This week the European Tour returns to the Alps in Switzerland for one of my favourite events of the season! The Omega European Masters.
I find everything about this place truly incredible to be honest. Pretty much all the players stay locally this week, so every morning we are waking up to the most amazing views of the mountains. The scenery is equally as enjoyable when you’re walking each hole of the golf course too!
You might also remember that this is the week when everybody starts talking about altitude again. As a matter of fact, this course is one of the shortest we play all year...but, since the ball flight up here carries approximately 5% longer than normal...it makes the course play even shorter!
In addition to that challenge, we are working with tree lined and dynamically designed fairways as well as exceptionally small greens which can be pretty tough to find. This will obviously put a little extra pressure on our iron shots and short game in general.
The weather forecast is looking quite mixed this week. Fortunately it seems like there is not a lot of wind around but there will definitely be some rain clouds and potential thunderstorms over the next few days. However, it does look like there might be some sunshine waiting for us at the weekend though!
Really looking forward to getting this week started now! I'm very lucky to have a lot of family and friends who have made the long journey up to come and show their support. It's also pretty cool to have the FedEx Champion Rory Mcilory in town too!
Off at 2pm this afternoon alongside my good friend Alex Levy and Benjamin Hebert! Time to start making some birdies!
Got to be honest, it feels good to return to tournament mode after a pretty long summer break! I finished up my time off with some coaching from Michel in Brussels as well as a quick trip to South of France in order to see Jerome at Vidauban. We had a solid few days practicing in the sun over there and making some final tweaks to my swing so the game is feeling in really great shape right now!
As you will know, we are in Sweden this week for the newly named Scandinavian Invitational. The event is still being hosted at The Hills Golf Course in Gothenburg though and I have some great memories already from last years event, having managed to secure a top 15 finish.
Although its one of the shortest courses that we play, the Hills GC presents its own challenge since it is set across some pretty undulating landscape and features heavy incline slopes for the spectators out there! Tight bunkering and water are in play across most of the holes and furthermore, since they have been experiencing some dry conditions in this area recently, the course will definitely be playing firm and fast.
Onto the weather forecast and things seem to change on a daily basis over here! Despite rain being predicted for all three practice days, we have only had dry conditions so far! The wind is set to pick up quite considerably though...so that looks to be a significant factor for those of us playing this afternoon (and potentially tomorrow morning too!).
Off at 12.40pm this afternoon and officially ready for action...time to go low!
As you will have noticed, it's been quite quiet on the European Tour over the past few weeks since the schedule naturally encouraged us all to take a bit of time off. It was pretty cool to break up the summer silence by winning a Guinness World Record though!
A couple of weeks ago, during the most recent tournament in Spain, myself, Paul Dunne, Guido Migliozzi and Sean Crocker all took on the individual challenge of completing the 'Fastest Hole in Golf' at Real Club de Golf Guadalmina (where the previous record of 93.37 seconds was already set!). We made some great memories and had a lot of fun out there battling against each other...but I've got to admit I was very happy to be crowned the eventual Champion and set the new World Record of 89.62 seconds!
Furthermore - to give you a quick update... I just returned from a great training trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I spent some quality time practicing at Corales Golf Club as well as doing some solid fitness and strength work.
I decided not to play the Czech Masters this week in order to balance my schedule well over the next few months since there are so many good tournaments ahead. Instead I will spend a few days in Southern France with my coach Jérôme, doing some fine tuning before we get back into action at the Scandinavian Invitation in a week's time!
...further updates to follow!
Have to admit that I am running a little low on energy since this is my fourth event in a row...but, as you can imagine, still really happy to make another cut and also with how I have played these past two days here in Scotland!
We have actually managed to completely avoid most of the horrible weather that was predicted for the tournament so far and its great to see so many fans out there - Renaissance GC has definitely done a great job getting the whole course set up for a Rolex Series event!
Almost unbelievable that the leaders are sitting on -14 after only two days! But we have 36 more holes to go and I feel like my putting is in great shape right now so hopefully still a lot of birdie opportunities to come! Looking forward to one final push to climb up that leaderboard this weekend!
