Sep 11th, 2020
Willett among home favourites at BMW PGA Championship
Englishman is looking to defend his title at Wentworth
Words: GolfPunk Photography: European Tour
The BMW PGA Championship will mark the third Rolex Series event on the 2020 Race to Dubai, with a strong field set to assemble at the famed Surrey venue next month.
Alongside Willett will be all four of the highest-ranked Englishmen in the Official World Golf Ranking – Hatton (14th) Fleetwood (16th) Fitzpatrick (17th) and Rose (18th) - all of whom sit inside the top 20.
They will be hoping to emulate Willett by becoming the 26th English player to win the prestigious event, which this year will take place without general spectators in line with the European Tour’s medical health strategy and Public Health England guidance.
Willett, meanwhile, will be aiming to become the first player since Luke Donald in 2012 to successfully defend the coveted title, having earned his second Rolex Series title at Wentworth last year by overcoming Jon Rahm in a dramatic final round duel.
The 2016 Masters Tournament champion birdied the famous final two holes to seal a three-stroke triumph, adding to his maiden Rolex Series victory at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in 2018.
Willett said: “I cannot wait to defend my BMW PGA Championship title. It was such a special win for me on home soil, particularly beating a player of the quality of Jon Rahm and in the manner that I did it.
“Obviously it will be a little different this year without fans but I know Wentworth will be in superb condition and hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans watching on television.”
The Yorkshire player will be joined by his fellow two-time Rolex Series winners in Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood, Hatton and Rose. Fleetwood won the HNA Open de France in 2017, before adding a second at last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
Hatton claimed the 2017 Italian Open title after a dramatic birdie on the final hole to make it back-to-back European Tour wins, two weeks after triumphing at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
He picked up his second Rolex Series title at the 2019 Turkish Airlines Open after emerging victorious from a six man play-off. The 28-year-old already has one victory in 2020 having claimed a maiden PGA Tour title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
Rose, meanwhile, won the Turkish Airlines Open on back-to-back occasions in 2017 and 2018. The former World Number One has never won the prestigious BMW PGA Championship but has come agonisingly close on two occasions. In 2007, he was beaten in a play-off by Anders Hansen and in 2012, he entered the final day two shots off Luke Donald’s lead but could not overcome his countryman.
Five-time European Tour winner Fitzpatrick is yet to win a Rolex Series title but did win the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai back in 2016 – the year before the launch of the Rolex Series. He finished in a share of second in the most recent Rolex Series event, January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, which was won by Lee Westwood.