2023 Omega European Masters: Preview

Ryder Cup selection is up for grabs as the Omega European Masters on the DP World Tour tees off at Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre in the Swiss Alps.

Played August 31 – September 3, South African Thriston Lawrence is defending his crown after overcoming England’s Matt Wallace in a play-off in 2022.

Located in Crans-Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre is perhaps the most spectacular venue on the DP World Tour schedule.

Played on the Severiano Ballesteros championship course, the tournament founded as the Swiss Open in 1923 has an incredible roster of former champions. Seve himself won it three times, while other winners include José Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Ian Woosnam and Sir Nick Faldo.

Six-way race for final Ryder Cup spot

The Omega European Masters will offer one final chance for several European players to earn an automatic qualification spot on Team Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Three players qualify automatically from the European Points List, and three from the World Points List. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm have already secured their spots in the 12-man team via the European list, and newly crowned FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland via the World list.

Tommy Fleetwood could have qualified via the European list with a win at the Omega European Masters but will not be competing in Switzerland this week. So Fleetwood joins Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Sepp Straka who are all gunning for the two automatic places left on offer via the World Points List.

Once the six automatic places have been decided, Team Europe captain Luke Donald will then name his six Captain’s Picks on Monday 4th September. Those lucky players are more likely to come from the World Points List, with experienced Ryder Cup stars Shane Lowry and Justin Rose just behind those players in the standings.

So, the final automatic spot on offer via the European Points List is even more important and it will come down to six players in the last qualifying event – the Omega European Masters.

After finishing in a six-way tie for fourth place at the D+D REAL Czech Masters, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre retains a slender lead in the European Points List heading to Switzerland over Germany’s Yannik Paul.

MacIntyre and Paul, along with Adrian Meronk, Victor Perez, Rasmus Hojgaard and Adrian Otaegui, all have a chance of claiming that third and final automatic Ryder Cup place. The competition is therefore set to be fierce in the Alps, and it could be a life changing result for one lucky rookie.

Strong field

Six former winners, Thriston Lawrence, Rasmus Hojgaard, Danny Willett, Sebastian Söderberg, Miguel Angel Jimenez and two-time champion Matt Fitzpatrick (2017-18) will play the Omega European Masters in 2023.

Two young stars have also confirmed their participation: Ludvig Aberg from Sweden, who is excelling on the PGA Tour in his first year as a professional, and Alex Fitzpatrick, younger brother of Matt.

Prize money

Purse: €2,500,000
Winner’s share: €416,750

Spectacular and glamorous

Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre in the ski resort of Crans-Montana in the spectacular Swiss Alps is home to the 18-hole Severiano Ballesteros championship course and a superb nine-hole course by Jack Nicklaus.

Founded in 1906, this fantastic golf club is quite possibly the most beautiful setting for a golf event in the world. In 2022 the tournament was attended by George Clooney, while golf fan Justin Timberlake and Cindy Crawford have also paid a visit in the past.

There’s a Pro-Am before the pro event and children (under 18) are admitted free. Spectators can also enjoy VIP treatment and hospitality at the Dent Blanche Lounge and the Matterhorn Village.

Investment at the golf club continues, via its title sponsor Omega since 2001, and new areas for spectators have been created alongside the course, such as the brand new start area which has undergone a major facelift and will now house a large screen and refreshment bar.

Seve’s course

The par-70, 6,890-yard Severiano Ballesteros championship course has jaw-dropping views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. The 7th hole is perhaps its most iconic, with golfers emerging from the 6th green through dense woodland before being treated to one of the most awe-inspiring views in all of golf, with the huge Alps truly breathtaking.

A fairly short par 4 at just 331 yards, the fourth highest peak in the Alps, the Weisshorn, provides a magnificent backdrop to the hole’s infinity green. Go for broke and you may well find the putting surface or fail to make it and a plunging valley down the right-hand side lies in wait.

Seve extensively updated the course in the late 90s and there have been further renovations in the last ten years. Today it’s a technically difficult test which requires a deft touch around the tight, fast and sloping greens which are shaped like upturned saucers.

The fairways are sloping and mostly tree-lined, while the views won’t be the only thing leaving you with a natural high. The altitude means that the ball travels significantly further at this already short course by modern standards.

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