Really happy to have finished inside the Top 25 last week in Ireland and especially to have closed things up on Sunday with a 66!...my lowest round of the week. Moreover, Lahinch GC definitely did not fail to disappoint and it was really enjoyable to mark another solid week in the books in such a brilliant environment with some of my team as well as family & friends.
As a matter of fact, I flew directly to London following last week's tournament since I was very lucky to have been invited to play in this year's Queenwood Cup. The event itself is just a small Pro-Am, however it's difficult to put into words how spectacular that little spot in Surrey is and the hospitality and guests were truly fantastic...so it was a real honour to be invited to participate!
Moving onto Scotland and it's almost unbelievable how many great courses are surrounding us in this area. Our home this week is Renaissance GC - bordered directly by Archerfield Links and Muirfield on either side. Both Gullane and North Berwick Golf Courses are only a few kilometers away too.
It's a fantastic set up this week with spectacular views form the Clubhouse/Players Lounge. Furthermore, I actually stayed in one of the beautifully designed hotel rooms here at Renaissance during last year's Scottish Open held at Gullane GC.
Since this is my fourth week in a row and I was not down to play in the Pro Am, I decided to play only 9 holes yesterday in order to conserve energy. I walked the remainder of the course this afternoon though to get a good look. The course here was actually only opened in 2008 and is based within an old pine forest rather than your traditional Links track. It definitely has a similar Links feel though with intense bunkering and thick rough throughout. The greens are large and quite undulating which should a little extra pressure on the approach shots. There are three holes along the coast line that have recently been re-designed and offer some very enjoyable views too!
Weather update this week and it's hard to remember the last time we saw as much rain as we did yesterday! The forecast remains damp for the first two days with some thunderstorms threatening too...but fortunately set to improve for the weekend and hardly any wind either! (Although, as you know with coastal golf...this can often change!).
It's the last Rolex event until September now...but also the final chance to qualify for the Open Championship at Portrush next week! It's a strong field here in Scotland ahead of the Major Championship but still going to try and give it my best shot!
Finished up some great practice and preparations and now balancing it with some chilled time with the rest of Team Belgium! Last but not least, Lance from Excel Sports has travelled all the way over from NY for this event so great to catch up with him too!
Off at 13.20pm tomorrow and fully ready to get going now!
Pretty happy to walk away with an 8th place finish last week in Spain! Felt great being back in contention again and to be honest, the whole Valderrama surroundings, hospitality and course were organised so well that it was genuinely a really enjoyable event to play in...also always grateful to have my friends and family out there with me to keep the positive energy going as well!
I actually decided to spend an extra day relaxing in Sotogrande after the tournament finished since I will be playing four events in a row and thought it would be a good idea to factor in some down time between the two. With that in mind, I arrived very early Tuesday AM into Shannon airport for this weeks DDF Irish Open. The event marks the start of the Links Season for us out on Tour...but it's also the return of the Rolex Series events - the last one being all the way back in January!
On arrival at the Golf Course, I was quickly told that Lahinch is actually referred to as the 'St Andrews of Ireland'. Having walked a few times around the course already, it's not hard to see those similarities. To give you some insight, the wide fairways here are lined with thick rough (knee high in some parts) and the entire course is scattered with sneaky blind spots and solid bunkering. It's a relatively short course by Tour standards though and the greens will be playing fast too. As usual with Links Courses, the biggest influence for us is going to be the wind since the layout is very exposed along the coast. The scenery around this area is definitely an extra bonus and its always entertaining to see goats roaming the fairways too!
Furthermore and most significantly, the forecast is looking good for us this week! Obviously a lot cooler temperatures than in Spain but we have four days of projected sunshine with only light-to-moderate winds being predicted.
Always a great spectator turn out here in Ireland so looking forward to seeing all the fans out there this week! As a matter of fact, even a couple of Bank Delen supporters have found their way up to come and watch me and TP play too! Off at 11.20am tomorrow and officially ready for my next Links Challenge!
Obviously a little disappointed to have marked the season with my first missed cut last week in Germany! You might have seen that I took a bit of a beating out on the 17th hole on Thursday afternoon...however it's difficult to feel too negative or disappointed since I actually played some really great golf out there in Munich too. Unfortunately posting a four under par second round was still one shot short of what I needed so I spent the weekend back home in Brussels recharging the batteries and prepping for the next set of big events that face us!
