Omega contest returns to the Alps


FOR the 65th time this year, Crans-Montana will be the home of the Omega European Masters (formerly the Swiss Open), the second largest golf competition in Europe and one of the most prestigious events played on European soil.

Located at Crans-Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club is indisputably the most spectacular course on the European Tour schedule.

The event has a long history since its launch in 1923. In 1939 the Swiss Open took place on 72 holes for the first time in Crans-sur-Sierre (now part of Crans-Montana destination) and the winner was the French professional Fifi Cavala.

Then came the Second World War and the contest was not played again until 1948.

From this date on, Crans-sur-Sierre has been the permanent site of the tournament which became the European Masters in 1983. The internationally-renowned event has seen players such as Spain’s Severiano Ballesteros, José Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, South Africa’s Ernie Els and Britain’s Lee Westwood, currently the world number two, win the coveted trophy.

Because of its unique setting on a large plateau perched at 1,500-m altitude, Crans-Montana naturally offers the perfect environment for golfing activities and in fact the first golf course was inaugurated in 1906 in the heart of the village. Today, Crans-Montana offers no less than four golf courses within the destination, including the Severiano Ballesteros 18-hole championship course, the Jack Niklaus nine-hole course, which has been rated four times as the most beautiful nine-hole course in Switzerland, the Super Crans nine-hole course and the Noas nine-hole course.

In fact, unlike many so called ‘golf destinations’, golf in Crans-Montana is not only a facility or part of the infrastructure; it is an authentic local culture, deeply rooted into the destination’s and population’s DNA, for many generations since 1906.

'The Omega European Masters, taking place on the mythic Severiano Ballesteros golf course or Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, has put Crans-Montana on the world’s map every year since 1948 and makes our destination shine among many millions of golfers from around the world,' says Philippe Rubod, CEO of Crans-Montana Tourism Authority.

'We are extremely proud to host such a major event which attracts more than 40,000 visitors to Crans-Montana over the first week-end of September, this year being an especially brilliant edition due to the outstanding cast of competing champions.'