BMW PGA attracts Europe's stars
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2014 BMW PGA Championship | Preview | 20 May 2014
One of the true flagships of the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship, begins on Thursday at one of the flagship golf courses in Britain, the Burma Road layout at the Wentworth Golf Club in Virginia Water in Surrey, where a field to match the event’s history and status is assembling.
Three players from the world top ten, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlory along with Justin Rose (11) ensure the strength of the field at the top end but the depth is also evident with the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Luke Donald in the line-up.
Defending champion this week is Matteo Manassero who last year defeated Simon Khan and Marc Warren in a playoff to become the youngest player in the history of the event.
The BMW PGA Championship has produced some surprise winners over the years including the likes of Andrew Oldcorn, Ignacio Garrido, Anders Hansen, and Simon Khan but one player has been the dominant figure in recent times in this event, Luke Donald.
Admittedly Donald missed the cut twelve months ago but in his previous five starts at Wentworth he has been twice a winner, once runner-up and once 3rd.
Donald has played well enough this season to again be a factor. He often plays well on the same layout and this is a great example of just that.
Justin Rose is another with a generally good record over the Wentworth layout having been runner-up on two occasions. Rose comes off the back of three consecutive top ten finshes in the US and appears to be in the right sort of form to break through in this event.
Sergio Garcia has played this event only once in the last 13 years and that was when finishing 19th last year. He disappointed in Spain last week but overall his form has been great and is generally one of the most consistent players in the game.
Rory McIlory and Wentworth just don’t seem to get along having missed the cut here in his last two starts and in six appearances has been inside the top ten only once which for a player of his standing in the game suggest a major problem with the layout. He is however in great form at present with plenty of top tens so if he can overcome his Wentworth issues then he could do well.
Martin Kaymer is returning to being the golfer we came to expect two or three seasons ago and although he is yet to record a top ten in this event he does have some chance of significantly improving his record.
Miguel Angel Jimenez is playing some of the best golf of his life having won in Spain last week, on debut at the Champions Tour and having finished a remarkable 4th at the Masters. He is a previous winner around Wentworth so there is a lot pointing towards yet another great week from him
Lee Westwood is another who plays this event well having finished inside the top ten in three of his last four visits. Westwood is also playing very well at resent having finished 6th at the Players Championship two starts ago and won in Malaysia.
Francesco Molinari has finished inside the top ten in each of his last two starts in this event and has generally been playing well at present including a 6th place finish against a stronger field at the Players Championship. He also finished 4th in China and 5th at Bay Hill.
Only two Australians have made the field and they are hard to separate although Green’s much improved runner-up finish last week probably gives him the edge over Brett Rumford who has struggled of late.