European Tour Course Primer: Omega European Masters

A look at the course and field for one of the longer running events on the European Tour.

This week the European Tour heads into the mountains of Switzerland to the Crans-sur-Sierre course. Unlike last week we have plenty of data to work with at this venue. This event has been played under various names at this exact course going back to 1939.

Course and Tournament Info

Course: Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club
Type of Grass (Greens): Poa/Bent blend
Par: 70
Yardage: 6,848 yards
Recent Winners: Matthew Fitzpatrick -17 (2018), Fitzpatrick -14 (2017), Alex Noren -17 (2016)

This course is played at significant elevation so the ball is going to be traveling a bit further than usual. It’s a very scenic course and will be great to watch on TV. It’s a fairly short course and the elevation makes that a little shorter as well, so we will see some birdies. The course holds up fairly well for being one of the shorter these guys see throughout the year.

Signature Hole

Par 4 18th hole: We’ve seen a lot of this hole the last few years as the tournament has gone to a playoff three straight years. The fairway slants hard to the right and can be hard to hold, plus the green has some water surrounding it making finding the fairway a premium. The tee shot has trees lining the left promoting a straight ball or a draw. The view from the tee also has a great view of the mountains, this is one of the better closing holes on the European Tour and has been providing great drama in recent memory.

Key Stats

OWGR Ranking: This isn’t really a “stat” but the recent history of this event has had highly ranked players in the Official World Golf Rankings as winners. Each of the last four winners of this event entered the week ranked inside the top 50 in the world. Especially given the stronger field than the last few years I think one of the bigger name players will win this week.

Rory McIlroy- 2nd
Tommy Fleetwood - 13th
Matthew Fitzpatrick - 29th
Matt Wallace - 30th
Bernd Wiesberger - 41st
Eddie Pepperell - 42nd
Sergio Garcia - 43rd
Alexander Noren - 47th

Driving Accuracy: Per the European Tour notes page on this tournament last year, the fairways have average width but are fairly sloped due to the mountainous location of the course, meaning that balls hit to the edges of the fairway may be banking off into the rough. Hitting fairways, and specifically hitting them in the right spot will be key. Last year, Matthew Fitzpatrick led the field in Driving Accuracy and won, two years ago he won and was a little worse ,but still finished 25th in Driving Accuracy, and in 2015 when he was runner-up, he finished 5th in Driving Accuracy. This course is not very long so if you find fairways you can make the birdies you’ll need to win.

Field and Course History

This field is very strong, headlined by last week’s FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy, who is playing this event for the first time since 2011, when he finished 3rd. There isn’t much you can take from that as it was so long ago, but Rory is having probably his best year since 2014 and rightfully is a heavy favorite.

Second on the marquee for this event is Tommy Fleetwood, who did not play this event last year but did play the previous six years to mixed results.

The course-history stud for this event is back-to-back champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, who has a worst finish of seventh in the last four years at this tourney. Fitzpatrick is coming in with top-four finishes in his last two events, including a runner-up finish last week, making it three runner-ups on the year for him. It definitely feels like a win is coming, and it could happen this week at a venue he has become so familiar and comfortable with.

One dark horse course history player is Scott Hend, who lost playoffs at this event in 2016 and 2017.