2023 BMW PGA Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
A mouthwatering field will be attempting to land the DP World Tour’s flagship title, including Tom Kim, Tommy Fleetwood, former champion Billy Horschel, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.
European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald will be an interested spectator, hoping to watch one of his team walk away with the prize.
McIlroy won in 2014 and also has a four further top tens - including two runner-up finishes - to his name. He played superbly when he made his last appearance at Wentworth last September, having sealed his third FedExCup title.
Following a dramatic final day duel with Ryder Cup team-mate and eventual champion Lowry around the famous Surrey venue, he went on to top the Race to Dubai Rankings for the fourth time, becoming European Number One, World Number One and FedExCup Champion at the same point for the first time in his career.
“I always love playing at the BMW PGA Championship, and I’ve had some great results and performances round the West Course in the past,” said the 15-time DP World Tour winner. “I started 2023 with a win in Dubai, and Wentworth is a place where I would like to add another title.”
Hatton realised a boyhood dream in 2020 when he sealed a four-stroke victory over Frenchman Victor Perez and, with eight worldwide top tens this year, the Englishman is looking forward to returning to Wentworth, which is less than 30 miles from where he grew up.
He said: “The BMW PGA Championship is always an event marked on my calendar at the start of the year. I came to Wentworth often as a kid to watch some of the best pros in the world take on the West Course and I always dreamed one day of playing in this event, never mind winning it. It’s just really special to have your family and friends supporting you throughout the week and the crowds just keep getting bigger, so I can’t wait to come back home in September. It’s going to be another great event.”
Fleetwood will be hoping to convert his strong run of form into a win at the BMW PGA Championship as he looks to add another prestigious trophy to his increasingly impressive CV.
The six-time DP World Tour winner has had a bucketload of worldwide top tens this year, and his most recent victory came with his successful Nedbank Golf Challenge title defence at the end of 2022.
Fleetwood said: “I always enjoy playing the BMW PGA Championship, and it’s an event I would love to win. Being an Englishman, to have your family and friends with you all week is a real treat for us, but on top of that, we have the biggest crowds who are just so unbelievably loud and supportive for all of us, it makes it a unique week that is for sure.”
Horschel entered the history books with his first Rolex Series win two years ago, becoming just the second player from America to triumph at the BMW PGA Championship, after the legendary Arnold Palmer.
The seven-time PGA Tour winner has an enviable record at the event, finishing tied fourth on his debut in 2019 and tied ninth last season.
Horschel said: "Winning the BMW PGA Championship in 2021 was a tremendous honour for me. I said at the time that it was a tournament I had set my sights on winning, and after experiencing the incredible atmosphere at Wentworth Club a few times now, I can't wait to get back and compete for the title again this season."
Fitzpatrick is set to lead the home charge at Wentworth Club, after becoming England’s most recent major champion when he lifted the US Open trophy last season for his eighth DP World Tour win.
He is also bidding for a second Rolex Series title to add to his 2020 DP World Tour Championship victory, at a venue where he has recorded four previous top 20 finishes.
Fitzpatrick said: “As an English player, the BMW PGA Championship is always a special tournament. It’s an event that’s marked in my calendar every year, as a Rolex Series event at a historic venue, but particularly because of the opportunity to play in front of such passionate home fans.”
For 21-year-old Kim it will be a first appearance at the BMW PGA Championship, after impressing on his regular DP World Tour season debut with a third place finish in Scotland last year, followed by a top six at the same event in 2023.
The Seoul native, who has won in the past two PGA Tour seasons, said: “It’s been a great season for me, and I’m looking forward to heading over to Europe following the FedExCup. I’ve enjoyed the events I’ve played on the DP World Tour so far. The BMW PGA Championship has so much history, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to compete at Wentworth next month.”
Incredibly, Englishman Rose will make his 18th appearance at the BMW PGA Championship, with the 2013 US Open champion seeking a second win of the year, following his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour.
The 11-time DP World Tour winner, said: “There’s something truly special about playing on home soil, and feeling the support of the crowds around the West Course makes this such a great week. I’ve come close a couple of times in the past and the BMW PGA Championship is a title that I would love to win.”
Scott, who also tasted major glory in 2013 with his Masters triumph, returns to Wentworth for the third consecutive season, with the popular Australian once again relishing the test around the Surrey venue.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed playing at Wentworth over the years and I’ve been really pleased to be able to add the BMW PGA Championship to my schedule for the past few seasons. It’s always a pleasure to play the Rolex Series events, and particularly with such a great atmosphere around this tournament.”
It was won in 2015 by Ben An, in 2016 by Chris Wood, in 2017 by Alex Noren, in 2018 by Francesco Molinari, in 2019 by Danny Willett, in 2020 by Tyrrell Hatton, in 2021 by Billy Horschel and last year by Shane Lowry.
The West Course at Wentworth is a par 72 measuring 7,282 yards. It was originally designed by Harry Colt and radically remodelled by Ernie Els. It is a true parkland course with huge trees lining every hole. There are also some well-placed water hazards, none more so than the area guarding the 18th green.
It is difficult to see beyond Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm going head to head for the title at Wentworth. McIlroy is looking for a third victory of the year, and his first here since 2014. Rahm made a sensational start to the year, winning four times, and although he briefly went off the boil he is back to his best. Viktor Hovland may, of course, have something to say about the outcome.
Rory McIlroy. Certain to start as favourite
Jon Rahm. Needs to drive the ball well
Viktor Hovland. On the crest of a wave
Five to Follow:
Rory McIlroy. Crowd will be rooting for him
Jon Rahm. Will not be holding back
Viktor Hovland. Playing out of his skin
Tommy Fleetwood. Could do with a win
Nicolai Hojgaard. Enjoying a wonderful run of form
Five Outsiders to Watch:
Aaron Rai. Quietly going about his business on the PGA Tour
Marcel Siem. Enjoying a great year and could surprise here
Guido Migliozzi. Gutted to miss out on Ryder Cup
Eddie Pepperell. Has shown some encouraging form
David Law. Underrated Scot
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