The Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Holland is the venue for this week’s KLM Open, a European Tour event with a rich history. Formerly known as the Dutch Open, the tournament is possibly most famous for being the stage onto which a 19 year-old Severiano Ballesteros burst in 1976. This year is therefore the 30th anniversary of Seve’s first tour win, which, coincidentally, took place at Kennemer.
This year’s renewal comes just a week before the final Major tournament of 2006, the USPGA Championship. Next week the focus of the golfing media will be on the Medinah Gold Club in Illinois, and as a result of this many of Europe’s top players will be absent from this year’s KLM Open as they finalise their preparations for one last crack at a Major title this year.
The main box office draws at Kennemer this week will be Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, who returns to a tournament he won in 1993, defending champion Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and the home-based pair of Maarten Lafeber and Robert Jan-Derksen.
In additon to these four players, the presence of two Ryder Cup hopefuls will also add to the tournament’s popularity. While Montgomerie has already secured his ticket to the K Club next month as part of captain Ian Woosnam’s team, two of his fellow British players are locked in a tight battle for qualification. This battle will contiunue at Kennemer.
RYDER CUP FOCUS
The two players in question are England’s Paul Broadhurst and Ireland’s Paul McGinley. Both men have previous Ryder Cup experience, with McGinley probably best remembered as the man who sank the winning putt for Europe in 2002.
There are just four more points scoring events left on the European Tour, and at present McGinley is in possession of the final qualifying berth on the European List – just one place ahead of Broadhurst, who lies on the fringe.
Broadhurst is currently 119,000 points behind his Irish rival, but with 263,000 points awarded to the winner in Holland he may well see this event as his big chance – especially as the field is weaker than other tournaments earlier in the season.
Several other Europeans will be contesting the International tournament on the USPGA Tour to fine-tune their preparations for the USPGA Championship. Points earned there will not affect the European List, but will certainly alter the World List. Please see our USA Preview and Ryder Cup Focus section for more details of these potential permutations. This will appear on the website later today.
POTENTIAL MOVERS – KLM OPEN: Paul McGinley (Ire) – currently lying in 5th place on Team Europe’s European List; Paul Broadhurst (Eng) – currently lying in 6th place on Team Europe’s European List