No fewer than 12 Major Champions, boasting some 19 Major titles between them, will feature in the BMW PGA Championship, when a glittering array of talent, including six of the top seven players in the world, descend on Wentworth Club.
At the close of entries, a stunning line-up of winners, including the four current Major Champions, will be vying to win The European Tour’s flagship event and the €750,000 first prize over the iconic West Course from May 26 – 29.
South African Charl Schwartzel, the new Masters Champion, will be joined by Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and and Louis Oosthuizen, as the event welcomes all four ‘Major Men’ to Wentworth Club at the same time – a unique occurrence in the long and distinguished history of the Championship.
They are joined by a pair of genuine superstars who are members of the elite ‘Three Major Club’ – Ernie Els of South Africa, the architect behind the recent renovations to the West Course, and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, a talisman for the current crop of Major winners with his three successes in the space of 13 months from July 2007 to August 2008.
Retief Goosen of South Africa, Spain’s José Maria Olazabal and American John Daly, who all have a pair of Major titles to their names, are competing along with New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, Paul Lawrie of Scotland and Korean Y E Yang.
Six of the current top seven players in the Official World Golf Ranking – Lee Westwood (World Number One), Kaymer (Two), Luke Donald (Three) and McDowell (Five), Rory McIlroy (Six) and Paul Casey (Seven) – will be present and all but 2009 Champion Casey are trying to win their first BMW PGA Championship. Donald came close last year but had to settle for second behind champion Simon Khan, who blitzed through the field on the final day with a brilliant six under par 66.
Khan is one of nine former Champions, who between them have 12 victories in the event, and the field also boasts five World Golf Championships winners in Donald, who claimed this year’s WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, Ian Poulter the man he succeeded as champion, Francesco Molinari, victor of the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions, Els, last year’s WGC-CA Championship winner and Darren Clarke, a two-time WGC champion.
The Championship will provide the opportunity for a reuniting of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team, with all 12 members – Westwood, Kaymer, Poulter, Harrington, Donald, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher and Peter Hanson – taking part alongside their Captain, Colin Montgomerie, and the Captain-in waiting, Olazábal, who will lead Europe in 2012.
Six of the field have been European Number Ones, Kaymer being the most recent after he won The 2010 Race to Dubai with record earnings and four victories, including his first Major at the US PGA Championship, and preceded by Westwood, Harrington, Montgomerie, Els and Retief Goosen. Between them they have 17 Order of Merit titles.
In total there are 29 Ryder Cup players with 72 appearances between them, 106 European Tour champions with a combined total of 362 victories, and 17 out of the 18 winners on The European Tour so far this year – the exception being Nick Watney, who won the WGC-Cadillac Championship.