Tournament: Made in HimmerLand
DP World Tour Rankings: Tournament 33 of 43 events
Venue: HimmerLand, Farsø, Denmark
Prize Fund: €2,000,000
Hashtag: #MIH2022 #DPWT
Luke Donald makes his debut on Danish soil this week at Made in HimmerLand, where the 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain will tee up alongside rising stars Nicolai Højgaard and Adri Arnaus in the opening two rounds.
The former World Number One from England will play in his first of three consecutive DP World Tour events on European soil, also comprising next week’s BMW PGA Championship and the following week’s DS Automobiles Italian Open.
Not only will Donald be chasing an eighth DP World Tour title but he will also be on a scouting mission in his role as European Ryder Cup Captain, with the intention of meeting and playing alongside some of the continent’s finest young players.
Among those are the promising Højgaard twins Nicolai and Rasmus, who will play in front of their home fans this week in an event famed for its unique party atmosphere.
While Nicolai – winner of last year’s Italian Open at Ryder Cup venue Marco Simone Golf Club, as well as earlier this year at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship – will play alongside Donald and Arnaus, his brother Rasmus will have Ryder Cup Vice Captain Edoardo Molinari for company, as well as Englishman Richard Mansell.
Thorbjørn Olesen will play on home soil for the first time since his fourth DP World Tour win at May’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett, while the winning 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn – also Vice Captain for Donald in Rome next year – returns to home soil.
Luke Donald: “I wanted to be over in Europe a little more and obviously I’ll be there next week and in Italy as well, but this week was a great chance to come over here and spend a little bit of time with my Vice Captains Thomas Bjørn and Edoardo Molinari as they’re both in the field.
“It’s my first time to Denmark actually, I’ve crossed through Copenhagen Airport briefly but I haven’t spent any time here so it will be great to meet some of the locals, some of the fans – I know a lot of fans come to this tournament and create a great atmosphere.
“I’ve always supported the DP World Tour and have been a full Member for many years now, but I’ll be over in Europe a little bit more and keeping an eye on some of the players – playing with some of the guys that I haven’t played with or known very well.
“Those up and coming stars who might have an opportunity to make a Ryder Cup, and I haven’t seen their game yet. It’s important, the last month since I’ve taken this job I’ve been following the scores a little more closely, but it’s nice to be in the tournaments with them, see how they’re acting, see how they’re playing. Nothing beats actually being there rather than watching from home so it’s a great opportunity for me.
“I played the first ten holes, beautiful course in great condition, looks like we’re going to have a great week of weather. It’s a fun little course, there are a few different strategies off the tee. I know 16 is a fun hole for the week with HimmerLand Hill and all the spectators that surround it.
“There will be some changes this year obviously, we’ve gone for three players off the European Points List and three from the World Points List and six picks. It’s certainly a little bit of a change from past years but certainly myself and Edoardo especially, we did a deep dive into some statistical analysis and really thought this was going to give us the best opportunity to have the strongest team for Rome.”
Thorbjørn Olesen: “Ever since the first time it came here, this event has just been a great event and it’s only getting better and better through the years. Obviously it’s a very special tournament to me playing at home, but I think all of the players really enjoy coming here and playing, so it’s nice to be back.
“I think the last two or three years we have had many Danish winners on the DP World Tour and also on the Challenge Tour, from Denmark and Sweden – and we have had so many guys qualifying from the Challenge Tour and coming through the system.
“It’s quite difficult to keep up to date because there are so many Danes all of a sudden, it’s really good for a small country like us with 5.5 million people and not the best golf weather, to be able to produce so many golfers.
“The greens are really really good here, they are a bit faster than what I remember in the past. Obviously they got a bit of rain last weekend so the fairways are quite soft and it’s playing a little longer but I think the greenkeepers have done an amazing job – like with everything here, it keeps getting better and better every year.”
Nicolai Højgaard: “It’s special to be here, it’s an event we look forward to every year. For me it’s a highlight of the year, it’s the Majors and then HimmerLand for us Danish players! I’m looking forward to a good week.
“They know how to put on a good show here, it will definitely be a great week and there will be big crowds here at the weekend. The course is in great shape and hopefully we get a Danish winner this year.
“There is way more rough out there now than there has ever been, it’s a little bit more tricky off the tee I would say. You can still play fairly aggressive, it’s definitely more tricky but the greens are so good. They’re quite slick, so fast, and with the rough around the greens and slopey greens, it will be a good test.
“But there will low scoring out there too, you can make birdies out there but you can also make a few high numbers if you don’t keep it in play.
“It’s a good draw, I’m looking forward to playing with Luke and Adri. I have played with Adri a lot of times, he’s a good guy, and I have never played with Luke but with him being the Ryder Cup Captain, it’s interesting.
“Obviously you want to impress him and play well but that can’t be the focus and the goal, the goal tomorrow is play well and do my stuff and have a good round. I’m just going to do my best now and all the way to the Ryder Cup and then see where we’re at.”
Rasmus Højgaard: “It’s very special, it’s one of the weeks that we all look forward to. It’s nice to have family and friends and everyone around when we’re playing. It’s sort of a relaxing week before Thursday and the last couple of days have been good to see everybody.
“Over the years it’s built a reputation for some of the best crowds we get and I hope we’re going to see a lot of people out there this week to cheer us on. I’m really looking forward to it.
“The course is in great condition. We don’t always play with that much rough here but if you hit a bad drive you’re going to struggle to find a ball now so it’s definitely a little more penalising from the tee box.
“The greens are amazing, they’re quite soft at the moment because of the rain a couple of days ago but they’re very true and very fast and it’s just a joy to putt on them.
“My game is not where I want it to be at the moment but I feel like I’m doing some nice work. I’m just trying to be patient, it’s a cliché but you are just trying to stay patient and work on your game and at one point it’s all going to click. I’m just waiting for that now.”