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BlogEuropean Masters Preview and Picks

Omega European Masters

August 29th – September 1st, 2019

Crans-Sur-Sierre Golf Club

Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Par: 70 / Yardage: 6,848

Purse: $2.8 million

with $469.634 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matthew Fitzpatrick

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 8 of the top 50 and 17 of the top 100 in the latest Official World Rankings, with the highest rank player in the field being #2 Rory McIlroy.  The other top-100 players in the field are: #13 Tommy Fleetwood, #29 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #30 Matt Wallace, #41 Bernd Wiesberger, #42 Eddie Pepperell, #43 Sergio Garcia, #47 Alex Noren, #53 Lucas Bjerregaard, #56 Lee Westwood, #57 Danny Willett, #70 Rory Sabbatini, #75 Jorge Campillo, #76 Andrea Pavan, #84 Thomas Pieters, #90 Joost Luiten, #97 Benjamin Hebert and #100 Mike Lorenzo-Vera.

Last year there were 15 top-100 and 12 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 11 of the Top 25 on this year’s Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #2 Bernd Wiesberger, #4 Tommy Fleetwood, #5 Matt Wallace, #6 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #9 Erik Van Rooyen, #11 Jorge Campillo, #13 Benjamin Herbert, #15 Robert Macintyre, #18 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, #19 Romain Langasque and #25 Sergio Garcia.

The field includes 12 past champions: Matthew Fitzpatrick (2018 & ’17),Alex Noren (2016 & ’09), Danny Willett (2015), Thomas Bjorn (2013 & ’11), Richie Ramsay (2012), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2010), Brett Rumford (2007), Bradley Dredge (2006), Sergio Garcia (2005), Luke Donald (2004), Robert Karlsson (2002) and Lee Westwood (1999).

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 the 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 Tour Champ. Scandinavian Invitation BMW Champ. Czech Masters The Northern Trust WGC FedEx St. Jude British Open Scottish Open John Deere. Irish Open 3M Open Andalucia Masters BMW Intern.
Rory McIlroy
(406.5 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP T19
(46.5)
DNP T6
(90)
T4
(80)
CUT
(-13.33)
T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(342.33 pts)
T16
(51)
DNP T11
(58.5)
DNP T43
(10.5)
T4
(80)
2
(133.33)
DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(262 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
T20
(40)
T14
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
2
(33.33)
Erik Van Rooyen
(262 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP T20
(40)
T14
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Andrea Pavan
(174.67 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Win
(44)
Thomas Pieters
(138.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T67
(0)
T20
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Sam Horsfield
(133 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
Bernd Wiesberger
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(20)
DNP DNP T32
(24)
Win
(44)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Lee Westwood
(119 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T4
(106.67)
T55
(0)
DNP T23
(9)
DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
Adri Arnaus
(118.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T2
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Willett
(117.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(39)
T48
(2)
T6
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Alex Noren
(108 pts)
DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
T11
(52)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
Rory Sabbatini
(103.5 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(51)
DNP T43
(10.5)
DNP T16
(45.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Robert MacIntyre
(97 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP T6
(80)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
Edoardo Molinari
(94.33 pts)
DNP T75
(0)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T26
(8)
T3
(30)
Dean Burmester
(90.33 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Matthias Schwab
(90 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T3
(30)
Sihwan Kim
(87.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(8)
T21
(9.67)
Troy Merritt
(82.5 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(10.5)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP
Alexander Levy
(78.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Andy Sullivan
(77.67 pts)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T28
(7.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP T13
(12.33)
T26
(8)
Wade Ormsby
(77 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP
Sebastian Soderberg
(70 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
T14
(12)
Gavin Green
(66.67 pts)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T37
(4.33)
Haydn Porteous
(66.67 pts)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T26
(8)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Tour Champ. Scandinavian Invitation BMW Champ. Czech Masters The Northern Trust WGC FedEx St. Jude British Open Scottish Open John Deere. Irish Open 3M Open Andalucia Masters BMW Intern.
Raphael Jacquelin
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Pedro Figueiredo
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Adrian Otaegui
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T20
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Marc Warren
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sam Brazel
(-29.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
David Borda Antonana
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Louis de Jager
(-26.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Joel Girrbach
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T53
(0)
Yusaku Miyazato
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jake McLeod
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This is a special week in golf.  First, there is no PGA Tour event as there is 2 weeks before the start of the 2020 season begins at the Greenbrier.  With that, this is the big event of the year and it’s nice to see it on the schedule by itself.  This event played in Switzerland has always had a tough time.  Since it’s up high in the 8,000-foot range, they can’t play it much later than the last week in September because of it getting cold.  So for years, it was always a September staple, but that use to be a bad month with the FedExCup playoffs happening.  Now it’s in the last week of August and a perfect time just after the FedEx Cup playoffs.  The big surprise two players from the Tour Championship, Rory McIlory and Tommy Fleetwood made the 4,000-mile journey to play in this event.

With Rory McIlroy winning at East Lake it brings up a tough question, who is the Player of the Year?  After winning the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Classic it was a foregone conclusion that Brooks Koepka won it.  With his win in Memphis along with the PGA Championship and we tend to forget he won the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges back in October.  On top of the win at Bethpage, he was runner-up in both the Masters and U.S. Open and 4th at the British Open, which is a remarkable major season.  But after winning the Tour Championship and claiming the FedExCup playoffs, many think it should be Rory.  On top of his season-ending win, he also was the champion at the Players Championship, which is very close to a major and also won in Canada.  Now on points in the PGA of America system McIlroy will win the Player of the Year handily.  But the majors aren’t counted highly in that ranking so we go back to the question, who is the Player of the Year.  Frankly, if it was me, I would give it to both players.  In rationally thinking about it, in my mind I think it was a draw, enough points for both players that really don’t give anyone an edge.  Now if you tell me I can only pick one, have to give it to McIlroy just on the fact that he played better in most of the PGA Tour events than Brooks did, still Rory played terrible in the majors his best finish was a T-8th at the PGA Championship.

