From Thomson and Trevino to Norman and Langer, what was known for decades as the Dunlop Masters helped shape professional golf in Europe.

Beginning in 1946 and lasting until 1982, the rubber company attached its name to the event which was considered one of the most prestigious in the game.

However, the tournament fell on hard times and was mothballed from 2009 to 2014 because of a lack of a sponsor.

It was 2015 when the Tour had the idea to attach a leading British Player’s name to the tournament each year and while it will likely never reach its previous dizzying heights it has once again become a mainstay on the DP World Tour.

RIGHT: Richard Bland celebrates finally getting his first European Tour win at this event in 2020. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images​.

Danny Willett is this year’s host for the second straight year with the tournament being played at The Belfry, also for the second consecutive year.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Richard Bland was one of the best stories of 2021, breaking through for his first Tour title at age 48 and in his 478th start.

Bland defeated Italy’s Guido Migliozzi in a play-off for the title after both finished at 13-under.

Migliozzi had the chance to win the tournament outright in the closing stages but missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 17th before making an impressive up and down from a greenside bunker at the last to force extra time.

COURSE: Four times a Ryder Cup host, The Belfry is one of England’s best-known courses and home to some historic feats.

The iconic holes here are the short par-4 10th (made famous by Seve Ballesteros who drove across the water to the putting surface in the 1985 Ryder Cup) and the difficult par-4 18th, site of Christy O’Connor’s 2-iron to tap-in range to defeat Fred Couples in 1989.

Built on a former potato farm near Birmingham, the course has received some harsh criticism over the years though is generally accepted to be a pleasant-if-nothing-special layout.

Apart from the two standout holes, there is little else of architectural note though the course does provide a solid test for a professional field.

The 18th at The Belfry with its tiered green is always home to plenty of excitement. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

Historically, winning scores have been in the 10-under to 15-under-par range here and there is little reason to think that will change this week.

At 6,700 metres it isn’t short but as shown by last year’s result it also doesn’t unduly reward long hitting.

Players of average length who strategically plot their way around have done well here over the years and should lead to another competitive event this week.

RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week

PRIZEMONEY: GBP1,850,000

PLAYERS TO WATCH: After an awful start to 2022, tournament host and 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett has played some decent golf of late.

He finished just four shots out of the play-off here last year and showed signs of life at last month’s Masters with a T12 result so while not setting the world on fire could be a threat.

While the course doesn’t favour long hitters it doesn’t punish them either and one player in that category who has been playing nicely of late is Ryan Fox.

The New Zealander won in the Middle East in February and was top-10 in Spain last week sandwiching a T15 result in between.

History is literally in the ground at this week's host venue. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images..

While one of the longer hitters in Europe he can also sometimes be one of the more wayward and a course that forces the driver out of his hands might be a positive.

His results suggest all other parts of his game are in good shape and a win on the mainland is not out of his reach.

While he won’t attract a lot of attention from the bookies Poland’s Adrian Meronk may also be worth keeping an eye on this week.

He’s had back-to-back T3 finishes his last two starts (admittedly a month apart) and was third here last year so likes the course.

Yet to win at this level, he has proved he has the tools to do so and a breakthrough victory is not out of the question this week.

72-HOLE RECORD: 273 (-15, Lee Westwood 2007)

PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Norman von Nida (1948), Peter Thomson (1961, 1968), Graham Marsh (1979), Greg Norman (1981, 1982) and Robert Allenby (1996).

AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Jason Scrivener, Wade Ormsby, Maverick Antcliff and Zach Murray.

TV TIMES*
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 10.30pm –3.30am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 11.30pm – 3.30am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 10.30pm – 3am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 10pm – 2.30am)
*AEST, check local guides