Due to the fourth major championship of the year, the PGA Championship in Kohler, Wis., this is one of several dual ranking events (both tours combined in one event) on the European Tour's 2004 schedule.
With the lack of depth in the field, many players will use the week trying to improve their standing on the Order of Merit list and further their chances of keeping or gaining playing privileges on the main tour in 2005.
With the top 15 money winners on the Challenge Tour being awarded entry onto the main tour for next year, the BMW Russian Open's $500,000 purse will give them a chance to jockey for position as the season heads down the backstretch.
One notable American in the field this week is the 2001 U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson. Dickerson, who won the title while playing as a junior at the University of Florida, turned pro the following year and has since struggled trying to gain experience on either of his home country's tours.
This will be Dickerson's fourth event on the Euro Challenge Tour in 2004 with his best finish being a tie for 10th at the Abierto Telefonica in March.
Last year Marcus Fraser edged Martin Wiegele for the title in a sudden-death playoff. Fraser has used the victory to springboard to the 48th position on the current Order of Merit list.
This will be the ninth year the tournament has been played at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed layout located about 25 miles outside of Moscow.