It is a huge week on the European Tour as we head to Wentworth for the tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship.
Tyrrell Hatton will be at the Surrey course to defend his title, but plenty of players will be looking to put up a good showing in the final week of qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team.
Shane Lowry is the man sitting in the last qualification spot heading into this week, and his fine record around Wentworth makes him one to watch this week. He has been outside the top-15 just once in the past eight editions of the tournament and had three top-6 finishes in that run. He has never managed to get over the line but the former Open Champion has shown plenty of times that he has what it takes to win these big events. 16/1 makes him the second favourite but there is still some value at that price. He has shown decent, if not incredible form of late. But with a chance at a debut in the Ryder Cup on the line, the Irishman could come up big here.
The 2021 BMW PGA Championship Starts Tomorrow!
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The European Tour has been taken over by a set of twins of late. Rasmus Højgaard won two weeks ago in Switzerland, and his brother Nicolai followed that up last week in Italy. It would be no surprise to see one of the Højgaard family heading home with another title. At just 20 they now have four European Tour wins between them. Rasmus has three of those, and he is the one that many will be fancying here. A win would make it very hard for Padraig Harrington to leave him out of his side to head to Whistling Straights. It could well be the first of many trips for the Højgaards, but they will have their eye firmly set on this week. 50/1 looks to be huge value for a player that has done well on English soil before – he was clearly the best player over the COVID-enforced UK swing on the tour last season.
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy have decided to skip the event, which is a blow for the Tour, but the field is still packed full of talent. Viktor Hovland became Norway’s first-ever European Tour winner earlier this year and heads the market. He is coming in off the back of a very strong showing at the Tour Championship at East Lake and it would be no surprise to see him add to his expanding trophy cabinet.
The BMW PGA Championship is the last event before the European Ryder Cup team is announced by Padraig Harrington.
Who will he select as his captain's picks for Whistling Straits? pic.twitter.com/YOe8hPT73C
— bet365 (@bet365) September 8, 2021
A name that continues to go under the radar a little despite his quick rise in the game of golf is Christiaan Bezuidenhout. He has five wins across the European and Sunshine Tours and has become a regular at the majors. Like seemingly every South African that has gone before him in the game of golf, he is superb around the greens and a third=place finish here in 2019 proves he can get it done round the tough Wentworth layout.
There are some big names in the field that are available at some big prices. Luke Donald may not be the player he was when he reached number one in the world, but at a huge 300/1 he may be worth a small bet to rediscover some of that form at a course he has won at before. Rafa Cabrera Bello is another player that has been there or thereabouts in many of the game’s biggest tournaments. He has really lost his form and his tumble in the rankings shows that, but some good play in last week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship was encouraging and at 110/1 he is intriguing. He has top-10s in each of his last two appearances — where he came in in better form it should be added — but he is a classy player that you would back to rediscover his great form eventually.
The PGA Championship is a great event that will have an excellent atmosphere after playing last season’s event without any fans due to the pandemic. There has been the odd surprise but when you look back at the list of winners it has often been a player that has shown they can play well in the big events. Hatton, Danny Willett, Francesco Molinari and Alex Noren, the past four winners, have all won majors or huge events so don’t be surprised to see the cream rise to the top by Sunday.