Omega European Masters preview

David Lipsky defends the title at Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps

David Lipsky defends Omega European Masters
David Lipsky defends Omega European Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The European Tour moves on from The Open Championship this week and heads for Switzerland and the Omega European Masters at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre.

Lowdown: The European Tour moves on from The Open Championship this week and heads for Switzerland and the Omega European Masters at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre.

After a Monday finish at St Andrews, many of the players have had little time to catch a breath as they move on to this week’s challenge. High in the beautiful Swiss Alps, a strong field has assembled to contest this event.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Danny Willett will tee it up following their strong showings at The Open. Star names in the field include: Lee Westwood, Patrick Reed of the USA, Jamie Donaldson of Wales and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.

This is one of the European Tour’s oldest tournament venues and has been a fixture on the circuit since the Tour’s inception in 1972. Past winners include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.

In last year’s tournament David Lipsky of the USA won his first European Tour event by defeating England’s Graeme Storm at the first extra hole of a sudden-death playoff.

The event has moved on the schedule this season. It has previously been contested in September. It has moved to July in order to try and attract a stronger field because the event had previously clashed with the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Crans-sur-Sierre has, perhaps, the most spectacular backdrop of any course on the European Tour. The layout dates from 1908, though it was re-designed in the late 1920s then altered by Seve back in 1999.

It’s not a long layout but it requires accurate hitting. If a player can keep the ball on track, good scores are possible. Back in 1992, Jamie Spence shot a 60 in the final round to force a playoff (which he then won) against Anders Forsbrand.

The weather forecast for the week looks unsettled with thunderstorms likely. Don’t be surprised if there’s a disruption to the play. Those who played at St Andrews will be used to that!

Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland Date: Jul 23-26 Course stats: par 70, 6,848 yards Purse: €2,700,000 Winner: €450,000 Defending Champion: David Lipsky (-18)

TV Coverage: Thursday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am Friday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am Saturday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am Sunday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am

Player watch: Sergio Garcia – He’s on great form, as displayed by his fine showing at St Andrews. And he also has form on this course. He won the event in 2005, was third in 2004 and fourth in 2006.

Sergio Garcia swing sequence:

Danny Willett – Another man who will come into this event on the back of a good performance in The Open Championship – he was tied sixth last week. In this tournament last year, Willett fired rounds of 64 and 63 on the weekend to climb into the top five.

Richie Ramsay – The 2012 winner also finished in the top-10 last year. He made the cut last week and has been enjoying a good season.

Key holes: 5-7. Three straight par 4s measuring under 365 yards. The last two could be driveable depending on tee position and wind direction – This should be where players kick-start their rounds with a couple of birdies. However, danger awaits if you get greedy.

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?