No fewer than ten Major Champions will tee up in a sparkling field for the diamond edition of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club later this week.
Martin Kaymer, the 2010 US PGA Champion whose dramatic one-shot victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass was the perfect preparation for next week’s BMW PGA Championship, is joined by Justin Rose, last year’s US Open Champion, four-time Major winner Ernie Els and 2011 Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel for the 60th edition of The European Tour’s flagship event.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy will attempt to win the title for the first time, while Padraig Harrington, a three-time Major champion, double Masters winner José Maria Olazábal, Retief Goosen, the two-time US Open Champion, and Paul Lawrie, who won the 1999 Open Championship, are also in the star-studded line-up.
One player who will not be appearing at Wentworth Club, however, is the 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, who will be at home in Florida with wife Kristin, who is expecting their first child later this summer.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Any tournament is disappointed not to have Graeme McDowell in its ranks, but the BMW PGA Championship still boasts a superb field including four former World Number Ones – Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, the latter of course fresh from his victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
“I very much appreciated Graeme taking the time to phone me personally to tell me he wouldn’t be at Wentworth, but the fact that he wants to spend time with Kristin, who will not be able to travel for the next three months, is entirely understandable. We wish them both well and look forward to seeing Graeme back in action in the championship in future years.”
In addition, the diamond anniversary celebrations will be boosted by the reuniting of all the players – McDowell apart – from Europe’s 2012 Ryder Cup victory, along with team Captain Olazábal.
Ian Poulter, who won four points from five in inspiring Europe to what is now known as the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, will return to Wentworth’s hallowed West Course, as will his team-mates Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari and Lee Westwood.
Donald will attempt to become only the fifth player in history to win the BMW PGA Championship three times or more, following his magnificent back-to-back triumphs in 2011 and 2012. He would follow Sir Nick Faldo (four victories), Peter Alliss, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie (all three victories).
The Englishman is one of five former World Number Ones in action, with McIlroy, Westwood, Els and Kaymer all having reached the summit of the Official World Golf Ranking in the past.
Henrik Stenson, who won The 2013 Race to Dubai in such swashbuckling fashion, makes his first appearance in the event since 2010, while current Race to Dubai leader Thomas Björn will be seeking a 16th European Tour victory, and his first at Wentworth Club.
Italy’s 21 year old Matteo Manassero will defend the title, having won in record-breaking style 12 months ago, when he became the youngest winner in the event’s history. At the other end of the spectrum, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, one of eight BMW PGA Champions in the field, will be looking to extend his record as The European Tour’s oldest champion.
The Spaniard will be joined at Wentworth by fellow former winners Donald, Simon Khan, David Howell, Scott Drummond and Olazábal.
Jamie Birkmyre, Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship, said: “The BMW PGA Championship is our flagship event, and I am delighted that the British public will get to see so many of the world’s best golfers in action in this special anniversary year. To have nine Major Champions, and all but one of the Medinah Ryder Cup team, is a real coup. Further highlighting the strength of the field, six BMW PGA Championship players finished in the top ten at Sawgrass, including the winner, Martin Kaymer; the players are coming to Wentworth at the top of their game and fans are in for a real treat.”
Peter Walker, General Manager of BMW Sports Marketing, said: “The BMW PGA Championship is one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar and it is fantastic to see so many of the world’s top golfers confirmed for this year’s event. 2014 marks BMW’s tenth year as title Partner and this is, without doubt, one of the highest quality fields we have seen during that time. With the 2014 Ryder Cup looming on the horizon, the players will be desperate to impress Captain, Paul McGinley. All the ingredients are in place for another sensational BMW PGA Championship.”
Advance tickets are selling fast on http://www.europeantour.com/tickets while hospitality packages, reserved grandstand seating at the 18th green and limited on-site parking are almost sold out. Children aged under 16 will be admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult ticket holder.
As in previous years, BMW Owners and Official Badge Holders will be able to park on site, while pre-paid parking on Wentworth Estate is now completely sold out. All other ticket holders – and spectators turning up on the day to purchase tickets on the gate – will need to utilise the popular Park and Ride service.
For further information, or to book tickets, visit www.europeantour.com
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