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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Glory of Wentworth

Some courses tend to overshadow the events they host. Augusta National. Pebble Beach. TPC Sawgrass.

The West Course at the Wentworth Club.

the 18th hole at Wentworth Club

Wentworth is a private club just outside London. It's the headquarters for the PGA European Tour. Although it has three 18-hole courses and a 9-hole par-3, it's probably best known for the West Course where most of the modern events are held. And trust me, it's had its share of high-profile events:
  • 1953 Ryder Cup (back then it was a 2-day event with only 12 matches)
  • 1956 World Cup (Ben Hogan & Sam Snead won the team event, Hogan won the individual)
  • 1964-2007 HSBC World Match Play Championship (now it's the Volvo World Match Play Championship, and just about every great player from Arnold Palmer on has won it)
And since 1984 it has also hosted the BMW PGA Championship, which is going on this week. It's the ET's "Flagship Event," which makes it the counterpart to THE PLAYERS on the PGA Tour.

The West Course is unusual in tournament golf because the final two holes are both par-5s... and 18 is laced with water hazards, as you can see in the photo above. If you want a "guided tour" of 17 and 18, you can check out this short video with RE/MAX World Long Drive champion Joe Miller.

The BMW PGA gets a lot of world ranking points, so Henrik Stenson -- who sits T5 after the second round -- has a really good chance to catch Adam Scott and take over the #1 spot this week. And Thomas Bjorn is in position to grab yet another big title.

Make no mistake about it. Although it doesn't get a lot of attention over here in America, the BMW PGA is a big title. But then, Wentworth has rarely hosted anything that wasn't a big title. It's one of the overlooked jewels of the golfing world.

This week is your chance to appreciate it.

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