The good news/bad news story for players this week is that there will be no Tiger Woods to deal with, as he has left the proverbial building, crossing back over the Atlantic for some alone time with the Claret Jug. That's the good news.
The bad news is that due to its proximity to the Open Championship, a tough, strong field has stuck around and thus with have to battle each other for the $664,000 first-place check.
Take Tiger off the leaderboard in St. Andrews and what you would see is quite an impressive European Tour presence, with the likes of Retief Goosen, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie, current U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell and Germany's own Bernhard Langer all hovering around the top.
More good news is that the players will welcome Ireland's Padraig Harrington back into the fold after he sat out of the Open due to the death of his father from cancer. Hopefully for Harrington, his fine play in this event over the past several years will go along way in his effort to bounce back from such an emotional past week.
The Irishman took home the title in 2003 after nipping Thomas Bjorn in a playoff and then last year finished runner-up after a back-nine duel with Trevor Immelman.
Immelman himself will be back to defend his title, which was his fourth career Euro title. After winning two events in each of the past two seasons, the young South African has yet to reach the winner's circle thus far in 2005, though he has registered a handful of top-10s.
But the big headliner is obviously Germany's favorite golfing son, Langer. A two-time winner of this event - his first win all the way back in 1983 and then a second coming in 1995 - Langer is coming off a pleasing fifth-place effort at the Open.
Although Langer plays predominately on the U.S. PGA Tour, he still has strong ties when it comes to golf in Germany. Besides his two wins in this event, the 48-year-old Langer also has four Linde German Masters to his credit, an event that he co-promotes with his brother Erwin.
Joining Langer and the rest of the big names in Germany are England's Ian Poulter, American John Daly, and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Played at Gut Kaden Golf und Land Club, the Hamburg venue has hosted six of the last ten editions of the Deutsche Bank.
The Golf Channel will broadcast all four rounds live beginning Thursday at 8:30 a.m. (ET).