Thursday will begin the 50th edition of European Masters. This tournament was part of the European Tour’s first international schedule in 1972 and has since been held except for one omission in 2020, when it was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tournament, as it was first known, was first held in 1923 and was first played in Crans-Montana in 1939 and has been held ever since. This is its 83rd anniversary and 75th edition, with many memorable moments and symbolic winners.
A unique journey
With views of the mountain range and valley below the Plaine Morte glacier and the seventh peak, Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club is located in the Swiss Alps at approximately 1,500 meters above sea level.
(Andy Mueller/FRESHFOCUS/SPORTS PRESS/SPORTS Press)
In the summer, Crans-sur-Sierre is home to a 6,250-metre golf course, but in winter a few meters of snow closes the piste, making it a popular ski destination.
A track record provided
The European Masters trophy has been lifted by big names, including three-time winner Severiano Ballesteros at Crans-Montana. Defensive US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is a two-time winner and the only player to retain his title since the Ballesteros (1978) after his success in the 2017 and 2018 editions.
Severiano Ballesteros at work in Cran.
The current Ryder Cup captain and former world No. 1 Luke Donald was champion in Switzerland in 2004, while the names of other former European leaders such as Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam are engraved on the trophy.
Defending champion Hojgaard
Last year, Rasmus Hojgaard peaked with a final lap of 63 and achieved his third DP World Tour victory at age 20. The Dane started the final day four strokes behind the leaders of the day, but their last six holes were enough to earn a -5 on them.
The victory allowed Hojgaard to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Thomas Bjørn, becoming the second Dane to win the title after his elders’ successes in 2011 and 2013.
Six of the last eight editions of the European Masters have been marked by extra holes, ending four consecutive playoff streaks with Højgaard’s victory twelve months ago. We especially remember the victory of Jean-François Lucquin over Rory McIlroy in the 2008 edition.