A charter flight from San Diego and BMW courtesy cars waiting on the tarmac has helped the BMW International Open in Germany assemble a quality field, including US Open runner-up Louis Oosthuizen. Here is everything to know about this week’s European Tour event.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: One of the many tournaments cancelled due to COVID-19 last year, the BMW International Open was last won by Italian Andrea Pavan in 2019. Pavan came home in 66 on the final day to finish level with England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick. Pavan the winner after a birdie four on the second play-off hole.
COURSE: A host of this event in excess of 20 times, the Munich Eichenried Golf Club opened in 1989, the same year the BMW International Open began on its grounds, with David Feherty the winner amongst an elite field.
Measuring 7,283 yards this week and playing to a par of 72, Kurt Rossknecht added an additional nine holes to his original 18 in 2002, with water hazards a consistent feature across the property. Delivering exceptional conditioning each year the European Tour visits, the club’s par-5 18th inevitably creates drama throughout the week.
PRIZEMONEY: EUR 1,500,000.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Impossible to not include Louis Oosthuizen on this list after his efforts last week at Torrey Pines in the US Open.
The South African major winner recorded a second straight, and sixth overall, runner-up result at a major in San Diego behind Jon Rahm having played very steady golf all week, with his worst play showing up late Sunday.
Much has been said and written about Oosthuizen’s inability to close out a major win when in the hunt in the days since, but one thing is certain, the 2010 Open champion is playing well and will be desperate to add another trophy to his mantle piece.
RIGHT: Andrea Pavan poses with the trophy and a fair sized bottle of quality bubbles in 2019 after beating Matt Fitzpatrick in sudden death. PHOTO: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.
Oosthuizen was valiant in defeat last week, only adding to his credentials as one of the most liked players in men’s golf. And it would be hard to find anyone who would bemoan him a win this week. Fatigue will be a factor, but as the best putter on the PGA Tour so far this season, Louis just needs to find the greens in regulation to inevitably find himself near the lead over the weekend.
You would need to have been living under a rock to have not been aware of young tyro Elvis Smylie’s exploits over the Australian summer if you follow the professional game.
Smylie, the son of tennis legend Liz, makes his European Tour debut this week as part of a run of sponsor exemptions on the old world circuit.
Smylie is just 19, but from eight PGA Tour of Australasia starts has missed just two cuts and finished in the top-25 four times, including a share of second in his last start at the NSW Open.
It has been some time since Smylie almost clinched a win at Concord Golf Club before a disastrous double bogey at the penultimate hole, so judging his form as it relates to his chances of performing well is difficult, but the Queenslander is a confirmed talent worth watching. And this week also marks the first of his combination with caddie Mike ‘Sponge’ Waite, who was on the bag for Michael Campbell when he won the US Open in 2005.
Of the local hopes, Stefan Jaeger stands out as a player perhaps most likely to join Martin Kaymer as a German winner of this event.
Jaeger is attached to Munich Eichenried Golf Club, giving him some significant local knowledge, and has already won on the Korn Ferry Tour this year, as well as finishing second twice.
Owning another five secondary Tour wins in America, it is a big call for Jaeger to leave his adopted home country as he chases a PGA Tour card, so one can be sure he will be putting his best foot forward to put some money in the bank and perhaps secure some European Tour playing rights.
72-HOLE RECORD: John Daly made the trip to Germany in 2001 and captured the title in record-breaking fashion. The American took just 261 shots around the Munich Eichenried Golf Club to finish at 27-under-par for the week beating Padraig Harrington by a solitary stroke, with Thomas Levet the next best at 20-under.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Peter Fowler (1993).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Maverick Antcliff, Scott Hend, Deyen Lawson, Min Woo Lee, Jake McLeod, Wade Ormsby Dimi Papadatos and Elvis Smylie.
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 8:30pm – 2am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 8:30pm – 2am)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 10pm – 2am)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9:30pm – 2am)
*AEST, check local guides