Out of the Rough: BMW PGA Championship (2023)
As the DP World Tour season continues to heat up, it makes a stop for its flagship event in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
This event was originally known as the British PGA Championship and was first staged in 1955. Since the inception of the DP World Tour in 1972, the BMW PGA Championship has been a part of it.
This tournament was once held annually in May but when the US PGA Championship was moved to May in 2019, the DP World Tour made the decision to move the BMW PGA Championship to its fall slot.
Now joining the likes of the Dhabi Championship, the Dubai Desert Classic and the Scottish Open, the BMW PGA Championship serves as the fourth-of-five Rolex Series events to have been played this year. The final stop is the DP World Tour Championship in two months’ time.
With the Ryder Cup just around the corner, each of the 12 members of Luke Donald’s European squad will be taking part in this week’s event as a form of a final tune-up.
The field is headlined by the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland and are joined by a ton of top-tier value.
Being a DP World Tour flagship event and the Ryder Cup taking place in Rome in just over two weeks, along with the PGA Tour entering its fall swing, it’s a perfect storm for arguably the best DP World Tour field we’ve seen this season.
McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland are joined by the likes of Tom Kim, Tommy Fleetwood, Billy Horschel, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and Adam Scott
Lowry is the defending champion of this event, holding off both McIlroy and Rahm to win by one stroke a year ago.
Joining Lowry as former winners of this event in this week’s field are Horschel (2021,) Hatton (2020,) Danny Willett (2019,) Francesco Molinari (2018,) McIlroy (2014) and Luke Donald (2012 and 2011.)
The West Course at Wentworth in Surrey, England plays as a Par 72 at 7,267 yards
It was designed by Harry Colt and opened in 1926. The course has since undergone a series of alterations. More recently, alterations have been under the guidance of Ernie Els.
Between 2009 and 2010, the greens were completely remodeled and the par five finishing hole was drastically changed.
The old 18th hole was once a sure-fire birdie and a great-eagle opportunity but with the addition of a large stream snaking its way in front of the green, it has now been changed to a stunning risk/reward finishing hole.
Wentworth is a tight, flat and tree-lined heathland designed course. The greens are tricky-to-read since the 2017 renewal and the renovations that took place prior.
The greens were once a bentgrass/poa annua blend but have since been replaced to a pure bentgrass, creating a faster and trickier putting surface. A brand-new sub-air system was also put into place to help keep the greens fast and dry.
Along with the changes to the greens, the bunkering throughout the course was changed in an attempt to restore the course closer to Colt’s original design. It was once believed that some of the bunkers throughout the years of renovations became too deep.
Off the tee metrics aren’t the most worrisome this week outside of driving distance in order to set up better approach shots.
Although I will be taking putting into account for my model, we’ve seen plenty of victories with a mid-tier putter in hand.
Additionally throughout the years, maybe not so much as of late, this is a fantastic event for outsiders and long-shots alike to compete.
In all, Wentworth is a tree-lined parkland design that uses water as its main line of defense.
As of the time of writing this, there is a significant chance of precipitation for Saturday and Sunday this week. Saturday currently holds a 70-percent chance for precipitation and Sunday a 60-percent chance. Thursday and Friday are currently set at 10-percent and 20-percent chances respectively. Temperatures are set at 75-degrees for Thursday and Friday before falling to 70-degrees on Saturday and 72-degrees on Sunday. With the rain, will come some wind as well. Winds are set for 11 miles-per-hour for both Saturday and Sunday while being in the single-digits for Thursday and Friday.
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)
Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)
Greens in Regulation (GIR%)
Average Driving Distance
Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)
Tyrell Hatton (+1800)
I really am in favor of Hatton this week. We’re seeing more of a PGA Tour field than a DP World Tour field this week with all 12 of the European Ryder Cup team being in attendance. With the likes of Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm playing, I feel that someone like Hatton has a real chance of claiming victory. I know these aren’t DP World Tour stats but Hatton finished the 2022-2023 PGA TOUR season 12th in SG: TTG and 25th in SG: APP. Those are undoubtedly the two most important statistics I took into consideration this week. Hatton is also playing on home soil, looking to claim victory. Hatton also won this event at Wentworth in 2020. I’m playing two units on Hatton.
Shane Lowry (+2000)
I played Lowry on a gut feeling last week on his home soil and he performed very well. He finished T3rd at last week’s Horizon Open, just two shots off winner Vincent Norrman. Many correlate last week’s event to this and that is promising for someone like Lowry. Lowry is still playing with a chip on his shoulder, after receiving a controversial selection to Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup Team. He’ll look to capitalize off last week’s strong showing coming into this week. Lowry is also the defending champion of this event, holding off both McIlroy and Rahm to win by one stroke. He’s on my betting card for two units as well.
Adrian Meronk (+4000)
Adrian Meronk is currently second on the DP World Tour in SG: TTG, fourth in GIR%, 21st in SG: APP, 22nd in bogey avoidance, 24th in scrambling, 60th in average driving distance and 63rd in SG: PUTT. He’s elite with his irons and that is crucial for success this week. He has put together back-to-back quality performances heading into this week as well. He placed T13th at the Omega European Masters and T23rd at the Horizon Irish Open. Meronk has become well versed in the golf world, appearing at each major played this past season as well. I’m playing a unit on Meronk this week.
Yannik Paul (+9000)
I absolutely love when PGA TOUR regulars make a stop on the DP World Tour because we get some great odds for the DP World Tour’s best. That’s the case for someone like Paul this week at a staggering 90/1. Paul actually tops my model this week for this event (although PGA Tour regulars are not included.) He is currently second on Tour in SG: APP, seventh in both SG: TTG and bogey avoidance, ninth in GIR%, 13th in scrambling, 58th in SG: PUTT and 78th in average driving distance. Paul placed tenth a few weeks back at the D+D Real Czech Masters and followed that up with a T20th at the Omega European Masters. He played last week where he made the cut at the Horizon Irish Open as well. I simply could not pass up the value on Paul and will be playing a unit on him this week.