The European Tour heads home to Wentworth this week for one of the circuit’s flagship events. Byeong Hun An defends the BMW PGA Championship.
This will be the 62nd edition of this tournament and it has attracted a strong field. Byeong Hun An defends the BMW PGA Championship but he will face stern competition from the likes of: Masters champion Danny Willett, two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer, former World Number 1s Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, and form players like Rafa Cabrera Bello and Russell Knox.
Since 1984 the PGA Championship has been hosted over Wentworth’s West Course, or “Burma Road” as it’s known. In that time there have been some notable winners, including: Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald who took the title in consecutive seasons – 2011, 2012.
Last year, Byeong Hun An fired a superb final round of 65 to win by six shots from Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and evergreen Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez. All three will compete again this year.
Watch the famous Jimenez warm-up routine:
The West Course at Wentworth was originally designed by renowned architect Harry Colt, but Ernie Els has overseen significant changes to the layout in the last 10 years. There are set to be further changes following this year’s tournament.
The weather forecast is a touch unsettled – sunshine and showers looks most likely.
Venue: Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England
Date: May 26-29
Course stats: par 72, 7,284 yards
Defending Champion: Byeong Hun An (-21)
Thursday 26 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Friday 27 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Saturday 28 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Sunday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Byeong Hun An defends the title, but who might he face opposition from?
Lee Westwood – Tied second at The Masters and tied 10th last week in the Irish Open, Westwood looks to be somewhere near to top gear. His short game appears sharper and he has great experience to draw on for this event. This will be his 23rd start in the tournament. He has twice been runner-up and would love to go one better.
Alex Noren – He may have missed the cut last week in Ireland but he was on excellent form before that with two top-10s in Spain and China. He was 10th in this event last year.
James Morrison – He’s had a couple of good results at Wentorth – 10th in 2012 and 11th last year. He’s been showing good form with a tied fourth finish at Valderrama and a tie for 10th last week at the K Club.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello – The Spaniard is one of the form players in world golf right now and is overdue a big win. Third in the WGC Match Play and eighth last week, he’s a factor in every tournament he enters at the moment. This course should suit his game even though his record in the event isn’t brilliant – he has posted three top-20s at Wentworth in the past mind you.
Key hole: 18th. A 521-yard par-5, it’s eminently reachable in two for most players in the field. But, a water hazard in front of the green makes going for the eagle risky. The green and surrounds have been altered in recent seasons to make going for the surface in two blows a more appealing prospect. If someone is chasing on Sunday afternoon, they might just be tempted.
Skills required: Fast finishing. With two par-5s to close out the course, there’s potential for big swings at the death. The players will be looking to finish 4-4 and anything more than that will feel like an opportunity missed.