KLM Open: Who will be the Dutch Master?

Martin Kaymer and Tom Watson are on the start list at Kennemer G&CC

Martin Kaymer will play KLM Open
Martin Kaymer will play KLM Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The European Tour heads for Holland where a strong field, including Martin Kaymer and Tom Watson, will do battle for the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC.

Although some of Europe’s very best players are in the USA for the FedEx Cup playoffs, an impressive cast list has gathered in Zandvoort to contest this historic tournament over the seaside (and often breezy) layout at Kennemer.

Two-time Major champion and former winner of this event, Martin Kaymer is on the start sheet. So too are a number of former Ryder Cup stars like Darren Clarke, Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn. Talented English players Tommy Fleetwood and Eddie Pepperell will tee it up, together with Scottish wind specialists Richie Ramsay and Paul Lawrie and home favourite Joost Luiten.

Opened in 1927, the seaside course at Kennemer is the work of the ubiquitous designer Harry Colt. It has a links feel and wind is always a factor here.

It’s this brilliant old course that has attracted a number of star players to the event. Links specialist and golf course connoisseur Tom Watson is one of those keen to see the Colt classic.

“The reputation of Kennemer made my decision to play an easy one really,” he said. “It’s a world top-100 track and I just hope my old game is up to the task of playing such a wonderful course.”

The Dutch Open was first contested back in 1912 when Englishman George Pannell was victorious. Since then many famous professionals have claimed the title including - J.H Taylor, Bobby Locke, Roberto De Vicenzo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie.

Last year Paul Casey held off the challenge of fellow Englishmen Simon Dyson, Andy Sullivan and Eddie Pepperell to claim his 13th European Tour title.

Simon Dyson is something of a specialist in this tournament. He has won it three times (2006, 2009 and 2011,) he was third in 2013 and second last year. But he won’t be able to add to that impressive tally of results this time. He’s out for the rest of the season following an operation on his wrist.

As expected at this tournament, the weather forecast suggests it could be windy this week. That could make things interesting and will have some players licking their lips, while others will find themselves licking their wounds.

Venue: Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, The Netherlands Date: Sep 10-13 Course stats: par 70, 6,626 yards Purse: €1,800,000 Winner: €300,000 Defending Champion: Paul Casey (-14)

TV Coverage: Thursday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am Friday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am Saturday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm Sunday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am

Player watch: Tommy Fleetwood – The talented Englishman has been quiet of late and hasn’t played on the European Tour since the USPGA Championship. But he’s got the game to tame this tricky course and has never missed the cut in this event.

Soren Kjeldsen – A superb wind player, Kjeldsen will relish the challenge here if the breeze picks up. He won this year’s Irish Open at Royal County Down in extremely challenging conditions. He was tied for second in his last outing – the Made in Denmark tournament.

Soren Kjeldsen on how to hit the draw:

Eddie Pepperell – He finished well in this event last year (fourth) and has proved he can cope with the elements. He was tied second in the Irish Open and tied fourth in the Scottish Open.

Key Hole: 16th. At 473 yards this long par 4 actually plays as a par 5 for the members. A fade is the ideal shot from the tee but you’ll then be left with a long approach to a narrow green cut into the dunes.

Skills Required: Wind play. A links-style course on the Dutch coast, Kennemer tends to be buffeted by strong winds. The winner here will have good control over his ball flight and will be able to shape his shots both ways.

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?