Update on Tiger Woods, yes he had a physical problem the last couple of months

We know now why Tiger has played so poorly since his Masters win.  Last week Tiger was in Park CIty, Utah and had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee to repair minor cartilage damage.   It’s his fifth knee procedure on that left knee and is probably one of the reasons for his poor play.  Woods has always been guarded with telling the public anything about his personal life and this is probably another occasion.  The only problem, it seems like this was a minor fix for something that was bothering him, but by keeping quiet the media and social media started rumors on everything from his back being screwed up to aliens having overtaken his body after winning the Masters.

The doctor that did the procedure, Dr. Vern Cooley said he examined the entire knee and found no other problems and Tiger should make a full recovery.  Tiger has said now that he is walking now and will resume practice in the next few weeks and looking forward to playing in Japan in October.

One of the best events in golf

The European tour moves on to Switzerland and the Omega European Masters.  Let me take a few paragraphs to tell you that this is 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 was the Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega European Masters.  Love watching them play golf from Dubai and Switzerland, so much that both became bucket places for me to go visit one day.  In 2011 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 my 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 were 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 imagine 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.

One last thing, taking next week off

In looking at next week’s schedule there is just the Porsche European Open and it doesn’t have a great field.  So between that and going to the beach for Labor Day, we had a chance to extend the trip longer and I will be on the beach next week instead of doing a preview.  Looking forward to the peace and relaxation along with not opening the computer for a week.  Now the site will get updated and we will have performance charts next week, just no preview.  We will be back the following week for the first event of the 2020 year, A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.

History of Crans-sur-Sierre and changes to the course over the years:

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 remodeled 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 drivers 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 the 2015 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 a 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 was spent on these changes over the four years and since 2015 the course has played pretty much the same.

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

The key stat for the winner:

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but in the last ten years that stats have been available for the European Masters, 3 of the winners have led that category (Alex Noren in 2009, Thomas Bjorn in 2011 and Richie Ramsay in 2012).  Now three other winners have been in 2nd in this category (David Lipsky in 2014, Danny Willett in 2015 and Mathew Fitzpatrick in 2018.).

I would still say that greens hit is an important category because even though Alex Noren was T-26th in greens hit when he won in 2016, for the year he was 18th on the European Tour.  So 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 6,850 yards its one of the shortest on the European Tour.  But of those at the top of the leaderboard the last ten years, hitting fairways has mixed results with four players in the top-ten, with last year’s champion Matthew Fitzpatrick leading that stat.  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 8,000 feet so the ball will travel about 10 to 15% 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.  For this year the weather will be nice the first two days with highs in the mid-60s and no rain.  But the weekend will be dreadful, with showers and temperatures in the high 60s but there is going to be a lot of rain on Sunday and Monday.  So look for a sturdy winner that can play under all conditions.

There are ten events left before the three tournament playoff series so this will be a perfect week for many to pick up more Race to Dubai points.

Who to watch for at the Omega European Masters

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T3 T7 2

After winning last week he is on a high, yes he had to travel over 4,000 to get here, but how tough could it be in your own private jet? Some may think he is tired, I say no he has played well in the past in this event and will play well this week.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win Win T7 2 CUT

Will be going for the “hat-trick” and I can say he has a great shot at it. He is a back to back winner in Switzerland, but more importantly, his game is spot on after finishing 2nd last week and T-4th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude.

Tommy Fleetwood

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T49 CUT T5 T9 T19

Didn’t play well the last two weeks in America and travelled 4,000 miles plus to get her, but this place is good for his game.

Best of the rest:

Lee Westwood

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T12 T54 4 T37 T6 T23 T6

Loves to play in this event and usually does well.

Bernd Wiesberger

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T41 T31 T13 T6 CUT

Is now injury-free and playing great, Crans-sur-Sierra is a great course for him.

Danny Willett

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T59 CUT T12 Win T5 T26 T2 T25 T42 T23

Past champion ready to break out has played great this summer.

Alex Noren

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T6 Win T27 T9 CUT Win CUT T66

Great record in this event, yes 2019 has been a terrible year for him but could be breaking out of it.

Solid contenders

Erik Van Rooyen

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T35

One of the players that have come out of the limelight and become a start. Won last week, look for a good week out of him in Switzerland.

Matt Wallace

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T51 T70

Another of these young stars hasn’t played great over the summer, hasn’t played great in this event but believe this could be a very good week for him.

Andrew Johnston

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T35 3 CUT

Has had a solid summer and could be ready to pop out this week.

Wu Ashun

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T6 T9

Good record in this event but has struggled most of the summer.

Sihwan Kim

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T66

A person that could break out this week.

Long shots that could come through:

Adri Arnaus

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Has had a great summer with two runner-up finishes, has never played in this event but has the game to play well.

Hideto Tanihara

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T6

One of these new young studs that has played well and could win at any time, was T-6th last year.

Sam Horsfield

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT

Has had a solid summer and could be the type of player to break out this week.

Worst Bets:

Sergio Garcia

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
6

Nothing shows that he is ready to break out of this slump.

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