The last time was nearly eight years ago. In November 2014, Marcel Sim was the last German to win the championship of one of the world’s largest professional golf tours in China. Martin Kaymer’s most recent success, albeit much higher with the US Open, was a few months ago. In the $1.75 million tournament in Winsen/Luhe, the German pros now have a chance from Thursday to Sunday to win another major title in front of their home crowd.
Not just Kaymer or Siem anymore
Kaymer or Siem are no longer the first German contenders when it comes to immortalizing themselves for the trophy. Kaymer, who remains number one in the world in 2011, slipped to 210 and is only the fifth best German in the world rankings. In front of him is Stefan Jäger (No. 171), who, however, plays in the United States and is the only first German player not to attend in Wensen. The other three, who have left Kaymer, are at the start. And all three, unlike the 37-year-old, have already made the top ten this year.
Most recently, Marcel Schneider finished fourth in the Dutch Open, before Yannick Pohl finished second in Belgium. Then Hurley Long, Olympic participant in Tokyo and 27th best German in the annual European Tour standings. He finished second in Kenya for a long time and finished in the top ten in three other tournaments. So it seems only a matter of time before a German wins a championship on the European Tour (renamed the DP World Tour this season).
Ritthammer and John were close in Winsen
The tournament is being held at Green Eagle Golf Courses in Winsen for the fifth time. And in recent years, at least two Germans have come close to victory. In 2018, then-amateur Allen John, who had just taken gold at the Deaf Olympics for the second time, came second, just one stroke away from winning. A year later, Bernd Reithammer suffered the same disappointment when he had to admit defeat to England’s Paul Casey on the last hole.
Ryder Cup captain Stinson still has credit to win
This year, along with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, Swede Henrik Stenson is also one of Winsen’s international stars. The winner of the 2016 British Open, one of the four Grand Slams (similar to the Grand Slam in tennis), has just been named the new Ryder Cup captain for the European team. That’s why Stenson will have plenty of additional assignments off the golf course ahead of next year’s continental battle between Europe and the United States in Rome.
Even though he is now 46 years old, he still wants to try to keep up and win championships. “I still have something to make up for here in Winson,” he asserts. Because just like Kaymer, Stenson failed to cut last year – after two out of four rounds, only the top 65 players and tied are allowed to continue playing into the weekend.
“Green Monster” is one of the best courses in Europe
The fact that the task is particularly difficult for Stenson and all other golf professionals is also due to the course at Winsen. At an altitude of almost 7000 metres, it is considered one of the longest and most difficult European treks. So rocker and golfer Alice Cooper gave the name “Green Monster”. But despite the difficult water hazards of 17 of the 18 waterways, Siem considers the course to be the only one in Germany that can rival the best courses in the world.
Albers aficionados: ‘It’s very exciting’
Not new territory, but the track and championship will be a very special challenge for Anton Albers. The 22-year-old was one of only two amateurs to initially secure a place in the professional field. Albers studies in Little Rock (Arkansas) and is currently the best German in the amateur world rankings. It comes from Buchholz in der Nordheide, just 30 kilometers from the “Green Eagle Golf Courses”.
“It is incredibly exciting to be involved in the tours with those I only follow on social media or on TV,” says Albers, who outshines many professionals. Because Buchholzer has played the course countless times. However, not all aficionados are expected to end the Germans’ drought on the European Tour.