South stalwarts James Ablett (Lee-on-the-Solent) and Guy Woodman (Longball Inc) are both determined to enjoy it when they take on some of the world’s best players in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The pair go into the €5million event with several wins on the PGA (South) Virgin Atlantic Order of Merit schedule under their belt leaving both feeling confident.
As a result both are looking forward to what will be a season highlight around Wentworth’s fearsome West Course, nicknamed the Burma Road.
However it’s not Hampshire pro Ablett’s first time in this kind of limelight, having won the Order of Merit title back in 2007, but Wentworth’s changed a bit since then, as the left-hander has noticed having played it every year in the PGA South Annual Dinner Pro-Am.
“The changes to holes like the 18th have reduced the opportunities to try and make birdies, but on the other hand Paul Nessling (Cooden Beach) who’s caddying for me reckons the greens are a lot more readable so while it’s one of the toughest courses to score on, maybe we’ll manage to make some putts,” he said.
“I’ve played the West Course a few times this year to get the feel for it, but it’s a course I’m pretty familiar with already.
“All the same, it’s not every day you tee it up for the first round in front of hundreds of people and get your name announced as you prepare to tread on what for many PGA Professionals is hallowed turf. But the main thing is simply to try and enjoy the experience.”
Ablett had been looking forward to catching up with his old friend Justin Rose but the former US Open champion has pulled out with a bad back.
“He and I used to play a lot together and went to see this event back in 1995 – As I was 17, I drove while he was my passenger. Things have changed a bit for both of us since then!”
For Berkshire-based Woodman, it’s an unusual opportunity in more ways than one, as he’s also helping to get lots of exposure for Canadian golf and lifestyle designer clothing manufacturer Longball as well as playing golf for a living.
“Hopefully hundreds or thousands more people will see the Longball logo and be prompted to think that it’s really stylish clothing that they’d look good wearing as well!” said Woodman.
“But like James, I’m really there to see what I can do, and to make the most of a rare opportunity. My form’s been pretty good this year and the win at Knole Park was just the sort of boost I needed coming to the BMW PGA Championship.”
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