After the thrilling action and high emotion of the Open Championship at Royal St George’s, the European Tour heads to Sweden this week for the 21st edition of the Scandinavian Masters. Home player Richard S Johnson defends the title.
Bro Hoff Slott Golf Club in Stockholm will host the tournament for the second year running. It’s a Robert Trent Jones Jr creation that only opened for play in 2007. It’s a beautiful course set right on the waterside and it’s already considered the best track in Sweden. It’s also extremely long. In fact, stretching to 7,603 yards, it’s the longest course to host a regular European Tour event on the 2011 circuit.
The Scandinavian Masters was first contested in 1991 and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie was the winner of that inaugural event. Monty won twice more in 1999 and 2001. In 2002 the event witnessed a first European Tour title for a young Graeme McDowell, he took the victory just seven weeks after turning professional.
Last season Richard S Johnson sunk a raking, 30-foot putt across the final green to hold off Rafa Echenique of Argentina by a single shot. Johnson followed Joakim Haegmann, Jesper Parnevik and Peter Hanson as home winners of the event.
A strong field will assemble at Bro Hoff Slott including Open Championship runner-up, Dustin Johnson. The talented American is now placed seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking and is looking to go one better than in Kent and secure a victory on his excursion to Europe.
Also in the field are, the eccentric Bubba Watson, 2010 Amateur Champion Jin Jeong and former European Tour Number 1 Robert Karlsson.
Venue: Bro Hoff Slott GC, Stockholm, Sweden
Date: Jul 21 – 24
Course stats: par 72, 7,603 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €250,000
Defending Champion: Richard S Johnson (-11)
Thursday 21- Live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am (moves onto red button)
Friday 22 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am (moves onto red button)
Saturday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am (moves onto red button)
Sunday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11.30am (moves onto red button)
Dustin Johnson – The powerful American will not be daunted by this sprawling layout. He’s clearly on excellent form and will surely start this week as favourite.
Alexander Noren – The Swede won the Wales Open in June and, although he’s gone slightly off the boil since then, he will look to raise his game for his home Open. He’s one of the most talented players on tour and, if he’s on his game, will contend.
Henrik Stenson – He’s knocking on the door of coming back on to his game. He was ninth in the BMW International Open and showed glimmers at the Open Championship before a disastrous final round of 80. Perhaps playing on home soil might inspire him. He’s too good a player to stay out of the limelight for much longer.
Key hole: 17th. On the card it may look innocuous as just a 150 yard par 3. But, it has an island green in the style of the famous 17th at Sawgrass. It’s green or bust on this one and we could see some players chances ending in a watery grave come Sunday afternoon.
Skills required: Length. This is a long course and will play its full yardage. The guys who can carry the ball a good distance from the tee will be at a distinct advantage. Watch out for Dustin Johnson