The European Tour heads for Switzerland this week and the Omega European Masters at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre. Thomas Bjorn of Denmark is defending champion and he’ll be looking to pick up a third title here

Lowdown:
The European Tour heads for Switzerland this week and the Omega European Masters at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre. Thomas Bjorn of Denmark is defending champion and he’ll be looking to pick up a third title here.

This is one of the European Tour’s oldest tournament venues and has been a fixture on the circuit since the Tour’s inception in 1972. Past winners include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.

In last year’s tournament, Thomas Bjorn produced four rounds in the 60s, including a closing 65, to catch Scotland’s Craig Lee and force a playoff. Bjorn birdied the first extra hole to take the title for a second time in the space of three years – he was also the winner here in 2011.

A number of other former champions are on the start sheet this week – Richie Ramsay (2012), Miguel Angel Jiménez (2010), Jean-François Lucquin (2008), Brett Rumford (2007), Bradley Dredge (2006), Robert Karlsson (2002), Ricardo Gonzalez (2001), Sven Strüver (1998), Mathias Grönberg (1995) and José-María Olazábal (1986).

High in the Swiss Alps, Crans-sur-Sierre has, arguably, the most spectacular backdrop of any course on the European Tour. The layout dates from 1908, though it was re-designed in the late 1920s then altered by Seve back in 1999.

There have been some changes to the course for this year’s tournament. A number of bunkers on the front nine have been rebuilt and the fairways on the 1st, 2nd and 4th holes have been reshaped. There’s also a stunning new green on the 9th hole.

The weather forecast for the week looks unsettled. There could be the chance of thunderstorms during the tournament that could potentially disrupt the play.

Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Date: Sep 4-7
Course stats: par 70, 6,848 yards
Purse: €2,300,000 Winner: €375,000
Defending Champion: Thomas Bjorn (-20)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 4 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Friday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Saturday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 11pm

Player Watch:
Bradley Dredge – The Welshman is on a fine run of form – second in Denmark then again in the Czech Republic. He’s also a former winner of this tournament, so he should be feeling rather confident coming into this event.

David Howell – Showed superb form in the final round of last week’s Open D’Italia. The Englishman has climbed to 47th spot on the Race to Dubai and will aim to continue to push on this week.

Ross Fisher – He was tied seventh last week in Italy and played particularly well over the first two days. He was also tied fifth in this event last year.

Key holes: 5-7. Three straight par 4s measuring under 365 yards. The last two could be driveable depending on tee position and wind direction – This should be where players kick-start their rounds with a couple of birdies. However, danger awaits if you get greedy.