Europe’s best aim to master Woburn

Ian Poulter hosts the re-established British Masters at Woburn

Ian Poulter hosts British Masters
Ian Poulter hosts British Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The European Tour remains in the UK this week for the welcome return of the British Masters. England’s Ian Poulter hosts the tournament at Woburn in Buckinghamshire

The British Masters was first held in 1946 when South Africa’s Bobby Locke tied with Jimmy Adams of Scotland at Stoneham Golf Club. Over the years there have been some great champions including Peter Thomson, Tony Jacklin, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Justin Rose. The tournament was last contested in 2008 when Gonzalo Fernandez Castano defeated Lee Westwood in a playoff at The Belfry.

After a seven-year hiatus, the tournament is back and will be supported by Sky Sports. Ian Poulter is the host this year and future tournaments will be hosted by Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. The three Englishman will host the event on a rotation.

A superb field has assembled to do battle for this prestigious title. Westwood, Donald and Poulter are joined on the start list by Major champions: Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Paul Lawrie. Last week’s winner Thorbjorn Olesen will tee it up as will the likes of Danny Willett, Jamie Donaldson and Victor Dubuisson.

The tournament will be contested over Woburn’s excellent Marquess course. Opened for play in 2000, the Marquess is the most recent addition to Woburn’s impressive portfolio of courses. The layout is carved through huge mature trees as fairways sweep to large, undulating putting surfaces. This is a track that good drivers of the ball will relish.

The last time the Marquess was used for this event back in 2002, England’s Justin Rose was the champion.

The weather looks to be set fair with dry and relatively mild conditions predicted.

Venue: Woburn Golf Club, Buckinghamshire, England Date: Oct 8-11 Course stats: par 72, 7,214 yards Purse: £3,000,000 Defending Champion: Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (-12) Tournament last held in 2008.

TV Coverage: Thursday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 9am Friday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from 9am Saturday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Sunday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am

Player watch:

Graeme McDowell – The Northern Irishman is playing himself back into form at the end of what has, so far, been a disappointing season by his standards. He played solidly in the Dunhill Links and returned a top-20 finish. He’ll look to close out 2015 strongly.

Graeme McDowell on how to play the 80-yard pitch:

David Horsey - One of the many home players who could contend this week, Horsey has been on good form of late. He won the Made in Denmark back in August, was third in the Russian Open and tied for ninth last week in the Dunhill Links.

Danny Willett – Currently second on the Race to Dubai, Willett could overtake Rory McIlroy with a victory this week. He’s played well all season and could just do it.

Key Hole: 7th. A striking par-5 of 538 yards, players have a choice of two fairways from the tee, either side of a cluster of tall trees. This one should be reachable for most of the players in the field and, as such, it will yield quite a few birdies and probably the odd eagle.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?