Stars come out for BMW PGA Champs

Published: 17 Apr 2014 09:300 comments

FOUR-TIME Major winner Ernie Els and Ryder Cup heroes Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are the latest names to be confirmed for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next month.

Four-time major win Ernie Els will return to Wentworth.

Four-time major win Ernie Els will return to Wentworth.

The event, which takes place from May 22-25, is the flagship tournament on the European Tour and has again attracted a host of star names.

Els, Garcia and Poulter will be joined by the likes of Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and defending champion Matteo Manassero, pictured right, as the tournament celebrates its 60th anniversary.

It is also the 10th anniversary of BMW’s sponsorship of the event and the 30th year that it has been played at Wentworth.

As such, it is perhaps little surprise that tournament director Jamie Birkmyre told the News that he expects it to be even bigger and better than last year, when record crowds flocked to the course.

“We have three anniversaries to celebrate and lots for spectators to get involved in,” he said.

“It’s a global event, we are advertising on these huge posters in London to try and tell Londoners more about it and as far as golf tournaments go it is our biggest event. All the top players are here, the Roses, McDowells, Poulters and McIlroys, it’s going to be great.”

Prior to the main event starting on Thursday, May 22 there is the practice day on Tuesday and also the celebrity pro-am on Wednesday which always proves to be popular.

This year will see the return of the park and ride system used in 2013 and also upgrades and expansions around the course.

“It’s bigger than ever,” said Birkmyre. “The Village is much bigger than last year, the grandstand on 18 is 2,500 seats, so 500 bigger than last year, and there are more stands elsewhere.

“We are lucky to be here, the locals do put up with quite a lot of disruption and we hope that has been reduced with our park and ride facilities and the traffic flows much better. They come and support us and it is important they feel it is an event they want to come to.”

One man who will certainly be keen to return is Manassero, who became the youngest winner of the event when he beat Marc Warren and Simon Khan in a play-off last year.

The Italian said: “I am really looking forward to coming back to Wentworth, especially after the win last year. It holds a really special place in my heart and I want to go back and defend the title as well as I can.

“There are so many unbelievable players that take part in the tournament and such an impressive list of champions – I am just one of the guys on that long and important list and it’s a great honour.”

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