in my book he is also a show-in.  As for Donald and Westwood, I would probably pick Westwood just because he has more experience in the Ryder Cup, hits the ball longer which gives him an advantage over Donald.  But many say that Westwood has not played well for over a year and he will be the man out.

UPDATE:

Guess I got it right with Captain McGinley picking Poulter, Gallacher and Westwood.   It’s the right picks and of course you always have to disappoint someone and that was Luke Donald.  Be interesting to see how he does in the coming weeks, since he didn’t make it into the BMW there is no way to show off McGinley by winning.

I have the early odds that the European team is a really big favorite for the Ryder Cup, I tend to agree that they have the American team overmatched as of now.  Lot’s can change in three weeks.

Guess time will tell. Oh for all of you that are interested in the history of the Ryder Cup, Golfstats has put together the only database in being able to get information on every player that has participated in the matches and every result. Not only is ours the only database on the Web, you can also sort each player to see how he has done in each format, with his partners and how he has fared among the players he has been in matches which.

For more try our our Ryder Cup database here:

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 five winners led the greens hit category, Alex Noren in 2009, Thomas Bjorn in 2011 and Richie Ramsay in 2012.  In 2010 Miguel Angel Jimenez was T32nd while Rory McIlroy, who finished 3rd that year, led in greens hit.  In 2013 Thomas Bjorn won while finished T-17th in greens hit while Ross Fisher, who finished T-5th hit the most greens.  The point in all of this, those that are sharp on shots into the greens usually finish very high in the standings.  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 an issue on this course since at just under 6,900 yards its 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 its location and several past events have had fog problems.

There are eight 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.  Looking at the long range forecast on Weather.com is for it raining hard on Sunday.  Another problem, all week the thermometer won’t climb above 55 degrees, so those that are use to cold weather like Bjorn will play well.

Yes Thomas Bjorn has won this twice in the last three years.  But as a rule this is 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:

Jamie Donaldson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T9 T3 T23 CUT WD CUT WD T18

On a high going into this week, Donaldson has the best record of late and has a couple of top-ten’s at Crans-Sur-Sierre.

Bradley Dredge

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT CUT 2 T55 3 Win T15 T20 T4

Game has been red-hot in two starts in August, he also finished runner-up in Switzerland so a very good choice.

Thomas Bjorn

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win CUT Win T15 CUT T26 T23

Can’t go wrong with him after the way he has played here the last couple of years.

Best of the rest:

Miguel A. Jimenez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5 T11 T9 Win 4 T3 CUT T37 T13 2 T8 63

The most interesting man in the world returns to one of his favorite places. Never under estimate this guy due to his age, he has a very good chance of winning this week.

Victor Dubuisson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
3 T49 CUT

Starting to get ready for the Ryder Cup, he has played well in this event finishing 3rd last year.

Brooks Koepka

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T7

Played great last year which shows he can play the course under bad conditions. His game hasn’t been very consistent other than playing well at the U.S. Open and PGA, signs that he can play well on a tight course like this.

Marc Warren

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T55 CUT T9 CUT CUT CUT T4 CUT

Won just a couple of weeks ago, has played well here twice.

Solid contenders

Matteo Manassero

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T34 T34 T18 3 T23

Looking to turn around what has been a sub-par year for him.

Soren Kjeldsen

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T54 CUT T32 CUT T48 T4 CUT WD

Playing well and could be a factor this week.

Ross Fisher

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5 T64 CUT CUT

Finished T-5th last year, he could go on a roll in the Swiss Alps.

Bernd Wiesberger

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 CUT

Always know he will play well, just a pick in the dark if he can win this week.

Long shots that could come through:

Danny Willett

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T26 T2 T25 T42 T23

Was runner-up two years ago, another great longshot pick.

Tommy Fleetwood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T19

Was T-9th here last year.

Maximilian Kieffer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T13

Also played well last year.

Comments

  1. Romain Wattel is showing signs of form again and has a second place finish to his name here.

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