The 2018 Rolex Series starts with a bang this week on the European Tour as the BMW PGA Championship takes place at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.
Last year, Swedish superstar Alex Noren captured a ninth European Tour title by winning at the same venue by two strokes over the Italian Francisco Molinari. With European Ryder Cup qualification points multiplied by 1.5 between now and the Made in Denmark at the end of August, the best players on this side of the pond will be aiming to make their mark.
You can watch highlights of Noren's 2017 win below:
To help build up to what promises to be a great opening to the Rolex Series, we have gathered together a tournament preview to help whet the appetite. Here's what we've come up with:
Wentworth Club (West Course)
Yardage: 7,284 yards
There are certainly few more glorious natural settings for golf than this stretch of heathland surrounded by woodland of pine, oak and birch, with the vibrant rhododendrons adding a seasonal splash of colour. The heavily wooded landscape has aesthetic and strategic benefits in the sense that it is both easy on the eye and ideal for creating a well-defined layout.
The great architect Harry Colt took full advantage of these many attributes when he created the West Course almost 100 years ago. Fairways turn both ways and there is a wonderful flow and variety to the course, with pleasing elevation changes and demanding test for all golfers across the varied par-3s, par-4s and par-5s.
Get up to speed with some of Wentworth's recent changes on the West Course:
The 2014 champion Rory McIlroy heads an impressive field at this week’s event and the Northern Irishman will be hoping to put in a solid showing after his missed cut a The Players Championship last time out.
As reigning European Tour Player of the Year, Tommy Fleetwood will be looking to improve on his T-6 position at Wentworth during last year's tournament and comes into this week on the back of a solid showing at TPC Sawgrass.
As well as Tommy, there are plenty of Englishman who will seek to harness the fervent home support. Paul Casey, Andy Sullivan, Ross Fisher et al will be followed by sizeable galleries who will be eager to see one of their compatriots prevail this week in Surrey.
Noren is joined by other notable past champions in the field including Chris Wood (2016), An Byeong-Hun (2015), Matteo Manassero (2013), and David Howell (2006).
Rory McIlroy will be the name on everyone's lips this week but, despite his win four years ago, the current world number eight's form at Wentworth is a bit sketchy.
Rather, we like the chances of fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Paul Dunne. The Irishman is enjoying a solid run of form and seems primed to win again at some point in the not too distant future. Coming out on top this week would pretty much guarantee a place in Thomas Bjorn's European Ryder Cup team.
If not Dunne, then keep an eye on Paul Casey. He's the definition of solid and sometimes, when others are flailing all around you, that's enough to get the job done.
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