This week, the West Course at Wentworth will stage the BMW PGA Championship for the 38th time. Some of golf’s leading players will be joined by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Sir Ian Botham, Damian Lewis and Chris Evans in an all-star Pro-Am format. The course was comprehensively remodeled following Chris Wood’s victory in 2016. 26 bunkers were removed and a new irrigation system was installed to make the greens firmer and faster. Wentworth resident Ernie Els, who has won the World Match Play here seven times, also remodeled the course in 2006. But the changing elevations and fairways that turn both ways remain from the original design almost a century ago. Luke Donald won here in both 2011 and 2012, Rory McIlroy was the winner in 2014 and Byeong-hun An was the surprise 2015 champion. The defending champion is Alex Noren, who won by two shots last year.
McIlroy, who followed his victory in 2014 with a missed cut on his only subsequent visit a year later, is the market leader at 8/1* with Paddy Power and is the only player priced in single figures. Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017 and was seventh at The Players on his last outing. The world number 12 is alongside 2009 champion Paul Casey at general best odds of 14/1*. Noren is a 16/1* chance with William Hill and Paddy Power, with Branden Grace at 18/1* with Bet365 after finishing third at the Byron Nelson event in Texas on Sunday. Francesco Molinari has had two top five finishes in the last three years here, including finishing second last year. The Italian is at 20/1* with Bet365 and Paddy Power.
Alexander Bjork’s victory at the Volvo China Open at the start of the month pushed him into the world’s top 100 for the first time and followed on from a share of third place in Morocco. He’s had a couple of weeks off to get refreshed and he’s a big price to continue his current rich vein of form at Wentworth. He finished just outside the top 10 last year. Betfred are offering the Swede at best odds of 66/1*.
If you’re looking for an outsider at a big each-way price this week it’s worth considering Benjamin Hebert. He finished as runner-up at the inaugural Belgian Knockout at the weekend. It was the fourth time in his last seven starts that Hebert has finished inside the top 20, including a top 10 in Oman and a share of 13th place in Morocco last month. He was 12th here two years ago and looks a big price at 125/1* with Bet365, William Hill or Betfred.
It’s been a difficult year so far for Chris Wood. He missed the cut for the fifth time in Belgium last week, but a return to Wentworth could provide the spark he needs to breathe life into his season. Wood climbed to 22nd in the world in 2016, but has since slipped a hundred places and has found form only sporadically. His second-place finish in Oman in February was certainly a highlight. As well as winning here two years ago, he has finished in the top six on two other occasions. Betfred’s best price of 100/1* is too good to ignore.
*All odds are subject to change.