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Porsche European Open Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 19 Sep 2016

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

YOU have to take your hat off to Martin Kaymer. Trust me, you really do. With the Ryder Cup looming fact, it would have been easy for the German to say thanks, but no thanks to the Porsche European being played at Resort Bad Griesbach. But, aware that scheduling commitments meant that he couldn't play in the tournament when it was relaunched in his homeland 12 months ago, Kaymer decided that he had to play this time.

More than 25,000 spectators saw Thongchai Jaidee record his seventh victory on the European Tour last year, finishing 17 under par on the Beckenbauer course, and the Thai golfer will be back to defend his title.

Last year was the first time that the European Open had been staged since 2009, when it was won by Christian Cevaer. In 2008 the champion was Ross Fisher, in 2007 it was Colin Montgomerie and in 2006 it was the Welshman Stephen Dodd. But the success of the tournament in 2015 guarantees its place back on the tour for the foreseeable future.

Kaymer is joined by fellow Ryder Cup player Thomas Pieters and the two men would love nothing more to be going head to head for the title before flying out to Hazeltine to join their teammates. And if there is any justice in this world, it will be Kaymer who comes out on top. Coincidentally, Kaymer and Pieters were two of Darren Clarke's three wild-card picks (Lee Westwood is the other). 

Kaymer's selection was never in doubt. He may not have had a great season, but he has played well enough, is a two-time major champion and he holed the winning putt at Medinah four years ago. And Pieters, of course, played fantastic golf to win the Made In Denmark and was given the nod ahead of Russell Knox. 

The decision to pick the young Belgian may have raised a few eyebrows, but Knox has only himself to blame - if he had joined the European Tour earlier than he did then he would have made the team automatically. Pieters has nothing to prove - to himself, to the fans, to Knox and not to anybody else.

Other likely contenders are men who might also have expected to be boarding that flight to Hazeltine - Bernd Wiesberger, Victor Dubuisson, Alexander Levy, to name but three. Wiesberger has shown signs recently of returning to his very best form and this almost amounts to a home tournament for the big-hitting Austrian so he will go into it with high hopes. Levy and Dubuisson made electric starts to their professional careers but both men have stalled recently and it will be fascinating to see if they can regroup. Dubuisson, in particular, is a hugely talented golfer whose main issue seems to be between his ears - if he can sort out his mental approach to the game then he could still be a global star.

The organisers have invited a number of Americans, and the two worth keeping a special eye on are Luke List and Matt Every. List is a massive talent, and he also happens to hit the ball miles - even further than Dustin Johnson. Like Johnson in his early years, List struggles with the short irons and when he solves that conundrum, as Johnson has, he could go on to become as big a name in the sport as his countryman.

To Win:

Martin Kaymer. Hoping for a confidence booster

Each Way:

Luke List. Could bring this course to its knees

Each Way:

Bern Wiesberger. Ready to win again

Fantasy Picks

Martin Kaymer. Loves playing on home soil

Luke List . Would rather be at East Lake

Bernd Wiesberger. Good signs recently

Thomas Pieters. On the crest of a wave

Soren Kjeldsen. One of the good guys

David Lipsky. Ever-improving American

Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Looking to save poor season

Thongchai Jaidee. Don't rule out a successful defence

George Coetzee. What's happened to Gorgeous George this year?

Richie Ramsay. Playing superb golf

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Tags: Thomas Pieters ryder cup Martin Kaymer european tour

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