Horan, Scholes and Neville at Wentworth

ONE Direction’s Niall Horan will swap the stage for the fairways when he joins the defending champion and World No 1, Rory McIlroy, in the BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am at Wentworth Club, on Wednesday May 20.

READY FOR ACTION: Horan and McIlroy

READY FOR ACTION: Horan and McIlroy

The 21 year old singer caddied for four-time Major Champion McIlroy in the pre-Masters Tournament Par 3 contest at Augusta National last month, and the pair will rekindle their friendship over Wentworth’s iconic West Course for the annual curtain-raiser to the BMW PGA Championship, The European Tour’s flagship event.

The star-studded group, which will tee off at 8am, will be completed by Manchester United and England football legends Phil Neville and Paul Scholes who, like Horan, will be making his debut in the Celebrity Pro-Am, which has become one of the most popular dates in the golfing calendar.

Horan, who is an honorary life member of Mullingar Golf Club in his native Ireland, is used to performing in front of large crowds as part of the best-selling boy band One Direction, who released the first of their four albums in 2011 – the same year McIlroy won the first of his four Major Championships.

Speaking about playing alongside McIlroy, Horan said: “I can’t wait to play with Rory, Phil and Paul.  It’s going to be a great event. I know how prestigious the BMW PGA Championship is as The European Tour’s flagship event, so the opportunity to play in the Pro-Am with my mate Rory and two legends of football is going to be amazing – what a team!

“That said, I’ve heard there are pretty big crowds there on the day, I’m used to those but not when I’m on a golf course. I’ll probably be more nervous at Wentworth than I was performing in front of thousands with 1D, so I’m hoping Rory will give me a few tips on calming the nerves. I love golf, it’s a fantastic sport for all ages and I would urge young people to get out there and give it a go.”

McIlroy said: “Niall and I had a good fun together in the Par 3 contest at the Masters and I’m looking forward to seeing him again at Wentworth, without the boiler suit. It should be a great fourball with Phil and Paul playing too, and it should appeal to a wide range of fans.

“The Celebrity Pro-Am is always one of the most enjoyable days of the year and I’m sure the guys will all have a great time.”

Neville added: “I played in the BMW Celebrity Pro-Am last year and it’s a great day. We’re going to have a lot of fun with Paul, Rory and Niall – hopefully we can play some pretty decent golf too. I’ve heard there’s a great line-up of celebrities, sportsmen and leading golfers this year, so the pressure will be on!”

Jamie Birkmyre, Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship, said: “We are delighted that Niall will be part of the BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am for the first time. Playing alongside our defending champion, Rory McIlroy, Niall will help showcase the tournament and game to a wider audience, which is great for growing the game of golf.

“The Celebrity Pro-Am is a fantastic family day out as under-16s can come for free if accompanied by a paying adult, with a maximum of four kids per adult. Niall, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville are among a host of celebrities we have lined up for the Pro-Am, and we will announce some more big names over the next couple of weeks.”

Tickets for the BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am day are still available, via http://www.bmwpga.com or via the ticket hotline on 0800 023 2557.

The Championship’s successful Park and Ride will once again be in operation and will run from two locations: Broomhall Farm in Sunningdale, which will carry traffic from the South and East; and Ascot Racecourse, which will carry traffic from the North and West.  The Park and Ride will run a free shuttle bus service to Wentworth Club every five minutes, direct to the entrance of the Championship Village.

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