Dan Box
By Dan Box

The DP World Tour's flagship event takes place just a fortnight before the Ryder Cup, with a star-studded field set to tee it up at Wentworth in the penultimate Rolex Series event of the season.

In fact, Europe's whole team and Captain Luke Donald are set to take part this week, adding some extra firepower to one of the most prestigious events on the European circuit.

Last Year

In an event that was marred by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, causing the cancellation of the second day's play, Shane Lowry came out on top for his first win since the 2019 Open Championship triumph.

Lowry made an eagle and five birdies to shoot 65 and hold off the charge of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm to win the tournament, which was shortened to 54 holes.

The Irishman has come under scrutiny from some in the game thanks to his selection in the European Ryder Cup team - what better way to silence the critics by putting in another strong performance here after finishing tied third last week?

The Course

The West Course at Wentworth, also known as Burma Road, was designed in 1926 but has been changed regularly since, with the most recent adaptations being undertaken by local resident Ernie Els to generally positive reviews.

The tournament was first staged at Wentworth in 1972, and has been held at the venue continuously since 1984.

One of the keys to the recent success at the course has been the SubAir system, which has done wonders for course and green conditions. This allows the levels of moisture on the greens to be specifically controlled, allowing greens staff to dictate how firm or soft they want the conditions to be.

Although the course is not short at nearly 7,300 yards, it is also relatively tight and tree-lined and so has produced a wide array of winners. A look at the most recent winners - Shane Lowry, Billy Horschel and Tyrrell Hatton - show that length off the tee is not paramount but quality ball-striking is.

The 18th hole is one that is instantly recognisable to most European golf fans, a true risk-reward par 5 where the approach is played over water to a sloping green. Last year we saw both Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy show nerves of steel when hitting long irons into this green with the tournament on the line - could someone produce something similar this year?

With winning scores hovering around 20 under par over the last few years there's certainly plenty of opportunities for birdies around the course, although last year's wet conditions softened the greens and the recent hot weather should mean the course plays firm and fast.

The Field

One of the strongest fields in years for this event, with all twelve members of Europe's Ryder Cup team set to tee it up in preparation for the action at Marco Simone in a fortnight's time.

The headline trio of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland rightly top the bill, but the likes of Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick are also big draws, alongside previous winners Tyrrell Hatton and Shane Lowry.

PGA Tour stars Tom Kim and Billy Horschel have also made the trip, as well as popular Australian Min Woo Lee along with Adrian Meronk and Nicolai Hojgaard, who narrowly missed out on Ryder Cup selection last week.

Golfalot Tips

  • Matt Fitzpatrick @ 16/1

The Englishman has come close in recent weeks, losing out to Viktor Hovland's heroics during the FedEx Cup Playoffs before finishing in a tie for third in Switzerland a fortnight ago.

His form at Wentworth has been steady since he first played here in 2016, with four top 20 finishes without ever really challenging for the title. Over the last couple of years he has really taken his game to the next level though, and is rounding into form nicely.

Fitzpatrick also announced his engagement to girlfriend Katherine a couple of days ago, and this would be the perfect way to cap off a memorable couple of weeks.

  • Billy Horschel @ 35/1

As a previous champion here Horschel clearly likes the course, and even admitted to having watched this event whilst growing up over in the US as a kid. He's also in good form too, finishing fourth at the Wyndham before being in contention for three rounds last week in Ireland, when his chances were derailed by a closing 76.


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