As a lifelong golf fan, I’m deeply embarrassed to say that, until this weekend I hadn’t been to a championship event. Moments like the Ryder Cup “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012 when Europe retained the trophy with a one-point victory (regarded by many as one of the best sporting comebacks of all time) and Danny Willett’s shock Masters victory in 2016 had all been viewed from the comfort of my armchair. So, you can imagine, when the opportunity to watch the world’s best do battle at Wentworth – one of the finest courses in the world – on the final day of the BMW PGA Championship came up, it was a no brainer.
I woke up with the same excitement a five-year-old would have on Christmas morning. Or that of a fat kid before being handed a 99 Flake from the ice cream van man on a baking-hot summer’s afternoon. Setting off to perfect blue skies from London (strange I know!), I drove for an hour or so to Wentworth. From the moment I arrived on the estate, the atmosphere was electric. All the talk during the week had been about the West Course at Wentworth and the extensive renovation that had taken place in the lead up to the championships (shallowing out the bunkers and firming up of the greens). None of these seemed to affect those who were leading the charge into the final day – guys like Brandon Grace, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Some great golf, great food and great conversation were made extra special by the fact that Rolex is celebrating 50 years in golf this year while launching the inaugural Rolex Series. With iconic images of legends of the game adorning the walls of the hospitality suite, the excitement of all those involved from Rolex (including the testimonies I spoke to) was palpable. The Rolex Series encompasses the eight most prestigious tournaments on the European Tour schedule all offering minimum prize funds of $7 million – the BMW Championships at Wentworth being the first.