The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de España at Real Club de Golf El Prat near Barcelona. Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion.

Lowdown:
The European Tour heads to Spain this week for the Open de España at Real Club de Golf El Prat near Barcelona. Miguel Angel Jimenez is the defending champion.

The Spanish Open is one of the oldest tournaments on the professional circuit – the first instalment was hosted in 1912 when the competition was won by Arnaud Massy. Since then there have been some notable champions including Peter Thomson, Roberto DeVicenzo and Seve Ballesteros.

Last season Miguel Angel Jimenez made history at PGA Catalunya, extending his record as the oldest ever winner on the European Tour. The veteran Spaniard won his home open on his 27th attempt, coming through a sudden-death playoff against Australia’s Richard Green and Thomas Pieters of Belgium.

Jimenez will be back to defend his title this year but he’ll face stiff competition from a strong field. The European Tour’s best generally turn out when the circuit returns to mainland Europe and many will be using this event as a tune-up for next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Fresh off a playoff defeat in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Sergio Garcia will start at El Prat. He’ll be looking to win his home open for just the second time – he took the title 13 years ago in 2002. Other famous names on the start sheet this week include: Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari and Thomas Bjorn.

The event returns this year to Real Club de Golf El Prat near Barcelona. The tournament was last contested over this historic layout in 2011 when Thomas Aiken was the winner.

The weather forecast for the week is set fair. It might be a little breezy, but the skies should be clear all four days.

Venue: Real Club de Golf El Prat, Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain
Date: May 14-17
Course stats: par 72, 7,298 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Miguel Angel Jimenez (-4)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Friday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Saturday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Sunday 17 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm

Player Watch:
Sergio Garcia will be strong favourite, who else might feature?

Alex Noren – He’s gone off the boil a little since a great start to the year in the Middle East, but he’s been one of the most consistent performers on the European Tour in 2015 – he’s yet to miss a cut.

Peter Uihlein – The talented American comes into this event on good form after two solid, top-10 performances in China. He’s overdue a second win on the circuit.

Thorbjorn Olesen – The Dane showed great promise on his return to competitive action in Mauritius last week, narrowly missing out on the win in a playoff with George Coetzee. He could just go one better this time out.

Key hole: 18th. At just 542 yards, this par-5 will be reachable in two for most of the players in the field this week as long as the wind isn’t strong against. It will provide a last gasp opportunity for players trailing the lead to grab a closing birdie or eagle. But, there are dangers too, particularly down the left where trees are waiting.