BMW PGA Championship
Sweden's Vincent Norrman earned his first PGA Tour victory (co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour) in July at the Barbasol Championship and nabbed his second DP World Tour victory at the Horizon Irish Open last weekend with a flawless closing 65 at The K Club to finish 14-under par and a shot ahead of 54-hole leader Hurly Long, with former champion Shane Lowry part of a four-way tie for third along with Ryan Fox, Grant Forrest and Thriston Lawrence at 12 under.
This week, the DP World Tour hosts one of its signature events in England for the BMW PGA Championship with one of the strongest fields of the year courtesy of the entire European Ryder Cup team teeing it up this week at Wentworth Club.
Rory McIlroy (7-1) was just two off the lead heading into Sunday but hit four balls into water during the final round and stumbled to a Sunday 74 for a T-16 finish. He shares a 7-1 co-favorite role with Viktor Hovland, who tees it up for the first time since winning the FedEx Cup three weeks ago.
Jon Rahm (8-1) started out 2023 on fire with four victories, including at the Masters, but had a poor second half of the season by his high standards.
Both Rahm and McIlroy shared runner-up here last year to Shane Lowry (20-1).
Tyrrell Hatton (20-1) won this event and 2020 and fellow Englishmen and Ryder Cup teammates Tommy Fleetwood (16-1) and recently engaged Matt Fitzpatrick (18-1) are looking to add their names to a long list of champions at Wentworth.
The other members of Team Europe playing in Surrey this week are Ludvig Aberg (25-1), Justin Rose (33-1), Nicolai Hojgaard (40-1), Sepp Straka (55-1) and Robert MacIntyre (66-1). Team captain Luke Donald (250-1) is also playing this week and won this event in consecutive years (2011, 2012).
A few PGA Tour regulars are also making the trip over this week, including 2021 event winner Billy Horschel (35-1), Tom Kim (28-1), Min Woo Lee (28-1) and Adam Scott (40-1).
Some other former champions of this event participating this week include 2019 winner Danny Willett (250-1) and 2017 winner and Ryder Cup vice captain Francesco Molinari (175-1).
The BMW PGA Championship was established in 1955 as the British PGA Championship. It was typically played near the end of May but was moved to September in 2019 to avoid conflict with the PGA Championship. The winner of the tournament is given an exemption into the U.S. Open and the next three British Opens. A who's who of European players have victories at his event, including Nick Faldo (1978, 1980, 1981, 1989), Bernhard Langer (1987, 1993, 1995), Colin Montgomerie (1998, 1999, 2000), Seve Ballesteros (1983, 1991), Ian Woosnam (1988, 1997), Francesco Molinari (2018), Rory McIlroy (2014) and Tony Jacklin (1972, 1982).
Two years ago, Billy Horschel became just the second American to win what has long been considered the old European Tour's flagship event. Arnold Palmer was the first to do so back in 1975.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Louis De Jager
Hennie Du Plessis
Min Woo Lee
Darius Van Driel
Nicolai Von Dellingshausen
The West Course at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England (about 25 miles southwest of London) has hosted the BMW PGA since 1984. The headquarters of the European Tour is located on the grounds of the club. The course was designed in 1926 by Harry Colt with Ernie Els and European Tour Design doing two renovations in 2009 and 2016. Wentworth West is a par-72 of 7,267 yards. It is a tree-lined track with tight fairways and some long rough. Creeping Bentgrass greens replaced Bent/Poa Annua in the 2016 renovation. The greens also have many shaved run-offs. The most recent renovations were made with the intent of getting back to the original Colt design by encouraging more shot-making and allowing more shots to roll onto the greens.
BMW PGA Championship Recent History
2022: Shane Lowry (-17/199); 18-1*
2021: Billy Horschel (-19/269); 28-1
2020: Tyrrell Hatton (-19/269); 16-1
2019: Danny Willett (-20/268); 66-1
2018: Francesco Molinari (-17/271); 22-1
2017: Alex Noren (-11/277); 20-1
2016: Chris Wood (-9/279); 66-1
2015: Byeong-Hun An (-21/267); 100-1
2014: Rory McIlroy (-14/274); 14-1
2013: Matteo Manassero (-10/278); 66-1**
2012: Luke Donald (-15/273); 8-1
2011: Luke Donald (-6/278); 15-2***
2010: Simon Khan (-6/278); 200-1
Shortened to 54 holes due to Operation London Bridge - *
Playoff win over Simon Khan & Marc Warren - **
Playoff win over Lee Westwood - ***
Trends and Angles
In the last 13 years, the BMW champion has rated in the top 4 for GIR eight times (led the field four times including the last two years).
In the last eight years, the BMW Champion has rated in the top 4 for Scrambling six times (led the field four times).
Nine of the last 13 BMW champions had at least one top-10 finish within five starts before the event.
The last six BMW Champions and 12 of the last 13 have had at least one top-10 in the event before their victories.
Tommy Fleetwood (14-1, BetMGM)
Fleetwood ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Total over the last three months behind only Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler.
He also has four top-10s in his last five worldwide starts.
Matt Fitzpatrick (18-1, BetMGM)
Fitzpatrick let one get away two weeks ago in the Swiss Alps at the Omega European Masters as he looked to have had the tournament won only to make a couple of late bogeys and finish third.
As a competitor, that will stick in his craw; however, he just got engaged las week to his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Gall, so he likely comes in this week with the right balance of contentment in his personal life and resentment for not closing the deal in Switzerland.
Tom Kim (25-1, BetRivers)
After spraining his ankle at the British Open, Kim had to withdraw from his title defense at the Wyndham but returned for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and posted a top-10 at the BMW.
South Korean players have won here on debut before as evidenced by Benny An in 2015.
Nicolai Hojgaard (40-1, DraftKings)
Hojgaard is off consecutive finishes of third (Czech Masters) and T-5 (Omega European Masters), which at least played a small part for his inclusion on Team Europe for the Ryder Cup.
He is No. 1 for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and third for Greens In Regulation on the DP World Tour this season.
Alexander Bjork (55-1, BetRivers)
After another runner-up in Switzerland two weeks ago, Bjork missed the cut (his first in 2023) in Ireland only to see another fellow Swede (Vincent Norrman, Ludvig Aberg the week prior) take home a victory.
Bjork ranks first on the DPWT for both Strokes Gained: Approach and Scrambling.
Joost Luiten (80-1, BetMGM)
Luiten finished a solid T-12 in Ireland last week, adding to run of solid form from the late summer which includes two top-5s (Omega European Masters and BMW International Open in Germany).
The Dutchman ranks fifth for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, ninth for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, 11th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th for Greens In Regulation on the DPWT.
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