Omega European Masters: Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood in action
Sergio Garcia makes a return to Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland following a nine-year absence with the Spaniard looking to continue his excellent record at the Omega European Masters.
Having finished sixth at this years Open at St Andrews, Garcia leads a stellar line-up.
World No 10 Sergio Garcia extended his streak of playing in 67 sequential majors, the longest active streak in men’s golf, at St Andrews last week and despite a Monday finish, he will be looking forward to the tournament which he won in 2005.
Garcia has finished in the top four in each of his last three visits to Crans, and in the most spectacular of backdrops, he heads into the event in excellent form.
“I played very well in tough conditions at St Andrews, it was a long week so I’m feeling a bit tired now, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to go tomorrow,” he said.
“The date helped me to come back – pretty much as simple as that.
“I enjoy playing here and the house helps but in its original date it was against the FedEx Cup in America so that made it tricky but it’s great to have been able to return.
“I think it’s a fun golf course but not a long course due to the altitude.
“The greens are not very big so if you are hitting your irons well you are going to give yourself a lot of birdie chances.
“It’s totally different to last week, that’s for sure. The weather is fine and the ball is going absolutely miles here compared to going nowhere last week in Scotland.”
Four-time US PGA Tour winner Patrick Reed will be making his first start in continental Europe, along with several Ryder Cup opponents as he goes in search of his first victory in a regular European Tour event.
England’s Danny Willett and Lee Westwood join Wales’ Jamie Donaldson in the field which also includes Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who won the event in 2011 and 2013 and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay as well as Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.
Westwood will be teeing it up at Crans-sur-Sierre for the first time since 2011.
“It’s such a great place here, especially at this time of year,” said the 1999 champion Lee Westwood.
“The change of date is a very good move and the course looks in great condition.
“They’ve made a few changes to the place since I was last here, most notably to the par-three 13th, but they haven’t tampered too much with Seve’s (Ballesteros) redesign.
“The course was a lot easier before Seve made his changes, the greens were much softer and the scoring was very low so it’s quite a stern test these days, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, American David Lipsky will be bidding to become the first player since the late, great Seve Ballesteros in 1978 to retain the title.
“It’s great to be back in Crans as the defending champion, it’s a beautiful part of the world and I couldn’t have picked a better place to win my first European Tour event,” Lipsky told the official European Tour website.
“The win obviously got me a category on The European Tour and also gave me a huge rise up the World Ranking, so it really helped me move to the next level.”
Crans-sur-Sierre holds the high status of being the only venue to host a European Tour event in every season since The European Tour’s inauguration in 1972.