May 8th, 2016
BMW PGA Championship In Jeopardy!!!
Wentworth's residents are revolting...
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Getty Images
After the Reignwood group backed down over the planned memberships changes for Wentworth, we thought that would be the last we’d hear of Wentworth in the news for a long time. Not a bit of it. Now it’s the residents turn to cause some aggro.
The residents are in a tizzy about the BMW PGA Championships and are threatening to stop the event from taking place at all in just three weeks time if they don't receive a larger slice of the financial pie. Currently the Wentworth Estate Roads Committee (WERC) the body that run the stunning private estate, receive £14,000 per year for the disruption caused by the event. WERC want £300,000. Now that's what we call hyperinflation.
WERC say their concerns are over these issues:
-The event currently utilises land owned by WERC without it's permission, including for the construction of cable bridges over estate roads for TV broadcasting.
-Advertising hoardings, including those placed on WERC’s own land, are erected without permission and are in breach of estate covenants.
-The set up and take-down time of this single event has increased significantly in recent years to the point where it now spans a quarter of the year.
-The annual payment from the European Tour to the WERC is completely inadequate and reflects neither the inconvenience borne by the residents nor the commercial value derived by the European Tour from using WERC land and other infrastructure.
WERC have brought in their own security teams to stop the cable bridges being built, a move that could potentially mean that broadcasting the event is impossible.
Discussions were first brought up in September last year between the club, the European Tour and WERC, who claim they are being ignored. In a statement issued by WERC, they acknowledged that the problems over the past year between the club, members and residents has been the root cause of the issue.
“The attitude of the Club towards the members, many of which are residents, has changed the tolerance level of many residents and damaged the harmony in which the Club and residents have collaborated over the years.”
Could they stop the BMW from being held? We don’t think things will go that far - there is too much at stake financially. Finances aside, how would it look for the European Tour if they can’t even host their flagship event, held at the course that is home to their headquarters?
Tariq Rafique, WERC’s Vice Chairman had this to say;
“The residents of the estate are very supportive of hosting the PGA Championship event and it is a great shame that the European Tour has been unable to meet our concerns and put in place a reasonable arrangement which respects the rules and covenants governing the Estate.”
“Frankly, the last thing the residents of Wentworth wanted was another public argument, but we want to ensure everyone plays by the rules and that residents are treated fairly. We tried to initiate this discussion in September of last year and it is most regrettable that this matter was not addressed sooner by the European Tour and the Club. We sincerely hope that these issues can be resolved and that the PGA Championship can take place as planned, with the full support of residents, as has happened previously over several decades.”.
'Save our PGA' is what say. We don't really care how they get it done as long as we get to see the European Tour's finest strolling through Wentworth in a few weeks time. Kiss and make up chaps.