It might be 13 years since Padraig Harrington last played in the Omega European Masters, but the Irishman is relishing his return to one of The European Tour’s most picturesque venues.
The three-time Major Champion last visited Crans-sur-Sierre in 2000, and while the renowned festival feel in the Swiss mountains remains the same, he has found plenty of changes to the course in the intervening years.
“Clearly it is right up there as the most beautiful venue we play tournament golf at around the world,” said Harrington. “It is a beautiful place, let alone the golf course. Secondly, it always has a great atmosphere here.
“The course is in the centre of the town and everyone seems to be into their golf here.
“You walk around the town and there are three caddie carts outside the pub because they haven’t made it home.
“It reminds you of home because a lot of links courses at home are like that, where the clubhouse is nearly in the town and everyone, even if they don’t play, is involved.
While the 42 year old is enjoying matters off the course this week, Harrington knows there is plenty of work to be done on it after five years without a European Tour title.
“Two six unders and two two unders would be pretty close,” he added.
“It’s really hard. There are some short holes, but there is a lot of difficultly around the greens.”
Michael Hoey is also in the field this week alongside Darren Clarke, Gareth Maybin, Simon Thornton, Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane.