Menu Close

Willett Ready for DP World Tour Return at European Open

Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, is back in Europe, ready to light up the fairways at the European Open in Hamburg this week.

This marks his first regular appearance on the DP World Tour this season. Fresh off making the cut at the Masters in April, Willett is eager to build on his momentum after a six-month hiatus due to reconstructive shoulder surgery.

Danny Willett: It’s fantastic to be back in Europe and see some familiar faces. I made my comeback at Augusta earlier this year and it was a great test to see where my game was at”.

“I’ve had the last seven weeks off and it’s nice to be able to come back and play on the DP World Tour again”.

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the German fans again because I got my first DP World Tour victory in Germany at the BMW International Open”.

“This is a great event to come back and play on European soil. My practice has been good back in America but the golf course is very long this week and the weather conditions will make it tricky”.

The European Open isn’t just about Willett’s return, though. This week’s event will see Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen making his 700th DP World Tour appearance, joining an elite group that includes Sam Torrance (706), Miguel Ángel Jiménez (721), and David Howell (723).

Kjeldsen, who turned professional in 1995, boasts a career decorated with four DP World Tour victories, the latest being the 2015 Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open.

Reflecting on his career, Kjeldsen highlights his triumph at the World Cup of Golf with Thorbjørn Olesen in 2016 as a pinnacle moment.

Also in the spotlight is Tom McKibbin, the defending champion of the Porsche Nord Course at Green Eagle.

The 21-year-old Northern Irishman, who clinched his maiden DP World Tour title last year by overcoming local favourites Maximilian Kieffer and Marcel Siem, is back to defend his title.

McKibbin’s victory was significant, making him only the second Northern Irish winner of this event, after Darren Clarke.

Tom McKibbin: “I can’t wait for the week and I’m excited to be back. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I won my first title here and the course is looking fantastic”.

“I forgot how hard the course is but being out there today it is definitely playing a lot longer and a lot softer”.

“It has brought back a lot of memories from last year on what shots I hit and where I was successful”.

“It’s a very long golf course and extremely challenging off the tee. It’s important to be accurate and long off the tee”.

“It’s not that warm this week which will make it play a lot longer and driving the ball will play a huge factor again this year”.

Rasmus Højgaard is another name to watch. With three top-ten finishes in his last eight starts, including a runner-up at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, the Danish golfer is aiming to continue his strong form.

Currently 16th in the Race to Dubai Rankings, Højgaard’s sights are set on climbing higher with a stellar performance in Hamburg.

For the home crowd, the tournament brings the excitement of seeing 16 German players in action, including Marcel Siem, Yannik Paul, Maximilian Kieffer, and Nick Bachem.

Among the amateurs, Tiger Christensen and Freddy Schott, who earned his card for 2023 by winning the Qualifying School Final Stage, are also expected to make waves.

Making his DP World Tour debut is American Jordan Weber, who secured his spot after a remarkable performance in the NEXT Golf Tour Powered by Trackman Season Finale.

The 38-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, is eager to seize this opportunity and has exemptions into three Challenge Tour events this season.

Adding an international flair, Uganda’s Ronald Rugumayo will be making his second appearance of the season.

Rugumayo made history as the first Ugandan to make the cut at a DP World Tour event during the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa earlier this year.

As the 2024 Race to Dubai makes its way to Germany for the first of two visits this season, the European Open promises a week of thrilling golf.

Whether it’s seasoned pros like Willett and Kjeldsen, emerging talents like McKibbin and Højgaard, or debutants like Weber and Rugumayo, the field is packed with stories and potential.