Moving onto Spain this week and if you are a golf fan then you will already know that Valderrama is definitely one of the toughest tracks on the European circuit! Usually this tournament features a little later on the schedule so there are some significant difference to the course - most noticeably, the rough around the greens which has become a little trickier to navigate. The greens out here are definitely some of the smallest we play on tour and to be honest, even though there are a couple of par 5's out there offering birdie chances, the rest of the course is truly a survival challenge!
Small equipment update since I have decided to add an extra 1/2 inch to my irons this week. It's been almost 6 years since I made any changes to these clubs but physically I have grown quite a lot over the past year so felt like it was a good time to make a small adaptation.
Frustrating start to the tournament yesterday since I was actually playing great from tee to green...just really struggled to hole any putts. Followed that up with a really solid round of -3 this morning though which is enough secure my spot playing this weekend in the Spanish sunshine!
NB - In case you didn't know, there is a small extra incentive to play well over these next three weeks as there are 3 spots available at each of the tournaments to qualify into the Open Championship at Portrush GC. As some of you might remember, I needed to finish 30th on the Race to Dubai last season to automatically earn a spot in the event but unfortunately narrowly came 31st! Needless to say I am very eager to play in my first Major tournament now so definitely a good target to aim for!
After a really enjoyable bit of downtime following the BKO, it feels great to be back in action on the European Tour again this week! As a matter of fact, I made a last minute decision to head over to South of France last weekend and put in some solid practice at Vidauban GC with Nico and my coach Michel Vanmeerbeek ahead of this next four week stretch and am really happy with how my game is feeling right now.
To be honest, I always look forward to playing the BMW International since I only really have good memories from each of my trips to Germany so far! It’s funny to think that as an amateur, I never played a single tournament in this country…however, numerous visits over the past few years have generated some results which have been an instrumental part of my professional career! For those who might not remember, I actually had my best ever solo finish at the 2017 BMW International event where I finished 2nd place. As a matter of fact, I posted that result at the same course as we are playing this week…Munich Eichenried GC!
To give you some details on this weeks venue, despite some struggles dealing with the recent dry and cold weather, the course is in really great condition. There are a decent amount of scoreable par 5’s/reachable par 4’s for us as well as wide open fairways which should give a good chance to really attack the golf course! The greens have also all been re-done since we last visited this spot. However, keeping mistakes to a minimum will definitely be essential to post a solid score here each day.
Unfortunately the weather is going to be a significant factor for us this week since thunderstorms and heavy rain are looking threatening on the forecast from the moment the competition begins on Thursday. Looks like the temperatures might get pretty low as well.
With all that said, this event is definitely one of the best we play all year! This is probably largely down to the promoters who are so well versed in what they are doing that each year the experience for players and spectators seems to just get better and better! Fun set up this week having the Hugo Boss team on site as well as my strength coach Fabien joining me too!
Pro Am day here in Munich, which meant one last opportunity to enjoy the sunshine before the questionable weather reaches us on Thursday AM! Fingers crossed for only minimal disruption though…its always great to have the big crowds out and supporting here in Germany! Off at 8.50am tomorrow morning and can’t wait to get going already!
Nothing quite like playing tournament golf on home soil! Really excited that the 2nd edition of the Belgian Knockout tournament has finally come round and to be honest, the set up here at Rinkven GC is already looking incredible! It’s easy to see how hard the full Pieters family have been working over the last few months and with a year’s worth of experience under their belts’, everything seems to be shaping up to be an even greater success than last year!
The format will follow the exact same pattern as 2018 which means that a full field will be playing two rounds of 18 hole stroke play over the first two days. At that point, only the top 64 will advance to the weekend, where play then becomes a head to head 9 hole knock out battle!
For those who don’t remember or didn’t get the chance to come and visit last time round, Rinkven International is a relatively flat woodland course which features heavily tree lined fairways and water hazards throughout. The circuit we play is actually a composite of the Club’s North and South courses and is pretty easy to access with Central Antwerp only 15kms away.
