For the cars and golf – the Porsche European Open’s top stars

The Porsche European Open has been a popular port of call for the biggest names in golf ever since the first staging in 2015 and the appeal of the sports cars has made the golf event something quite special on the tournament calendar.

2015 – A Northern Irishman drives a Porsche through Lower Bavaria

Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell (l-r), 2015, Porsche AG
Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell

The premiere presented itself right away as being high class. In September 2015, several top golfers travelled to the Beckenbauer Course in Bad Griesbach to compete at the Porsche European Open. Five major winners and numerous Ryder Cup players adorned the entry list, including Porsche fans Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Peter Hanson (Sweden). When talking to “Christophorus”, the Porsche customer magazine, the Swedish amateur racing driver revealed: “Being in the zone for a short time, whether in a 911 or on the golf course, that’s the best.” McDowell also raved “That was wonderful,” after driving a 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet from Munich to Lower Bavaria.

The Spanish crowd favourite Miguel Angel Jiménez attracted a lot of attention. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) and USA’s Hunter Mahan, who can otherwise only be admired on the US PGA Tour, helped serve up a top field that attracted a global audience. In particular the German golfing legend Bernhard Langer, the two-time Masters winner, multiple US Champions Tour victor and the designer of the Beckenbauer Course, generated a great atmosphere at the venue. His 24th placing after the four rounds was the best result for a home player. Of the top favourites, none landed at the top of the leaderboard. Peter Hanson and Charl Schwartzel eventually shared 19th place.

2016 – Martin Kaymer and The Big Easy

Martin Kaymer, 2016, Porsche AG
Martin Kaymer

In the second year of the Porsche European Open, five major winners and more than a dozen Ryder Cup players also attracted the spectators to Lower Bavaria. The top star was Martin Kaymer, who, just prior to the Ryder Cup in USA, appeared in front of the German fans for the only time that year. He was still in contention in the final round and eventually finished an impressive sixth. Another world class golfer that looked forward to the Porsche European Open, and not only for the “good opportunity to be able to drive a nice Porsche”, was Ernie Els.

Ernie Els, 2016, Porsche AG
Ernie Els

The South African with the nickname “The Big Easy” wallowed in the indelible memories of the European Open that has been held since 1978. In his opinion, they have made a “big event” something very special. “I can well remember watching the tournament, which was held at the time in Walton Heath in England, for years on television. The European Open has taken a while to return and that the tournament is back on the Tour calendar with such a good sponsor like Porsche is tremendous.” Other famous names in the year: Padraig Harrington, the three-time major winner from Ireland, and England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who finished 13th before embarking on a rapid rise up the world rankings.

2017 – Porsche fans from USA

Patrick Reed, 2017, Porsche AG
Patrick Reed at the Porsche Centre Hamburg North-West

There was no stopping one of the stars at the first staging of the Porsche European Open at the Green Eagle Golf Courses complex by Hamburg from taking a closer look at the latest Porsche models in the Porsche Centre in North West Hamburg before the first day of the tournament. The cars included a silver metallic Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. “It’s a good feeling,” admitted Patrick Reed. “When I was a little boy, my father owned a Porsche. Dad allowed me to sit on his lap and help him change gears with my small hand. That really is my first memory of Porsche.” The first memories of the Porsche European Open are similarly euphoric. In round three, the US golfer holed his second shot on the Porsche Nord Course’s 18th hole (473 metres/Par 5) for a very rare – and the first for him – albatross (3 under par).

Pat Perez, 2017, Porsche AG
Pat Perez

Reed teamed up during the third Porsche European Open with his countrymen Jimmy Walker and Pat Perez to form a famous US trio that proved a lot of fun. At the ProAm dinner on the evening before the start of the tournament, Perez entertained the guests with anecdotes from life as a golf pro. The reigning major winner Walker found it “great being able to use a 911 during the tournament week. It’s an exciting, an iconic car.” Masters champion Charl Schwartzel honoured the tournament with his presence. On the first day he hit the pin from 250 metres and narrowly missed out – in contrast to Reed – on a spectacular albatross.

