On this last day of the OMEGA European Masters, it is already time to make a first assessment. This 2022 edition has been experienced by many as a return to normality, after two very special years. We spoke to Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA since 2016 and who has been with the tournament in Crans-Montana for 25 years.
Raynald Aeschlimann, what is the relationship between OMEGA and the organizers of the European Masters?
We share the same values and a common desire to improve the event. This way of moving forward together, of wanting to go further, has allowed us to bring magic to the event. We have been title sponsor of the tournament for 21 years and this longevity is unique in the world. Our roots are extremely deep... When we were on hole 13 with George Clooney, we talked about the beauty of the site. For him, it was an obvious choice. For us it's a slow evolution. But the years have gone by so fast."
For you, is this 2022 edition also one of return to normal?
I haven't felt any break during these two years. Everything in the organisation has continued to evolve and improve. The course has never been so good. As for the players, I find that their motivation is even stronger in front of a newfound public. The results were brilliant, with the addition of two "hole-in-one". It was one of the best editions I've ever played in.
The OMEGA European Masters is not just a golf competition?
"It's more than a golf tournament, it's an experience. And it's unique. Our guests and influencers from all over the world, for example from the Philippines and Japan, have confirmed this. The landscapes and the sun of Crans-Montana contribute to the beauty of the show. But we must not forget that we are making great efforts to offer our visitors more and more. Every year, there is a certain amount of excitement outside the course.
OMEGA is keen to have a strong presence of international stars...
Yes, it's an important tradition. This year, we had a visit from George Clooney. In 2019, Justin Timberlake was really pleased with his stay. But we mustn't forget that it all started in 1997 with Cindy Crawford's presence.
How do you see the future of the OMEGA European Masters?
You have to be aware of the level we have reached and the improvements that have been made over the last ten years. For the future, we still have ideas to develop. For the tournament, participation is also a challenge. Especially at a time when the world of golf is being questioned.