Date: June 20, 2007

Open field for Munich

Newly-crowned US Open champion Angel Cabrera is waiting until the French Open to make his return to the European Tour but there are plenty of other survivors from the difficult Oakmont course who go straight back into action at Munich&aposs BMW International Open on Thursday. Niclas Fasth, Nick Dougherty and Paul Casey – fourth, seventh and 10th respectively in the United States on Sunday – will be hoping that it proves a springboard to success. Others like Colin Montgomerie, who has only once scored worse in a major than his second-round 82, defending champion Henrik Stenson, 15 over in also missing the cut, and Ernie Els, who dropped out of the top 50 with a closing 78, will be praying they have got it out of their system by the time they tee off again. Every one of them – even those who did well – will be grateful for a far less strenuous week. After the rigours of Pittsburgh, where Cabrera won at five over par and produced two of only eight sub-70 scores all week, the Munchen Nord-Eichenried layout offers a stark contrast. This is where American John Daly – in the field again now after a traumatic month in which he claimed his wife tried to knife him in bed – finished 27 under par in winning the title in 2001. That matched the then European Tour record score in relation to par, but did not officially count because placing of the ball was allowed in the third round. Ten-under-par rounds of 62 have been achieved four times, by Welshman David Park, Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, France&aposs Raphael Jacquelin and most recently two years ago by England&aposs Simon Dyson. Last August three players – Stenson, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen – tied on 15 under, with the Swede then grabbing victory with a play-off eagle. This is also where Ian Poulter finished the 2004 Ryder Cup race by playing the last eight holes in six under with two eagles and two birdies. And that after running up a quadruple bogey eight on the 10th. The switch in dates starting this season is to avoid a clash with the US Tour&aposs new FedEx Cup play-off series in August and the presence of Els, Stenson, Daly, Montgomerie, Casey and Poulter certainly helps its profile. Daly, no longer the holder of a US Tour card, did not qualify for last week&aposs major but it cannot be easy for him to concentrate on golf with all that has happening in his always turbulent personal life lately. Others may also arrive frazzled mentally and physically after yet another brutal US Open.