This week the BMW PGA Championship takes place at the Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, UK and my editors have found it necessary to dispatch me to London to cover the event for two reasons; firstly, this is the marquee event on the European PGA Tour with a rich history dating back to 1955, it is also widely regarded as the flagship event of the European Tour.
Secondly Wentworth is the HQ of the European Tour and as such the venue and event attracts golf’s top leadership from across the world. Wentworth is an excellent meeting point for celebrities, player agents, event managers and promoters, officials and the most widely read golf media personalities.
The BMW PGA Championship offers a total prize purse of $7million (approximately Sh714 million) and the field this week includes defending champion Francesco Molinari and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy who has had an excellent year on the USPGA.
Local favourites include Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Matt Fitzpatrick, Eddie Pepperell, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood who will be up against the American stars Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Andrew Putman and Patrick Reed (www.europeantour.com). The 2020 Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington will also be in the field along with the immediate past European Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn who played at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open. Ernie Els, a former world number one, will be in the field along with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer who have all held the number one slot in their careers. The 2017 Karen Masters champion, Bernd Wiesberger is also in the field chasing a third victory in 2019; he currently sits second on the Race to Dubai ranking points.
Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship in spectacular fashion, will be looking to consolidate his lead on top of the Race to Dubai rankings, which he currently leads. John Rahm, Matt Wallace and Tommy Fleetwood will also be looking to bank points at Wentworth as the season draws to a close.
In the celebrity ProAm played two days ago, global popstar Niall Horan played in the company of Tyrrell Hatton, TV personality Dan Walker and Hockey player Sam Quek. Rory McIlroy played in the company of Manchester United legends - Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic. Horan’s Modest Golf organisation represents Guido Migliozzi the 2019 Magical Kenya Open who is also in the field at Wentworth.
Other notables in the field who have played in Kenya include the 2017 Champion Aaron Rai, the 2016 Champion Sebastian Soderberg, the 2015 Champion Haydn Porteous who also played in the 2019 Magical Kenya Open, the 2007 Champion Edoardo Molinari whose brother Francesco Molinari is the defending champion at Wentworth. Trevor Immelman who won in Kenya in 2000, his first win as a Pro, is also in the field. South Africa’s Branden Grace, who has played in Kenya on several occasions is also in the field as is his countryman Justin Harding who finished second at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open. Other SA players include Erik van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, George Coetzee, Dean Burmester, Thomas Aiken, Richard Sterne, Justin Walters and Darren Fichardt. Grace finished 5th at the 2018 BMW PGA Championship and had a top-10 finish the year before - he has an outside, but good chance to win this week.
In true Magical Kenya Open fashion, the event at Wentworth will have two concerts - one by Rudimental, a London electrons band and the other by British Star Anne-Marie with attendances of between 5,000 to 10,000 golf fans attending the concerts each day.