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BMW International Open 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 01 Jul 2024

A HOST of German stars will be hoping to take the limelight at this week’s BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried. Making a sentimental return to his homeland will be Bernhard Langer.

Having undergone a successful operation on the Achilles injury he suffered practicing in February, the two-time Masters champion, six-time Ryder Cup winner, and most successful player in the history of the PGA Tour Champions, said: “It feels good to be back on the golf course and I am very much looking forward to the iconic tournament in my native Bavaria.” He is certain to receive a warm welcome from the home fans and will be absolutely determined to make it to the weekend.

Bernhard Langer

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

And there is every chance that those spectators will be cheering home a German winner come Sunday afternoon. Nick Bachem, Alex Cejka, the only German winner of the BMW International Open Martin Kaymer, Max Kieffer, Hurly Long, Jeremy and Yannik Paul, Matti Schmid, Marcel Schneider and Freddy Schott are all in the field.

After a one-year break, Kaymer returns for the 35th staging of the tournament, which he won back in 2008 to become the youngest champion – a record he still holds. The two-time major winner said: “It fills me with a lot of joy to announce that I will be playing The BMW International Open in Germany, one of my all time favourite events, this year in Munich. I did fall in love with the course since I won there in 2008 and I’m looking forward to celebrate Bernhard Langer’s career and be part of his last tournament on the DP World Tour.”

It is difficult to believe that Kaymer’s most recent victory came at the 2014 US Open, when he destroyed a world-class field on one of the most difficult golf courses on the planet.

In Alex Cejka, one of Langer’s longest companions will make the journey from the USA to Munich. The three-time major winner on the PGA Tour Champions and reigning Senior Open champion always enjoys coming home, and still has plenty of game.

Max Kieffer, who finished third last year and narrowly missed out on the title in Munich, is also looking forward to the week. “This is the tournament I am most looking forward to this season, particularly after I came so close to winning it last year. That was a really special week,” said the 33-year-old. “You never know what might happen in golf, but it would be a dream to win on German soil this year.”

For the first time since the 2016 BMW International Open, Jeremy and Yannik Paul will both tee off at the prestigious German tournament. Playing at the same event is a rare treat for twins Yannik and Jeremy Paul. Jeremy, who is one minute older than his brother, plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, on which he won his first tournament in January. Yannik ended last season on the DP World Tour as the top German in the Race to Dubai in  22nd place.

Hurly Long and Nick Bachem were 57th and 59th in the end-of-season ranking to successfully secure their cards for this season – as did Marcel Siem (24th) Kieffer (65th), Matti Schmid (74th), who also plays on the PGA Tour, and Marcel Schneider (90th).

Freddy Schott held his nerve to win Qualifying School and earn his current tour card in the autumn. The 22-year-old said: “The tournaments in Germany are the highlights of my season and I am already looking forward to the German fans in Munich. Although I am still new to the DP World Tour, I would like to leave a lasting and positive mark on the impressive history of this tournament.”

The other two outstanding names in the field are Patrick Reed and Ryan Fox. Reed may not be everybody’s cup of tea but he played in Italy last week and is back in action again in Munich. As a LIV golfer his chances of picking up world ranking points are few and far between these days and he is to be commended for making the effort to climb the rankings again. Once as high as sixth, he now languishes in 102nd place and is quite clearly a better player than that. His goal will be to get back in the top 50, and a win here will almost certainly do that for him.

Reed's run of 41 consecutive majors ended at the recent US Open. He decided it was the “best option” to skip Final Qualifying in Dallas as it fell the day after the PGA Championship concluded at Valhalla. “Playing at a major championship, grinding for four days, then trying to get a flight out and get there… it wasn’t feasible,” Reed said. “Too much that I had to do to try to get there and line everything up. It wasn’t meant to be.”

The former Masters champion is eligible to competedue to paying off the fines and serving the suspensions from the DP World Tour for competing in LIV events.

The American is a long-time supporter of the European circuit, having competed in a number of events during his professional playing career. Amid his loyalties to LIV, his most recent came in January 2022 in Dubai, where he played out an epic battle with Rory McIlroy.

The week was initially marred by a row between Reed and McIlroy in the build-up to the event, after Reed flicked a tee-peg in the direction of the Northern Irishman who appeared to ignore his LIV rival. The event ended with the pair going neck-and-neck at the top of the leaderboard, with McIlroy eventually prevailing.

Fox had a sensational season on the DP World Tour in 2023, securing his playing rights for the PGA Tour. There have been some flashes of the form he displayed last season but, in the main, it has been something of a struggle and he will be looking for a performance to boost his confidence ahead of the Scottish Open and The Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Last year, Thriston Lawrence claimed his second win of the season as he overhauled Joost Luiten on a dramatic final day in Germany. The South African entered the final day four shots behind his rival but had reeled him in by the turn before back-to-back three-putts on the 12th and 13th left him two behind with five to play.

The 17th proved critical as Lawrence hit a stunning tee-shot to set up a birdie and Luiten three-putted the par-three to drop out of the lead for the first time all day. Lawrence parred the last for a 69 to finish at 13 under and with Luiten unable to make a birdie on the par-five, the 26-year-old was left celebrating a fourth DP World Tour title.

Lawrence said: "It means a lot.” He fought back tears after becoming just the second South African to win this trophy after Ernie Els. "There's been a lot of hard work. I went to America for six weeks and made one cut - this game is not easy. It was a real boost today and I really gave it my all. I feel sorry for Joost, I know how tough this game is.

"I don't know why I'm so emotional but obviously it just shows that it means the world and to get my fourth victory in Germany is unbelievable. I seem to win a lot of events that Ernie has won. It's special, he's obviously the ultimate hero for me. I grew up in that era where he was on top of the world and it's very special to to get my name along alongside him."

Tournament Insights

Past Tournament Winners

It was won in 2015 by Pablo Larrazabal, in 2016 by Henrik Stenson, in 2017 by Andres Romero, in 2018 by Matt Wallace, in in 2019 by Andrea Pavan, in 2021 by Viktor Hovland, in 2022 by Li Haotong and last year by Thriston Lawrence. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The Course

Golfclub München Eichenried is a par 72 that measures 7,284 yards. It was designed by Kurt Robknecht and opened in 1989. It is a parkland course that features many streams and ponds, two half-island greens and 90 bunkers.

Form Guide

Patrick Reed is a world-class golfer and is to be applauded for making an effort to garner some ranking points. He is a proven winner. And Ryan Fox remains a world-class golfer who will enjoy his return to Europe

To win:

Patrick Reed. Not here to make up the numbers

Each way:

Ryan Fox. Mercurial talent

Each way:

Hurly Long. Probably Germany’s best hope

Five To Follow

Patrick Reed. Great short game

Ryan Fox. Hits it a mile

Hurly Long. Has plenty of game

Rasmus Højgaard. Class act

Thriston Lawrence. Proven winner

Five Outsiders To Watch

Bernhard Langer. Sentimental favourite

Alex Cejka. Still has a top game

Freddy Schott. Will break through at some point

Haotong Li. You never know what you are going to get

Miguel Angel Jimenez. Spanish warrior

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