The DP World Tour heads to Golfclub Munchen Eichenried in Munich for teh BMW International Open. Damien Kayat previews.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
BMW International Open
Golfclub Munchen Eichenried, Munich, Germany
Fitzpatrick’s win adds some much-needed shine to DP World Tour
European golf needed a new Major champion. Even without the advent of the new LIV Golf monstrosity, the DP World Tour was struggling for relevance.
Greg Norman’s new experiment genuinely threatens the tour with extinction. The tour needed a pick-me-up and Matthew Fitzpatrick duly obliged.
This year’s US Open was arguably one of the most exhilarating in living memory, with Fitzpatrick’s metronomic ball-striking holding off the likes of Scheffler and Zalatoris.
In the process, Fitzpatrick became only the 4th Englishman in history to claim the US Open title. What’s more, the entire LIV Golf crew bellyflopped in spectacular fashion, showing that there may indeed be some karma in this world of ours.
LIV Golf crew return to DP World Tour
It will be interesting to see how the likes of Oosthuizen and Garcia are received by this week’s galleries. The DP World Tour has decided to ban all LIV Golf rebels from playing in this year’s Scottish Open- the traditional Open Championship warmup events. They had to expect some reaction.
The tour moves to Germany this week for the 33rd instalment of the BMW International Open. It’s got a lot to live up to if it wishes to match last year’s drama: Norwegian superstar Viktor Hovland held off hometown hero Martin Kaymer to win by two strokes.
Accuracy the name of the game this week
The tournament has recently been alternating between two courses- the Golf Club Gut Larchenhof and the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried. This year will mark the 3rd consecutive edition hosted at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried.
Designed by Kurt Rossknecht and opened in 1989, this is a flat, tree-lined affair with painfully slow greens (quite the change from Brookline). There is water in play on 10 holes and the scoring here is generally pretty low.
Having said that, the course has matured in recent years and the trees have been allowed to grow. This has made errant tee shots a lot more penal in recent editions. Given these changes, I would favour accuracy over distance this week.
Billy Horschel is an enigma. There are few players with as big a discrepancy between regular tour performances and Major Championships. The former FedEx Cup champ missed the cut last week despite winning the Memorial in style a fortnight back.
But the affable Horschel genuinely loves playing in Europe and he is an understandable favourite this week. Major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia add some razzmatazz to proceedings. But I still don’t know how well the LIV Golf renegades will fare this week.
After a year of Major championship heartbreak, King Louis has been well below his best in 2022. Sergio is a two-time runner-up in this event but he has missed three of his last five cuts.
Thomas Pieters has been showing signs of improvement recently and he could be one to watch.
2021: Viktor Hovland (-19)
2020: event cancelled
2019: Andrea Pavan (-15) *playoff
2018: Matt Wallace (-10)
2017: Andreas Romero (-17)
2016: Henrik Stenson (-17)
To Win Outright:
Billy Horschel 12/1 | Louis Oosthuizen 18/1 | Jordan Smith 20/1 | Thomas Pieters 22/1 | Bernd Wiesberger 22/1
Pablo Larrazabal- To Win 30/1 | To Place 13/2
I didn’t really want to back any of the LIV Golf crowd this week. But given his heady combination of current form and course form, Larrazabal was far too enticing at 30/1. The Spaniard has won this event twice on this very track (in 2011 and 2015). And he is also looking to win his 3rd event on the DP World Tour since March. He is a wily campaigner who tends to thrive on familiar courses. He will hit plenty of fairways this week and it really boils down to his putting.
Richard Mansell- To Win 35/1 | To Place 15/2
One of the best ball-strikers on tour, Richard Mansell has recently started to exorcise some of those short-game demons that have held him back throughout his career. He has form figures of 30-26-8-23-9-3 in his last six regulation DP World Tour appearances. Crucially, that 3rd place finish at Germany in the European Open. Sure, he missed the cut at Brookline last week. But that was his Major debut on State soil- you can forgive that. He finished 37th here last year when completely out of form.
The Man to Beat- Thomas Pieters- To Win 22/1 | To Place 48/10
I think it’s fair to say that Thomas Pieters has been one of the sport’s great underachievers. Just 30 years of age, I still believe there’s more to come from the big-hitting Belgian. Pieters began his year in spectacular fashion, winning the Abu Dhabi Championship during a strong Middle East Swing. But his form dipped substantially for the next few months. But the mercurial Belgian swung back into action with top 10’s at the Soudal Open and Dutch Open. He also performed admirably at Brookline, picking up a top 30 finish. I just have the feeling that this could be a big week for the former Ryder Cupper.