After two years at Arlandastad Golf Club near Sweden, the SAS Masters returns to Barsebäck G & CC in Malmö.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the course at Barsebäck has been altered since the contest was last held here in 2006. Tees have been moved and bunkers reconstructed. Above anything else, the layout has been lengthened to an incredible 7,665 yards. As such, it supersedes 2008 US Open venue Torrey Pines as the longest course ever to feature on the European Tour.
Peter Hanson defends a title he narrowly won at Arlandastad last year, beating Nick Dougherty and Pelle Edberg by a single shot. It may be a different venue in 2009 but Hanson is still confident of a solid defence, principally because his home is just 20 minutes from the course. “I love Barsebäck,” he said. “I finished second to Luke Donald there five years ago and I have also finished seventh and ninth there in the past.”
The tournament has a history of producing star champions and the role-call of winners is impressive, including – Nick Faldo (1992), Jesper Parnevik (1995), Joakim Haeggman (1997), Colin Montgomerie (1991, 99 and 2001), Adam Scott (2003) and Luke Donald (2004). A strong field will assemble again this year with a particularly formidable collection of Scandinavian players on the start sheet. Henrik Stenson will lead the Viking charge but he’ll be ably supported by the likes of Niclas Fasth, Søren Hansen and Søren Kjeldsen.
Venue: Barsebäck G & CC, Malmö, Sweden
Course stats: par 73, 7,665 yards
Purse: €1,000,000, Winner: €tbc
Defending Champion: Peter Hanson (-9)
Thursday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9.30am
Friday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 9.30am
Saturday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am
Sunday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am
Henrik Stenson – The highest ranked player in the field, Stenson will start as favourite here. He’d love to win a European Tour event on home soil.
Søren Hansen – With a strong, top-10, finish at Turnberry last week, the Dane looks to be returning to his best form. If he can find it, he’ll be tough to beat.
Alexander Noren – The young Swede has been promising great things for the last couple of seasons but is yet to record a victory on Tour. This could be the week he breaks his duck.
Key hole: 11th. Previously a par-5 and a fairly straightforward birdie chance, this hole has been changed back to a par-4 and is now going to pose a serious test. It’s 450 yards long and par here will be a very acceptable score.
Skills required: Power hitting. As the longest ever course on the European Tour, Barsebäck is sure to suit those with the ability to hit the long ball. On the back nine there are no par-4s under 400 yards in length and the only par-3 is over 200!