European Open Golf Champions

STRAFFAN, IRELAND - JULY 07: Lee Westwood of England lines up a putt on the 2nd green during round two of the Smurfit Kappa European Open at The K-Club on July 7, 2006 in Straffan, Ireland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)In the entire history of the European Open only four golfers have ever won the event more than once, and only two of these golfers have pulled off consecutive victories – England’s Lee Westwood and Sweden’s Per-Ulrick Johansson. These skilled men have to be viewed as the ‘true’ champions of the Open.

Scot, Gordon Brand junior and Germany’s Bernhard Langer have also tamed the Irish beast twice, and their feat is no less remarkable in that both won the European Open at two different venues.

Brand lifted the Open crown in 1984 at the Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, and in 1993 at the East Sussex National. Langer was successful in 1985 at Sunningdale and a decade later he triumphed on the K-Club’s Palmer Course.

Lee Westwood

One of England’s favourite golfing sons, Lee Westwood, is no slouch with the club. He boasts a total of 29 professional wins, 18 of which were garnered on the European Tour. He has also been a successful Ryder Cup team member since 1997.

Westwood’s best year was undeniably the year 2000. Not only did he win seven tournaments world-wide, but he took the European Tour Order of Merit, knocking fellow Brit and 2007 European Open winner, Colin Montgomerie, off his pedestal. It was also the year that he won his second consecutive European Open in Ireland.

He peaked at number 4 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and his best results at the majors are all top-ten finishes:

  • The Masters – Tied 6th in 1999
  • The US Open – Tied 5th in 2000
  • The Open Championships– 4th in 2004
  • The PGA Championships – T15th in 2000

Per-Ulrick Johansson

Sweden’s Per-Ulrick Johansson had an auspicious start to his career when he turned pro in 1990 – he was nominated the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 1991. He forged on and one of the highlights of his career was his back-to-back European Open wins in 1996 and 1997, both at the K Club near Dublin.

He reached a career best ranking of 11th on the Official World Golf Ranking in 1997, but for the next decade he battled to maintain his form and had to rely on wild card entries to play on the European Tour.

In 2007 he made a timely comeback when he won the Russian Open by 6 shots. His victory has secured his playing rights until 2009.

Who will be the European Open Champion?