Furthermore, despite initial fears, the weather forecast this week is now starting to look pretty great! Perhaps a little cloudy/breezy and chilly for the first two days but by the time the weekend comes around, temperatures are set to reach nearly 30 degrees!
Pretty perfect preparation this week with my coaches Mich and Jérôme on site as well as most of my friends and family gathering to support on the sidelines! Both myself and Nico are really grateful for all the efforts by the Pieters family to make this event happen in Belgium again. In addition to the memories of our recent victory at the World Cup, the hosting of this BKO tournament truly adds to the pride all three of us feel when we play golf and represent our country!
With that said, we would therefore really love it if you could come and join us at some point during the week! Ticket cost are starting from €27 and can still be bought online at belgianknockout.com.
Tee off at 8.45am tomorrow and really looking forward to seeing you all out there…especially in the weekend sunshine!
Very happy to be back in action again after a great week’s rest at home in Brussels - including watching all of the drama unfold at the USPGA Championship and a really impressive finish to the tournament from fellow Belgian Thomas Pieters!
As you will have no doubt seen, I was unfortunately not able to close up the tournament at British Masters in the way that I had hoped to. As a matter of fact, despite not achieving the scoring I wanted, I was really happy with how sharp certain elements of my game became in reaction to a bit of poor ball striking off the tee. It was also great to secure another Top 15 finish after a really enjoyable week in the UK and a lot of fun playing with Tommy Fleetwood on the Final Sunday too!
Now onto the challenge presented to us here in Denmark and thinking back, I have actually already had some pretty successful experiences at this event, finishing 14th in my first outing (2017 - here at Himmerland GC) and then 7th in the 2018 edition held in Silkeborg.
To give you some course insight this week… Himmerland is actually one of the shortest we play throughout the year and is a parkland track, very similar in nature to other inland links courses such as Hillside for the British Masters and The Dutch - KLM. The course itself is very exposed which means we all become vulnerable to gusty conditions if the wind picks up! Hazards including water traps are a feature across numerous holes and the rough has also been noticeably unmaintained which could make it extremely punishing! Reading the large and undulating greens accurately here will also be of significant importance.
One of the best things about returning to Denmark is the huge number of crowds that attend this event every year! The fans always help to create an awesome atmosphere which makes play a lot of fun! Moreover, Himmerland GC actually provides Europe’s answer to the 17th hole at Sawgrass GC since the par 3 16th hole here is the fan’s favourite and has its own naturally built in amphitheatre for crowds to enjoy! As a matter of fact, this 16th hole is one of the hardest playing on the Golf Course which helps nicely to add to the pressure!
Last but not least, only moderately breezy conditions (10 - 15mph) have been predicted for us over the course of the week but it’s definitely going to be a cold one with scattered showers and temperatures struggling to reach higher than 15 degrees at any point!
Tee off will be at 14.10pm tomorrow and already looking forward to beginning my next journey at this Made in Denmark event!
NB - Quick extra note to say that we are all very excited. The Belgian Knockout 2019 is finally approaching! In case you are not already aware then it is being played next week at Rinkven Golf Club & you can get your tickets in advance online at: https://belgianknockout.com/. Please come and support Pieters, Nico and myself who will be battling it out hard to take home that Knockout Title!!!
Born in Brussels on January 13th, 1993, Thomas lives in Brussels (Uccle), Belgium
Member of the Royal Golf Club of Belgium, he has played on a +6 handicap since 2013
Dream: reach the Nr. 1 spot of the O.W.G.R.
