Bjorn Defends German Crown This Week


The European Tour heads to Germany this week where past performance seems to the be the norm at the BMW International Open.
Thomas Bjorn has won this event two of the last three years, including last year. Padraig Harrington has finished second twice in the last four years and Bernhard Langer has been runner-up four times, including two of the last three seasons.
Darren Clarke returns to Europe to try to move closer to money-leader Ernie Els. Clarke, who won in America last week at the WGC-NEC, currently is approximately $350,000 behind, with Bjorn in third place.
Only one shot off the pace at the halfway point at this event last year, Bjorn carded back-to-back 66s over the weekend to cruise to a four-shot win over Langer and John Bickerton. Bjorn, who has seven European Tour titles, is trying to rebound from his disappointing finish at the British Open, where he finished 4-over par the last four holes.
Bjorn will try to become the first back-to-back and three-time winner of this championship. Langer has won every European Tour event on German soil at least once, except the BMW International Open. Last year, Langer led after Round 1, trailed by two after 36 holes and was two back of Bjorn heading into the final round, but could do no better than 68 for a second-place tie.
When John Daly carded 66 during the final round in 2001, he captured his first tile since the 1995 British Open. Daly's total of 261 set a tournament record, breaking the previous mark of 264 by Robert Karlsson and Carl Watts in 1997.
Els returns to Munich for the first time since finishing tied for fifth in 2000, looking to further extend his lead at the top of the money list and add to his three European Tour titles won this season. Els has finished outside the top 10 only once in 10 European Tour stroke-play events this season.
Langer makes his first appearance on home soil since accepting the role as Europes Ryder Cup captain for The 35th Ryder Cup Matches to be played at Oakland Hills Country Club.
Other major champions in the field, in addition to Els, Langer and Daly, are Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle and Jos Maria Olazbal.
This is the seventh straight year in which Golf Club MunchenNord-Eichenried is playing host and the 12th time overall. The European Tour moves to Switzerland next week for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, where Robert Karlsson is the defending champion.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BMW International Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes