Welcome everyone to the BMW PGA Championship. This is one of the biggest golfing events of the year. Some of the game’s best players will be teeing it up in hopes of taking down the flagship event on the European Tour. The players will go to Wentworth Club in Surrey, England just outside of London, which has hosted this event since 1984 and also from '72-'74. This course also hosted the HSBC World Match Play Championships from 1964-'07. Luke Donald has won this event two years in a row, first in a playoff in 2011 over Lee Westwood and then last year he won by four strokes over Justin Rose and Paul Lawrie.
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This course sets up as a 7300 yard par 72 that has seen refinements over the years with Ernie Els as design consultant. Ernie is the club's touring pro and has a home nearby in the prestigious Wentworth Estates. A challenging course now made more difficult especially on the 18 which now has been lengthened and has water guarding it. Last year with mild weather Donald managed a -15/273. Although the fairways are fairly large, players that miss them will be punished. Narrow tree lined fairways will require accuracy off the tee. The par 5's will need to be played well to take advantage of the few scoring opportunities, the difficulty in this course really lies on the tricky par 3's. Good course management overall will be a key to success this week.
A strong field will descend on Wentworth with the large prize pool of over $7,000,000US. 8 of the top 25 players in the world will tee it up including Luke Donald of course who'll return looking for his third consecutive win here. Other notables include world number two Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Ernie Els. Also worth noting, Anders Hansen is twice a winner here and has a total of seven career top-25s.
Luke Donald 8/1
Luuuuuke has absolutely been on fire here in recent years. He has racked up five top tens including four top fives with wins each of the last two years here. A solid pick, Luke is from the area and loves playing here has never missed a cut going 9/9 since 2004. Having a decent start to his year he’s made 7/7 cuts on the PGA highlighted by top five finishes at Tampa Bay and RBC. A good putter with a solid short game, Luke will be looking for a rare three peat here this week. Some of Luke's key stats, 11th scoring average, 4th sand save %, 4th scrambling, 3rd par 3 performance, total putting 16th, 22nd proximity to hole. 1st putting from inside 5'.
Justin Rose 12/1
Justin is another local London player who has had some good results here. Rosey has two runner up finishes to his credit and a tenth place in his last five trips to Wentworth. His game has been sharp this year and he'll be looking for his first win here and first win of the 2013 season. So far on the PGA he's made 6/7 cuts making the top 25 in each cut he’s made with three top tens including solo second at Bay Hill. One of the best ball strikers and a solid all around player, Justin's game is setting up nicely for this course. Some of his key stats, 2nd total driving, 4th all around, 3rd ball striking, 2nd par 5 B.O.B., 15th proximity to hole.
Branden Grace 40/1
Grace is a great young player who will be looking to prove himself yet again. Winner on the Euro Tour three times last here he managed a fifth place in his debut here last year. Hasn't missed a cut on either tour this season, just took third at last week’s Volvo Match play. Although his accuracy off the tee has been off a little this year his putting has improved and he should be ready to kiss the trophy on Sunday.
Paul Casey 66/1
Paul is another Englishman we'll be happy to back this week. Former winner here('09), has played this event each year since 2002 only missing two cuts including his mc last year. His game has improved greatly since last year and we expect him in contention on course he knows well this week. He's made 7/7 cuts on the European Tour with his best finish coming a couple weeks ago at the Volvo China Open where he T8. Accurate off the tee and a good iron player, if he can make a couple putts he'll be right there on Sunday.
David Howell 100/1
David is another Englishman and former winner here. Yes this is an intentional trend here. Course form is important and local Englishman have enjoyed good recent success here. Including Howell’s win here in 2006 Englishman have won 5 of the last 7 at Wentworth. He has been playing well this season making 12/12 cuts including four top tens, looks to be in form to be in contention for his fifth career win on the European Tour at an attractive price.
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