Big Week for European Tour as McIlroy heads PGA Championship Field
The European Tour’s flagship event is upon us, with the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week’s golfing highlight.
There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding Wentworth in recent years, but the latest redesign by Ernie Els and his team appears to have finally brought the course back to its best.
The overhaul of the course’s bunker layout and relaying of the greens won universal approval from the players, while recent victors have sprinkled stardust on the event.
Rory McIlroy is the biggest draw in European golf and his win at the BMW PGA Championship in 2014 set the event back on an upward trend. That has continued with the victories of Byeong Hun An, Chris Wood and Alex Noren.
All four tee it up once again, as do the likes of Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Branden Grace – ensuring the most high-profile event on the European Tour calendar has a field worthy of the occasion.
His course form is nothing special, as aside from his victory in 2014 he has struggled to muster challenges on Wentworth’s fabled West Course.
Countering that is the fact he is comfortably the best player in the field and his record when switching back from the PGA Tour to the European Tour is strong.
Two wins and a host of top 10 finishes on the European Tour dating back to the end of 2015 suggest he is virtually guaranteed to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
What is more, he has looked good already this year. His win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational snapped a barren run that stretched back to 2016, while he came up just short in the Masters and played well at Quail Hollow.
In less exalted company and with his game, on paper at least, looking well suited to the challenges of Wentworth, McIlroy can put his excellent driving and high draw to good effect this week.
Such a big event demands a second dart at the board and we’re siding with a player who has the game needed to flourish on the West Course – namely accuracy off the tee, great iron play and a good putting stroke.
Those are the traits that have catapulted Matt Fitzpatrick into the upper echelons of the game at the age of 23.
His play this year has been steady rather than spectacular, but he is well capable of winning on the big occasion – as he proved at the DP World Tour Championship in 2016 – and at 188BET’s price of 29.0, we’ll take him as our second shot at the win.