The European Tour headquarters are based at Wentworth Club in Surrey. That is one reason why the BMW PGA Championship is the most prestigious event of the European Tour season. A strong field and thousands of fans are guaranteed every year at this blue riband event which takes place on the storied West Course at Wentworth. The famous Harry Colt-designed course itself is another reason why this is such a popular event, the West Course having hosted the now defunct World Match Play Championship for many years as well as the 1953 Ryder Cup.
The list of BMW PGA Championship winners is a who’s who of European golf. Legends such as Colin Montgomerie , Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo (a record four times) – they’ve all won this tournament. More recent stars to have triumphed include Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Danny Willett too, which only adds to the prestige and importance for every player who tees it up.
Betting Tips for 9th to 12th September 2021
European players who need to rely on a captain’s pick for the 2021 Ryder Cup have just one more chance to force the hand of Padraig Harrington. The likes of Justin Rose, Bernd Wiesberger and Ian Poulter are all hoping to do enough at Wentworth to make the team.
Of course, the BMW PGA Championship is about much more than just qualifying for the Ryder Cup. This is the flagship event of the European Tour, taking place at its Surrey headquarters. The famous West Course at Wentworth has hosted this event for decades and a win at Burma Road is still one of the most coveted prizes for any professional European golfer.
It takes a very good overall display of golf to win the BMW PGA Championship. Although the 2016 renovations to the West Course removed some of the most penal features around the greens, it is still a course that punishes mistakes. Missing the greens is the main thing to avoid, do so and players will need some short game magic to get up and down for par. The par fives are reachable for many players but strategy trumps brute force at Wentworth.
After Team Europe’s stunning win in the Solheim Cup, the thoughts of European golf fans are inevitably turning to the form of the players who will be tasked with taking down the USA at Whistling Straits. Tommy Fleetwood helped to ease some nerves with a strong showing in Rome last week and defending BMW PGA Championship winner Tyrrell Hatton can do likewise this week. Hatton had a solid season on the PGA Tour without adding to his tally of wins but did add a European Tour win earlier in the campaign. He is very much at home at the top level of golf and at Wentworth which suits his eye to a tee so back Hatton to win at decent odds of 16/1.
Alex Noren is another former tournament winner who warrants support this week. It’s not that long ago that the Swede’s game was trending very much in the wrong direction but he has put things right this season. A pair of top 10s in the first two PGA Tour playoff events show that Noren is in good form and a course that suits his game better than either Liberty National or Caves Valley could see him go very close at odds of 20/1.
For an each way bet at a price, consider Richard Bland who can be backed at a chunky price of 66/1. A win for the 48 year old at Wentworth could see him earn an automatic place in the Ryder Cup. As unlikely as that is, it says a lot about the quality of Bland’s play during a season in which he finally claimed his first European Tour win. Could he get another at a course where he has plenty of experience and some good results?
|2021||Wentworth Club||Billy Horschel|
|2020||Wentworth Club||Tyrrell Hatton|
|2019||Wentworth Club||Danny Willett|
|2018||Wentworth Club||Francesco Molinari|
|2017||Wentworth Club||Alex Noren|
2021: Billy Horschel
There is a tweet from 2017, which was dug out by the European Tour, in which Billy Horschel talks about his love for the BMW PGA Championship and desire to play in the event. Two years after that tweet, the American made his debut at Wentworth and in 2021 he went all the way to win.
Horschel had endeared himself to the English galleries by talking up the importance of the European Tour’s flagship event and got a lot of support all week long. That support was shared around many other players though including the British pair of Jamie Donaldson and Laurie Canter who shared second place with Kiradech Aphibarnrat. None of the chasing pack could quite match Horschel’s relentless brilliance though and he sealed the deal with an excellent birdie on the 18th hole although he did face an anxious wait as Canter tried and failed to get the birdie he needed to get into a playoff.
Horschel’s performance made it all the more strange that he wasn’t included in the American Ryder Cup team. The final run for a place in the European team was the major storyline of the tournament with Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger doing enough to qualify. Justin Rose’s sixth-place finish was not enough however and he was not given a captain’s pick despite finishing above both Shane Lowry (17th) and Ian Poulter (MC) who were given the nod by Padraig Harrington.
