Wentworth Blog: Monday

2013 08 Photo5
It's just as well for Luke Donald that he's got good skin. The Englishman's face is absolutely everywhere you look at Wentworth this week.

That's fair enough. He is the back-to-back defending champion of the European Tour's flagship event and, by some consent, the man most likely to be walking away with the trophy again at the end of the week.

Never mind the fact that the field is one of the strongest assembled by the championship in years and that it contains all 12 of the victorious 2012 European Ryder Cup team. Donald is, according to most fans I spoke to at Wentworth today, the man to beat.

Perhaps that's a touch parochial on the part of those punters. If so, though, it's totally understandable. This is the only top-tier European Tour event taking part in England this year and the promoters are determined it's going to be a cracker.

The tented village is shaping up to be something truly special with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of BMWs dotted around for you to gaze longingly at. I saw two poor guys waxing a 5-Series this afternoon and jokingly asked them how many times they had to do that per day. "Several, mate - no joke!" was the reply.

Incidentally, if you happen to be a BMW owner, you can enjoy the week's action from your own private, bespoke lounge. A nice touch.

The course, from what I saw today, looks in fabulous shape and the much-maligned 18th was taking no prisoners amongst those I watched practising on it. Some people don't like the stream that has been built into the front of the 18th. Me? I think it has improved an otherwise bland finish.

For a Monday, the range was surprisingly busy with the likes of Alvaro Quiros, Thomas Bjorn, Thomas Levet and a new, slimline Matteo Manassero working hard on their games. Also there was Scotland's Craig Lee and Chris Doak, the latter working hard on his game under the watchful eye of Bob Torrance.
Regardless of whatever storylines dominate the event, it is shaping up to be a great week.

Over on the putting green, Stephen Gallacher was fine-tuning his skills, as was Colin Montgomerie, a three-time winner of this famous event.

The media centre was rather quiet, although expect that to change on Tuesday when Sergio Garcia - taking part in the event for the first time since 2000 - and Martin Kaymer host their pre-tournament press conferences.

There is also an R&A press conference scheduled for lunchtime, where I'm told the proposed ban on anchored putting will be ratified and confirmed to come into effect when the Rules of Golf are next revised in 2016. With several 'anchorers' in the field, it will be interesting to gauge reaction to that announcement (if, indeed, it does happen).

Regardless of whatever storylines dominate the event, it is shaping up to be a great week, with no stone having been left unturned in delivering a great spectator experience. It is the little details - such as a dedicated 'Autograph Zone' off the 18th and padded seating in sections of the 18th grandstand - that make the biggest impression.

The BMW PGA Championship might be the only European Tour event in England in 2013 but it seems all involved are determined it will be one to remember.

Now, if only we could have a little bit of the current Glasgow heatwave sent in our direction....

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