This week the BMW Championship returns to the UK with the prestigious of the European Tour taking place at Wentworth over the next four days.
The BMW Championship is one of the flagship golfing events in the UK, second only to The Open in its ability to draw the great and the good in the sport.
There will be many familiar faces returning to our shores including Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and newly crowned Spanish Open Champion Miguel Angel Jimenez and our very own Ian Poulter.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, the Wentworth event also celebrates its 10 year anniversary with sponsor BMW.
As such, many of the past winners of the famous trophy attended a unique photo-call with veteran BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss (who played in the inaugural PGA Championship in 1955 and later winning three times in 1957, 1962 and 1965) being joined by fellow PGA Champions Bernard Gallacher (1969), Neil Coles (1976), Paul Way (1985), José María Olazábal (1994), David Howell (2006), Luke Donald (2011, 2012) and defending champion Matteo Manassero (2013).
The course is a real draw for the purists and with its many redesigns over the last few years – most notably, the ever changing 18th – and having had the pleasure of playing at the course only a few weeks ago, I can see why.
The course is long… 7,281 yards off the BMW Championship tees!! However, it’s the greens that really catch out event the best of putters, so I don’t expect to see Westwood on leaderboard by the end of the weekend (sorry Lee!).
Early odds, would suggest that Rory is once again the favourite but will his mind be elsewhere having just broken off his engagement to the tennis player Caroline Wozniacki?
Alongside him as favourites stand the reigning US Open Champion Justin Rose and the former previously mentioned former World No.1 Lee Westwood …
Rory McIlroy – 12/1
Justin Rose – 12/1
Lee Westwood – 12/1
Luke Donald – 16/1
Sergio Garcia – 20/1
Henrik Stenson – 22/1
Francesco Molinari – 22/1
Martin Kaymer – 25/1
Charl Schwartzel – 33/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez – 35/1
It’s the Golfing Season’s starting gun …
Traditionally the US Masters is seen as the event to launch the golfing season but here in Blighty, it’s the BMW Championship that really sounds the starting gun for all of us amateurs to get out and hit the courses.
So expect to be fighting for tee times at your local course of the next few weeks, as we all try to replicate what we have seen on the TV over the next few days!!
By Ian Mullins