BMW PGA Championship Preview: Tips & How To Watch

Published:

The European Tour hosts their flagship tournament at Wentworth this week as the BMW PGA Championship stages the first Rolex Series event of 2018. 

Alex Noren defends as some of the biggest names in European Golf are set to tee up at Wentworth this week for the first Rolex Series event of 2018. 

Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter are among the players to be returning to Europe for the Tour’s flagship event this week, while Jon Rahm and Justin Rose have remained stateside to play at Colonial in the Fort Worth Invitational. 

It has the potential to be a big week for several players hoping to make the Ryder Cup team in September, with this marking the first week points are increased by x 1.5. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Paul Dunne are among the players closest to qualifying, and a good week at Wentworth’s West Course could really boost their chances.

This year also marks the end of the BMW PGA Championship being hosted in May, with it being moved to September in 2019 for its 65th anniversary thanks to the change of the PGA Championship's own change of date from August to May. 

So who should you be backing this week? Find out how to watch and how to pick... 

HOW TO WATCH

Wenesday:
Live on the range; Live European Tour, Sky Sports Golf (15:00)

Thursday & Friday
Sky Sports Golf (10:00)

Saturday
Sky Sports Golf (11:30)

Sunday:
Sky Sports Golf (11:30), Sky Sports Main Event (16:30).

WHO TO WATCH: Betting Tips

Past 5 Winners: Alex Noren, Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An, Rory McIlroy, Matteo Manassero

Rory McIlroy - 8/1
Missed the cut at The Players Championship, but has been in contention a lot the past couple of months, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, ending up a disappointing T5 at The Masters, and finishing T16 at Wells Fargo. Ranks 10th on PGA Tour for scoring average, 4th for driving distance, and 11th for overall putting average. Champion here in 2014, but hasn’t teed up here since 2015.

Tommy Fleetwood - 14/1
Fleetwood hasn’t played much on the European Tour yet this year but comes in to the event with a victory in Dubai and four top 10s in 2018 – which includes a T7 finish during his last start at The Players Championship. Ranks in the top 10 on the PGA Tour for SG: Tee to Green, SG: Off the tee and Scoring Average. Has struggled here the past two years but was T6 in 2015.

Branden Grace - 14/1
T3 at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, Grace returns to Europe with three top 10s in 2018 and a worse finish of T46. T9 here in 2017, and ranks inside the top 10 on the PGA Tour this year for both SG Putting and SG Around the Green, as well as 23rd for scoring average (actual). 

Paul Casey - 14/1
Heads to Wentworth after T5 finish at The Players, one of four top 10s in his last nine starts which includes his first PGA Tour victory in nine years at the Valspar Championship. Has had a further three top 20s and a solitary missed cut at the RBC Heritage – which was his first in over a year. The World No.10 ranks inside the top 10 for SG: Tee to green, SG Approach to green and scoring average. Hasn’t teed up at Wentworth since a MC in 2013. 

Alex Noren - 14/1
Hard to rule out defending champion and proven winner Alex Noren, who shot a course record 62 on the final round at Wentworth to win last year. Has had three top 10s in 2018 and finished T17 in his last start at The Players, which followed two successive missed cuts.

Ian Poulter - 25/1
An in-form Poulter has a victory at the Houston Open and three other top 11 finishes in his last five starts so could be a real threat this week. Has only played once on the European Tour this year and has just one top 10 at Wentworth (in 2012), but then again he has gone from 207th in the World to 28th in the space of 15 months so we think it would be foolish to rule him out.

Andy Sullivan - 33/1 
After a disappointing 2017, Andy Sullivan has strung along a series of great results in 2018. Two top 10s in his last two outings at the Rocco Forte and Trophee Hassan II, and hasn’t finished worse than T34 in his last seven starts. Ranks inside the top 16 players on the European Tour for Scoring Average, Birdie average and SG: Off the tee, and hasn’t finished worse than T30 at Wentworth in his last four starts. 

Paul Dunne - 33/1
Excluding a missed cut at the Trophee Hassan II, Dunne has recorded four individual top 10s in his last five starts and triumphed with Gavin Moynihan for an Irish victory at GolfSixes. Was 30th here on his debut.

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston - 50/1
Not one to overlook this week, Beef has benefitted from a return to the European Tour and has gone T12-2nd-T12 in his last three starts. He also has a good record at Wentworth, finishing T21 and T7 in his last two outings.

Adrian Otaegui - 60/1
After his second European Tour victory last week, Otaegui comes in to this event with a lot of confidence. Prior to his win at the Belgian Knockout the Spaniard had gone T12-T10-T12-T19-2 on Tour, and is ranked inside the top 20 on tour for GIR, Scoring Average, Scrambling and SG Tee to Green.

Jorge Campillo - 66/1
Campillo led the Belgian Knockout after the 36 hole cut before falling to eventual winner Otaegui in the quarter final of the knockout stages, but he’s still had three top 5 finishes in his last four starts. Best result at BMW PGA was T15 in 2016. Ranks 13th on Tour for SG Putting, and is #16 for GIR and #23 for birdie average.

Mike Lorenzo Vera - 100/1
Another man on form, Lorenzo Vera finished 8th at the Belgian Knockout, which followed two runner-up finishes at both the Rocco Forte and GolfSixes.

The Course

Wentworth's West course underwent a huge transformation for the 2017 tournament in a bid to return it a course closer resembling its original design, which included the removal of 29 bunkers, a reshaping of several greens and the revamping of every other bunker and green on the course.