For a long time, the Scandinavian Masters was the only European Tour event held in Scandinavia. This added a lot of prestige and importance to the tournament which was reciprocated by the players who created strong fields right from the start. Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo and Vijay Singh were among the early winners before Jesper Parnevik became the first Swedish player to win the tournament on home soil.
The tournament continued to be well supported both by European Tour players and by a host of big Scandinavian companies such as Carlsberg, Volvo and Nordea for a long period. Perhaps with the thought that innovation keeps tournaments from getting stale, a big change was announced in 2020 with the creation of the Scandinavian Mixed. Backed and hosted by Swedish golf legends Annika Sörenstam and Henrik Stenson, the tournament is sanctioned by both the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour and sees men and women compete on the same course, in the same tournament and for the same prize pool.
2023: Dale Whitnell
This event, which sees 78 men and 78 women battle it out for the same prize pool and trophy, produced an emotional first DP World Tour title for Englishman Dale Whitnell. First turning pro 14 years ago, it’s been a long road to success for the 34-year-old, who took on work as a delivery driver before earning his DP World Tour card in 2019. Starting 2023 in good form, Whitnell had two top 10 finishes to his name headed into the event, and at the 106th time of asking, finally made his way into the winner's enclosure.
A steady opening day was rounded out in style by the Colchester native, who fired in from 96 yards for eagle at 18. Riding that wave into Friday, he produced a sizzling round of 61 to move into a six-shot lead at the halfway stage. By the end of Saturday, that lead had been reduced, but Whitnell still held a four-shot advantage as they teed off on Sunday.
American Sam Crocker was the man to emerge out of the pack as the main challenger, flying out of the traps to go birdie, birdie, eagle over the first three holes, followed by back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, and an eagle at the 15th. Whilst never quite able to get within touching distance of Whitnell, his clubhouse total of 18 under par did at least ensure the Englishmen felt a degree of pressure on the back nine.
With the prospect of a first title in sight, there were understandable signs of nerves early in the round, as Whitnell parred the first three holes before finding water trouble at four and dropping a shot. That blip was, however, erased with a 36-foot putt for birdie at the sixth, with another from 20 feet at the 11th balancing a bogey at the 13th to see him two shots clear with only two to play. Any doubts were then all but extinguished with an excellent birdie at the penultimate hole, enabling Whitnell to breathe a long sight of relief up the final fairway, before two-putting for par to finish on 21 under par, three shots clear of Crocker. The top female player Anne van Dam finished three further back in a tie for third with Yannick Paul.
It proved a spectacular week for Whitnell, who bagged €315,454.72 and moved up to 17th in the Race to Dubai Standings.
2022: Lin Grant
Any organisation that is serious about growing the game of golf should have paid close attention to the 2022 Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed where men and women compete against each other on the same golf course. The first edition of this tournament in 2021 suggested that it would be very difficult for a woman to seriously contend so just how impressive was Lin Grant’s performance given she routed the field by nine shots?
The 22 year old has only been a touring professional for a year and she has already made history by becoming the first woman to win on the DP World Tour. It’s clear to even a casual golf fan that Grant has an excellent golf swing but professionals who have watched her play have suggested that she could be something special for some time. Even Grant’s biggest fans were blown away by her imperious performance though.
Sleeping on the 54-hole lead brings a huge amount of pressure but Grant showed no sign of nerves on Sunday as she set about increasing her two-stroke lead over Jason Scrivener. The Australian went backwards and eventually faded out of contention leaving Marc Warren and tournament co-host Henrik Stenson to share second place a long way behind Grant who won in front of her family who hail from just a short way down the Swedish coast.
2021: Jonathan Caldwell
Annika Sorenstam, Henrik Stenson and everybody involved in organising the Scandinavian Mixed showed real bravery to try something new. All the pre-tournament nerves were quickly dispelled as Christine Wolf held a share of the lead after the first round. She was just one of a number of players who proved that the women in the tournament could put up a serious challenge to the men but it was Jonathan Caldwell who outlasted all comers, winning his maiden European Tour title.
Caldwell looked to have only a slim chance of winning on Sunday as he started his final round three shots off the lead. However, he saved his best golf for exactly the right time. A Sunday score of 64 was enough for the Northern Irishman to win by one shot, completing a topsy turvy journey in golf which has seen him compete in the 2007 Walker Cup, win his place on the European Tour in 2008 but go back to working in a golf shop as his attempts to establish himself among golf’s elite faltered.
This was an understandably emotional win for Caldwell. “It’s been a dream of mine for an awful long time,” he said after his win was confirmed, continuing, “It’s been a long road but I’m finally here.” It was also a big week for England’s Alice Hewson who was the highest placed woman in the tournament and would have made it into a playoff with Caldwell had she made an eagle at the last.
The 2020 tournament was cancelled.
2019: Erik van Rooyen
Erik van Rooyen had been working most of his life for the moment he found himself in on the tee of his 72nd hole at the 2019 Scandinavian Invitational. The South African had been involved in a thrilling head to head final round battle with Matt Fitzpatrick in the group ahead and knew that only a birdie on the par-five 18th hole would suffice.
Fitzpatrick must have been mentally preparing for a playoff after van Rooyen left his approach into the green short. However, a combination of mental fortitude and exquisite touch allowed van Rooyen to get up and down to pip his English opponent by a single shot. The raw emotion that followed the winning putt showed just what a first European Tour win meant to the 29 year old who had worked his way up the amateur ranks, the Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour to make this breakthrough.
European Tour success was just part of the plan for van Rooyen who had designs on reaching the very top of golf. That the Scandinavian Invitational victory was a step in the right direction on that journey and it was fitting given the strength of the field including several PGA Tour players such as Henrik Stenson who chose to compete at his home event ahead of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
2018: Paul Waring
Paul Waring became the second player in as many years to earn a first European Tour win at the Nordea Masters. The Englishman had to wait much longer than Renato Paratore for his first taste of victory on this stage but that only made his win all the sweeter.
It was already a landmark event for Waring before his win. This was the 36 year old’s 200th start on the European Tour. In that time he has amassed several friends and a great deal of respect for his game and his approach. That is all well and good but Waring was desperate to add that elusive win to his CV and it was perhaps fitting that he was forced to go the extra yard to get it done.
The bookies were preparing to pay out on Waring as he held a two-shot lead over Thomas Aiken with four holes to play. However, Aiken then applied the pressure and set up a playoff against his playing partner with a birdie on the 72nd hole of the tournament. Having done so well to take the tournament to extra holes it was a massive disappointment for Aiken that he hit a wayward drive into the water on the first playoff hole. That mistake finally lifted the pressure on Waring who saw the win out with a par.
2017: Renato Paratore
The dream win for any professional golfer is when they are in full control of a tournament and can stride up the final fairway waving to the crowd safe in the knowledge that victory is in the bag. Renato Paratore’s first European Tour win did not play out to that script.
The conditions for the final round at the 2017 Nordea Masters were very challenging. Paratore initially struggled with one bogey and six pars in his first seven holes. However, he made two quickfire birdies to close out his front nine and then picked up shots on 12 and 14. That run saw him jump to the top of the leaderboard above overnight leader Chris Wood but Wood’s challenge. Paratore then made a series of par saves to come in with a round of 70 (three under par) which was one shot better than the fast-finishing Matt Fitzpatrick but from then on it was all out of his hands.
A birdie up the last for Wood would have sent the tournament into a playoff. The luckless Englishman instead made bogey (his fourth of the day) to hand the tournament to Paratore who was delighted and relieved in equal measure.