2020: Tyrrell Hatton
Winning the BMW PGA Championship is a dream of every European Tour player, especially those from England. Tyrrell Hatton certainly craved victory at Wentworth and his dream came true in October 2020 even though he wasn’t able to celebrate with the thousands of fans who would usually have surrounded the fairways and greens of the West Course.
Hatton was consistently excellent throughout the week at Wentworth. He opened with a 66 which would turn out to be his best round of the week and he only took three shots more in his worst round of the week on Saturday. Composure was the order of the day for Hatton on Sunday, when he shot a closing round of 67 which was largely without stress, whereas his nearest challenger, Victor Perez, blinked when the pressure was on. The Frenchman was understandably trying to force the issue on the tee of the par five 17th as he desperately needed a birdie but a poor drive put paid to his chances of winning.
Hatton could therefore enjoy his walk up the final two holes even if he came a little too close for comfort to the water on the final hole. In truth, his lead was big enough by that stage that he could have dropped a shot or two and in the end he ended up winning by a very comfortable four shots.
2019: Danny Willett
When Danny Willett won the Masters in 2016 he was on top of the world. He could not have foreseen the immense challenges that he would face afterwards as he pretty much lost his swing and tumbled down the world rankings. At one point it looked as though Willett may never be able to win again but he is not a quitter. After making a host of changes to the benefit of his game, Willett started improving and he reminded everybody that he is a world class golfer when at or near his best with this massive win at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship.
It was an infamous collapse from Jordan Spieth that gave Willett the chance to win the Masters three years earlier. He was determined that a similar fate would not befall him at Wentworth and he started his final round strongly to send out a message to the chasing pack. Jon Rahm was the man who heard that message clearest playing alongside Willett in the final round and the supremely talented Spaniard eventually had to settle for second place with Christiaan Bezuidenhout back in third.
Willett described the win as a fairy tale, not only because it marked the return from the depths of despair but because he could do it in England. “To win on home soil really has been amazing” Willett said afterwards and there is no doubt that the support of the galleries helped him all week long.
2018: Francesco Molinari
Frustration turned into elation for Francesco Molinari in the 2018 BMW PGA Championship. The Italian was thwarted by an historically low round from Alex Noren a year earlier but he made sure to convert a share of the 54-hole lead this time around.
Noren was once again involved in the closing stages but most of the attention was paid to Rory McIlroy, who won this event in 2014, who was the other man in pole position at the start of Sunday’s final round. Unfortunately for his legion of fans in Surrey, McIlroy just ran out of gas at the wrong time. He played his first two rounds in -12 but was only -3 for this final two rounds and Molinari was never going to pass on this opportunity.
Just like a year earlier, Molinari’s final round was four shots under par. Unlike last year, that was good enough to win this historic title by two shots. The Italian has worked incredibly hard on his golf in the last year or so, adding distance to a game that has been built around accuracy. That is a potent combination and Molinari knows that many more big titles are in his future if he can maintain this standard of golf.
2017: Alex Noren
Every win at the BMW PGA Championship is special. Some, however, are more special than others. Alex Noren’s Wentworth win in 2017 was so special that it will go down as one of the highlights of his career.
Noren played some steady golf over the first three days at Wentworth but that very much gave way to the spectacular on Sunday. Starting the day seven shots off the lead and a long way ahead of the final groups, Noren went on an absolute tear around the West Course. He took full advantage of the best of the conditions to equal the course record with a stunning round of 62 (interestingly he shares the record with two other Scandinavians, Robert Karlsson and Thomas Bjorn). That saw him set the clubhouse lead before the weather took a turn for the worse around 3 o’clock at -11 (10 of those shots came Sunday) which was a number none of the others could match.
Noren’s was not the only very good round of Sunday. Nicolas Colsaerts shot -7 to earn himself a share of third place and Francesco Molinari would usually be happy with a round of -4 to finish his week. As it was, the Italian was frustrated that he couldn’t get closer to Noren and ended up two shots behind in second place.