This week over on the European Tour is the BMW PGA Championship. This is one of the biggest events on the European Tour. This is where a lot of the top players in Europe and around the world come to Surrey, England to play at the West Course at the Wentworth Club. As the BMW PGA Championship is one of the primer events in not only Europe, but around the world.
The winner of the BMW PGA Championship will receive 64 ranking points for the Official World Golf Rankings and the winner is given an exemption into this year’s U.S. Open and the next three British Open Championships as well. So, this tournament is a big deal.
The Golf Channel has included this tournament as a part of the fantasy game this week, so we’ll break down some of the golfers in the group and I’ll pick my golfers as well. With that said, let’s get started because there is a lot to go over.
Group 1 features seven of the top 20 golfers in the world. Right away I’m eliminating Rory McIlroy. McIlroy just hasn’t played well here at Wentworth. He’s missed the cut in his last two starts and has only finished inside the top ten once in his appearances here.
Same thing with Ian Poulter. Poulter is minor hit-or-miss here at the BMW PGA Championship. Poulter missed the cut last year, finished T-10 and T-18 in 2012 and 2011. Before that, Poulter missed the cut in three straight tries, and before that his best finishes were a T-33 and T-52 in 2005 and 2004. In 12 starts, Poulter has missed the cut in eight of those tournaments.
Henrik Stenson has had more success here than McIlroy and Poulter, but not much better. Stenson has made the cut in seven of ten tournaments, but he’s only finished in the top 10 once. That’s just not good enough for me to take a chance on Stenson.
Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel have played some good golf this year, but I’m not going to take them either. While Garcia finished T-19 last year, it was his only appearance here in 13 years. I’d like to take someone who is more familiar with Wentworth Club. Schwartzel has been good here with a T-18 in 2012, MC in 2011, T-17 in 2010, and a T-6 in ’09. Schwartzel is a good pick, but I’m not going to take him either.
Now, we get down to the two golfers I’ve narrowed it down to Justin Rose or Luke Donald? Justin Rose has been playing some very good golf. He’s been in contention at just about every tournament he has played of late. Not only that, but he’s played well here at the BMW PGA Championship. Rose has finished runner up twice, a T-10 in 2010, and T-11 in 2004. He has missed the cut three times in the 10 tournaments he has played. So, a little bit inconsistent for my tastes.
So, with that, I’m taking Luke Donald. Donald has played the BMW PGA Championship every year since 2005 and he has only missed the cut once. Granted, that one missed cut happened last year. But, aside from that, he has been incredible at Wentworth. In 2010, he finished T-2, and in 2011 and 2012 he won. Before that incredible run he finished T-35, T-3, solo 7th, T-25, and T-18 (going back from 2009 to 2005.)
To me, Luke Donald is clearly the pick in Group 1 so that’s what I’m going with, but as we all know tournaments aren’t played on paper. You still have to execute your gameplan to a tee.
Group 2 is absolutely loaded. Even with Victor Dubisson withdrawing due to a shoulder injury, this is a who’s who of groups. This is by far the toughest group to choose from and at the same time the easiest because it seems as though you can’t make a mistake. This group features Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, and the defending champion Matteo Manassero among many, many others.
There’s not many golfers that are hotter than Miguel Angel Jimenez and Martin Kaymer. Jimenez has won everywhere of late. Last week, he won the European Tour’s Spanish Open, and he won his debut over on the Champions Tour about a month ago.
Jimenez is loving life and living large, and has been successful here in Surrey, England. Jimenez finished T-4 last year, a T-39 in 2012, a couple of missed cuts in 2011 and 2010, but then in 2009 a T-43, and in 2008 he won. With all that said, I’m gutted that I’m not taking the most interesting man in the world, but there’s someone else I’ve got my eye on.
Kaymer has a fine history here at the BMW PGA Championship. While Kaymer hasn’t finished in the top 10 here, he has at least made the cut. In the seven tournaments he’s played at the BMW PGA Championship he’s made the cut in six of those tournaments.
My worry is Kaymer might be a bit tired. He went wire to wire at The PLAYERS and finished T-29 at the Byron Nelson last week. From Florida to Texas to England in three weeks. It’s quite the schedule and while Kaymer is playing great that’s a bit too much of a travel schedule for tastes.
Let’s quickly get through some of the other notable players: Francesco Molinari: Two top 10 in his last two trips to Surry, England, has made the cut in 6 of 8 tournaments. Jamie Donaldson: Has made the cut the last six years including a T-7 in 2011. Ernie Els: Has made the cut in the last 5 BMW PGA Championship and has finished top 10 in the last two.
Now, my pick in Group 2 is Lee Westwood. Westwood has played at the BMW PGA Championship every year in his career. He knows Wentworth Club really, really well. Not only does he know the course well, but he has played here very well. He has made the cut in the last four years and finished in the top ten in the last three years.
As mentioned above, there are a number of golfers you can choose from. Ideally, I’d like to take three or four golfers in this group, but you can’t. It’s a really tough group, but a group in which no matter who you pick they should make the cut and be in contention.
As you might expect, there is a major drop off from group 2 to 3. Nevertheless, there are still some very good, quality golfers in Group 3. Marcel Siem has made the cut in nine of ten tournaments here at the BMW PGA Championship and his highest finish has been a T-7 in 2012. Richie Ramsay: Finished T-9 last year. Shane Lowry. Lowry has been very impressive : Has made the cut in all four starts here and finished T-4 in 2011 and a T-12 last year. Paul Lawrie: Finished T-2 in 2012 and T-6 in 2010.
For me, though, I’m taking Alvaro Quiros. Quiros has been impressive of late with two top five finishes in his last 4 tournaments on the European Tour. Not only that, but Quiros has made the cut in 4 of the last 6 years and has finished T-32, T-10, T-19, and T-16 in the years he has made the cut at the BMW PGA Championship. He’s playing well and has a nice history at the BMW PGA Championship.
In group 4 I’m going with Simon Khan. Khan is very experienced at Wentworth Club and has been very successful as well. Last year, Khan finished T-2, in 2012: T-27, 2011: MC, and in 2010 he won. And you can even go back a few years before that. In 2006 in he finished solo 2nd place, in 2007 in T-24, and in 2008 T-10.
Khan seems like the best pick of this group, but there are a few to keep an eye on. David Drysdale in his last couple of years has finished T-19 and T-10. Edoardo Molinari has made the cut in the last three years and finished T-19, T-49, and T-39 the last three tournaments here at the BMW PGA Championship. Peter Lawrie: Has made the cut in 8 in the 11 years he has played here at the BMW PGA Championship. Richard Bland: T-19 last year, and a solo 5th place finish in 2006. Robert Rock: Has made the cut in four of the last 5 BMW PGA Championship tournaments.