2018 – Full star power for the jubilee

The top stars at the Porsche Urban Golf Challenge 2018

The tournament moved on into its jubilee year and the 2018 Porsche European Open starting line-up matched the big expectations. Forty years of the European Open and 70 years of Porsche sports cars were celebrated. The recently crowned Masters winner Patrick Reed travelled to the event for a second time for the jubilee and Charl Schwatzel, another wearer of the famous green jacket, took part for the third time. Pat Perez was happy to once again savour the Porsche atmosphere in Germany. Together with shooting star Bryson DeChambeau, all three appeared at the beginning of the week on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn. The top golfers put on an entertaining show for the spectators at the Porsche Urban Golf Challenge staged on the red-light district’s world-famous main street. Pat Perez (USA) secured himself the win and consequently a Porsche 911 GTS for the whole tournament week. “The atmosphere here was simply fantastic. We had a lot of fun together. And now I’m looking forward to driving the Porsche.”

Bryson DeChambeau, 2017, Porsche AG
Bryson DeChambeau

Taking part for the first time, Paul Casey experienced spectacular moments at the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Lüneburg. “For me it’s always safety first on the roads. It made it all the nicer being able to manoeuvre a GT3 RS around a cordoned-off track. It was simply dreamlike and the perfect warm-up for the tournament week,” said the Englishman. At the end of the week, Casey came seventh, while Schwartzel and Reed both made it into the Top 10, finishing joint ninth. In the lead for a long time, DeChambeau eventually ended the tournament in 13th place. The week in Hamburg was nevertheless positive for the young US star. “It’s always great fun when we can do something different and out of the ordinary. Even more so in this inspirational city.” 

2019 – Casey’s dream week

Andreas Haffner, Paul Casey, 2019, Porsche AG
Winner Paul Casey 2019 with Andreas Haffner, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Social Affairs of Porsche AG

For Xander Schauffele, it was a quite special debut: not only because the American was able to marvel at himself together with the new Porsche Cayenne Coupé on the posters marking the “I am Athlete” campaign (“It’s nice to see.”). For the 25-year-old, it was also a trip into the past. His father Stefan grew up in Stuttgart, the home of Porsche. These days, the family lives in San Diego, California. “I carry Stuttgart and Germany around in me, just like Porsche. The Porsche European Open is therefore something very special for me. And for my family,” said the shooting star on the US PGA Tour during a drive around Hamburg’s city centre in a Porsche 911 Carrera S. “I’m a perfectionist, my father says we’re both very stubborn. My work ethic is definitely also German. And they’re attributes I also see in Porsche. Never give up trying to get better, I like that.”

Xander Schauffele, 2019, Porsche AG
Xander Schauffele

Compatriot Matt Kuchar took pleasure in an excursion to the ADAC Driving Safety Centre in Lüneburg where the nine-time winner on the US Tour put the limits of his driving skills to the test in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. He, in his own words, felt “like a child again. These cars are made to race.” Patrick Reed also raved at his third appearance on Hamburg’s doorstep about the sports cars from Germany. Like his fellow players he was particularly taken by the new Porsche Taycan Turbo which stood on the 17th tee as the hole-in-one vehicle. (“I’d have liked to have had more time to have taken a closer look.”).

The week’s leading performer was, however, Paul Casey. The Porsche lover was over the moon at a quite special title – the three-time Ryder Cup winner celebrated his 19 pro win at the Porsche European Open of all places: “As a fan of sports cars, I felt very much at home this week and it certainly helped me. It really is a very special win.”

Info

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Porsche European Open will unfortunately not be held on the Porsche Nord Course belonging to the Green Eagle Golf Courses near Hamburg from 3 - 6 September. During the week, we will instead remember some of the key events and people from the long-standing tournament’s history.

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