The week after a major championship can often be a strange time for golf. Many of the best players in the world have given so much in pursuit of one of the biggest titles available that they give the next week’s run-of-the-mill tournament a swerve. That is particularly true in the European Tour which often has to play second fiddle to the PGA Tour. So the organisers of the BMW International Open were delighted when Martin Kaymer confirmed he would once again be playing in the tournament in his homeland, Germany.
The number one golf tournament in Germany is now in its 27th year. In that time there have been 25 different champions proving that it is an unpredictable tournament. This year the hosting duties are being fulfilled by the course which first hosted this event, the Golfclub München Eichenried. The course will be challenging but at around 7,200 yards it is a fair challenge in terms of distance. The course is actually a combination of the three courses that make up the resort. The mishmash of holes actually produces one of the toughest closing stretches on the European Tour. Water is in play on a few holes including the signature par-four 16th.
Although Kaymer will be the most popular winner with the fans at the course he is not the bookies favourite. Kaymer’s poor form this season which included him missing the cut last week, means that Henrik Stenson has been made favourite. The Swede hasn’t been in top form either this season but he’s improved considerably in recent weeks. Stenson battled to 27th place in the US Open, a finish which could have been so much better if he had a better week with his putter. Nobody on the PGA Tour has hit a higher percentage of greens in regulation so he’s a fair favourite at odds of 8/1 with Ladbrokes.
There aren’t many holes at Golfclub München Eichenried that rank among the longest on Tour which could play nicely into the hands of the evergreen Thongchai Jaidee. The 45-year-old narrowly missed out at the BMW Championship in Wentworth where he eventually had to settle for a share of second place. His accurate iron play and ability to carefully and prudently plot his way around the course means that he rarely suffers blowouts so if he can manufacture enough birdie opportunities and he putts well, Jaidee could come up trumps at big odds of 40/1 with Coral.
Thomas Bjorn is one of only two men who have won this tournament twice. Both of those wins came at this course, as did his runner-up finish in 2013 so this could be the perfect place for him to return to winning ways. He’s another one who’s had a poor season by his high standards. Last year his form was good enough to qualify for the Ryder Cup team automatically, this year his best two finishes (tied for 21st and tied for 11th) have come in his last two European Tour starts so he may be ready for a push at the top end of the leaderboard at 40/1 with Coral.