The European Tour heads for Switzerland this week and the Omega European Masters at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre. Scotland’s Richie Ramsay defends the title and a strong field has assembled.

High in the Swiss Alps, Crans-sur-Sierre has, perhaps, 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.

The Swiss Open was first held at Crans-sur-Sierre in 1939 and it has been a fixture on the European Tour since the circuit’s inception. Past winners include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.

In last year’s tournament Richie Ramsay of Scotland played four impressive rounds in the 60s to finish on 16-under-par, four clear of his nearest rivals: Marcus Fraser, Romain Wattel, Fredrik Andersson-Hed and Danny Willett. Ramsay is looking forward to returning to the site of last year’s triumph.

“This is always a place I love going to because the views are just incredible,” he said. “I’ve got great vibes from last year and the course really does suit me. It suits guys who can shape the ball, and good shot makers who are steady around the greens. You have to work with the altitude to work out how far the ball is going. At times it can be tricky as if it is cold it doesn’t fly, but if it is warm it flies for miles, and that is something I did well last year.”

In 1971 Baldovino Dassu made history at Crans-sur-Sierre when he became
the first player to shoot 60 on the European Tour. Jamie Spence managed
the same score in the final round in 1992. He clawed back a 10 shot
deficit and went on to win the title in a play-off against Anders

Also on the start list are 2010 and 2011 champions Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn. Padraig Harrington makes a first start in the tournament since 2000.

Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Sep 5-8
Course stats:
par 71, 6,881 yards
Defending Champion:
Richie Ramsay (-16)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Friday 6 – Sky Sports 1 from 10.30am
Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 8 – Sky Sports Ashes from 12pm

Player Watch:
Anders Hansen – Tied eighth last week and a top-10 finish in this event last year, Hansen is a solid competitor and just seems to be coming into some real form. He’s made the cut in his last four European Tour starts and his game looks good.

Peter Uihlein – A runner-up in Wales, he might have won had it not been for Gregory Bourdy’s incredible putting over the closing holes. He looks like a winner and should be full of confidence going into this event.

Richie Ramsay – The defending champion was tied 10th on his last European Tour start at Gleneagles. He’s keen to make it consecutive titles in the Alps.

Key holes: 5-7. Three straight par 4s measuring under 345 yards. All 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.