Michel Vanmeerbeek, Jérôme Theunis, Mike Small
Excel Sports Management, Vincent Borremans
Caddy: Ryan McGuigan
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|24-10-19||27-10-2019||Portugal Masters||Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course – Vilamoura – Portugal|
|17-10-19||20-10-2019||Open de France||Le Golf National – Paris – France|
|10-10-19||13-10-2019||Italian Open||Olgiata GC – Rome – Italy|
|26-09-19||29-09-2019||Alfred Dunhill Links Ch'ip||Old Course St. Andrews – . – Scotland|
|19-09-19||22-09-2019||BMW PGA Ch'ip||Wentworth Golf Club – Virginia Water, Surrey – England|
|12-09-19||15-09-2019||KLM Open||Rounds: 71 70 70 71 ⦿ To Par: -6 ⦿ Pos.: 36T||The International – Amsterdam – Netherlands|
|29-08-19||1-09-2019||Omega European Masters||Rounds: 68 71 65 66 ⦿ To Par: -10 ⦿ Pos.: 20T||Crans-sur-Sierre GC – Crans Montana – Switzerland|
|22-08-19||25-08-2019||Scandinavian Invitation||Rounds: 72 66 63 69 ⦿ To Par: -10 ⦿ Pos.: 20T||Hills GC – Gothenburg – Sweden|
|11-07-19||14-07-2019||Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open||Rounds: 69 65 70 68 ⦿ To Par: -12 ⦿ Pos.: 43T||The Renaissance Club – North Berwick – Scotland|
|4-07-19||7-07-2019||Dubai Duty Free Irish Open||Rounds: 70 69 68 66 ⦿ To Par: -7 ⦿ Pos.: 23T||Lahinch GC – Lahinch, Co. Clare – Ireland|
|27-06-19||30-06-2019||Andalucía Valderrama Masters||Rounds: 74 68 68 72 ⦿ To Par: -2 ⦿ Pos.: 8T||Real Club Valderrama – Sotogrande – Spain|
|20-06-19||23-06-2019||BMW International Open||Rounds: 75 68 ⦿ To Par: -1 ⦿ Pos.: 69T - Missed Cut||Golfclub München Eichenried – Munich – Germany|
|30-05-19||2-06-2019||Belgian Knockout||Rounds: 67 72 ⦿ To Par: -3 ⦿ Pos.: 35T||Rinkven International GC – Antwerp – Belgium|
|23-05-19||26-05-2019||Made In Denmark||Rounds: 72 69 71 69 ⦿ To Par: -3 ⦿ Pos.: 33T||Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort – Farsø – Denmark|
|9-05-19||12-05-2019||Belfred British Masters||Rounds: 66 67 73 73 ⦿ To Par: -9 ⦿ Pos.: 15T||Hillside GC – Southport, Merseyside – England|
|2-05-19||5-05-2019||Volvo China Open||Rounds: 70 29 ⦿ To Par: +3 ⦿ Pos.: 0T - Retired||The Tradition at Wolong Valley – Chengdu – China|
|25-04-19||28-04-2019||Trophée Hassan II||Rounds: 73 76 69 72 ⦿ To Par: -2 ⦿ Pos.: 9T||Red Course – Rabat – Morocco|
|28-03-19||31-03-2019||Corales Puntacana Ch'ip||Rounds: 72 66 72 70 ⦿ To Par: -8 ⦿ Pos.: 33T||Puntacana Resort & Club – Puntacana – Dominican Republic|
|21-03-19||24-03-2019||Maybank Ch'ip||Rounds: 70 71 76 70 ⦿ To Par: -1 ⦿ Pos.: 55T||Saujana G&CC – Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia|
|7-03-19||10-03-2019||Qatar Masters||Rounds: 70 68 70 70 ⦿ To Par: -10 ⦿ Pos.: 11T||Doha GC – Doha – Qatar|
|28-02-19||3-03-2019||Oman Open||Rounds: 70 73 76 73 ⦿ To Par: +4 ⦿ Pos.: 40T||Al Mouj Golf – Muscat – Oman|
|31-01-19||3-02-2019||Saudi International||Rounds: 68 70 66 73 ⦿ To Par: -3 ⦿ Pos.: 42T||Royal Greens G&CC – King Abdullah Economic City – Saudi Arabia|
|24-01-19||27-01-2019||Omega Dubai Desert Classic||Rounds: 68 68 74 71 ⦿ To Par: -7 ⦿ Pos.: 48T||Emirates GC – Dubai – UAE|
|16-01-19||19-01-2019||Abu Dhabi HSBC Ch'ip Presented By EGA||Rounds: 72 67 76 72 ⦿ To Par: -1 ⦿ Pos.: 65T||Abu Dhabi GC – Abu Dhabi – UAE|
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