World's best tackle BMW PGA
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 BMW PGA Championship | Preview | 22 May 2012
The BMW PGA Championship heralds the arrival of the European Tour to the British Isles for the first time in 2012 and there hardly seems a more fitting event to welcome Europe and the many of the world’s leading players back to one of the finest inland courses in Britain.
This flagship event of the European Tour has been played at this venue since 1984 although it also played host on three occasions in the 1970’s.
The Ernie Els remodel of the original Harold Colt design of the West Course at Wentworth Golf Club near Virginia Water in Surrey has proven controversial with many but there is little doubt of the course’s place in the history of the game much of that gained through its exposure to the world through the World Match play Championship.
That event left Wentworth for Spain three years ago and now one of the great events in world golf is left to provide ongoing profile for the tree lined layout surrounded by high end real estate.
Last year Luke Donald took over as the game’s leading player with his playoff victory over Lee Westwood at the dramatic conclusion to the final round.
Not only did Donald win last year he finished runner-up the previous year and in his current form he may well start the favourite ahead of the man who stands ahead of him in the world ranking Rory McIlory.
McIlroy has not played particularly well by his standards in this event, a 5th place finish in 2009 his best. A missed cut at the recent Players can be forgiven as it was on a golf course where had always struggled previously and he appears a better chance this week provided he work out a way to play Wentworth a little better.
Westwood did not have a good week at the Players Championship either but his record prior was very good and although he has not always done well at Wentworth, Westwood he seems to be enjoying it more of late.
Westwood has a new caddy on the bag this week with his regular bagman Billy Foster incapacitated with a leg injury. In his place will be Australian based New Zealander Mike Waite who got the dream call up two weeks ago to fill in while Foster is out. As to how long that will be for remains to be seen but it is clearly a great opportunity for Waite.
Waite is very experienced having caddied for many winners including the US Open in 2005 with Michael Campbell. In that regard Waite is ahead of Westwood in terms of major victories but it might just be that come July then Westwood will have added his first and Waite his second. Who knows it might come earlier.
Given the quality in this field the chances are almost endless and the event has thrown up several unexpected winners in the past including the likes of Simon Khan, Anders Hansen, Scott Drummond and Andrew Oldcorn but there is a strong sense that this will develop into a battle amongst the game’s elite by week’s end.
Justin Rose has a hot and cold record at Wentworth having been second in 2007 and 10th in 2010 but missed the cut on two other occasions in his last four starts.
Rose, though, is playing well at present, his win at the Cadillac Championship at Doral taking him to a new level in the game. There would be few surprises and a lot of joy by locals if he was to contend again.
A player worth considering for longer odds might well be the Italian teenager Matteo Manassero who has played well in lesser events this season and does enjoy a good record at Wentworth having finished 7th last year and 17th on debut in 2010.
Australasians the field include Michael Campbell, Richard Green, Marcus Fraser, who finished an impressive 4th here last year, Andrew Dodt, Matthew Zions and Brett Rumford.
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