Record crowds expected at Wentworth

A glorious six-day festival of golf and celebrity spotting swings into action next Tuesday when the BMW PGA Championship prepares to host some of the world’s greatest players and globally renowned A-list celebrities.


From the star-studded Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday  to the trophy-laden prize giving ceremony on Sunday May 24, the worlds of golf and entertainment collide at the stunning home of The European Tour, Wentworth Club in Surrey.
The event has seen record levels of interest, with advance ticket sales the highest they have ever been (compared with the same sales period in previous years). Pre-booked seats in the iconic 18th grandstand are up 40 per cent on last year and, in response to the unprecedented levels of demand,

The European Tour has increased capacity in two of its most popular grandstands – adding 475 extra seats in the 18th green amphitheatre, taking its overall capacity up to 2,561; while the first tee grandstand will seat up to 288 spectators this year, an increase of 97 from 2014.

Only a few days remain to purchase tickets at advance prices, so anyone aiming to take advantage of the chance to see golf’s superstars – or some of the best-known entertainers – in the flesh can take advantage of these offers now.

The ever-popular BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am will once again act as the official curtain raiser to this year’s tournament. The all-star celebrity line-up includes One Direction’s Niall Horan, confirmed to play a morning four-ball with World Number One and reigning BMW PGA Champion Rory McIlroy, along with Manchester United legends Phil Neville and Paul Scholes.

TV duo and recent Bafta winners, Ant and Dec, will be making their BMW PGA celebrity Pro-Am debut alongside fellow Geordie and former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer. Guiding the celebrity trio around Wentworth’s iconic West Course will be former World Number One and Ryder Cup star Lee Westwood.
Used to competing in front of huge crowds in their respective fields, a number of legendary sporting heroes will try to keep their cool in front of thousands of spectators at the iconic Surrey course.

The strong international footballing contingent continues with former internationals Kenny Dalglish, Jamie Redknapp, Peter Schmeichel, Teddy Sheringham, David Ginola, Gianfranco Zola, Andriy Shevchenko, Matt Le Tissier, Glen Hoddle, Ian Wright and current Scotland manager Gordon Strachan all confirmed to play.

The stellar line-up from the world of cricket, turning boundaries into birdies, includes international icons Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Sir Ian Botham and Allan Lamb. Meanwhile, England rugby captain Chris Robshaw will be among the pack of rugby stars tackling the West Course, along with Ben Foden, Jamie Roberts, Mike Tindall, Andy Nicol, Keith Wood and 2003 Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, all hoping to kick the opposition into touch.

Accelerating around the course will be motorsport trio Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Derek Warwick and Tiff Needell – with the latter hoping to improve on his showing in the recent BMW PGA Sporting Challenge, which you can view here.

Olympic curling medallist Eve Muirhead should be able to keep ice cool around Wentworth, while former British Number One tennis players Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski will have high hopes of serving up a smashing round.

Record breaking jockey AP McCoy will begin his post-racing career by competing in the event alongside fellow jockeys Mick Fitzgerald and Carl Llewellyn, and from the world of rowing, multiple Olympic gold medallists Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent.

Away from the world of sport, Keane frontman Tom Chaplin will be making his second appearance in the BMW PGA Pro-Am, while actor Matthew Goode will also be keen to impress on his debut. Adding a touch of glamour to the day’s play, former model Jodie Kidd will be showing the boys how it’s done.

Football Focus’ Dan Walker, Strictly star Anton Du Beke, newsreaders Mark Austin and Rishi Persad and presenters Andrew Cotter, Jeremy Kyle, John Inverdale, Chris Hollins and Rob Bonnett will all add to the TV line-up.

Chris Evans will be joined in the Pro-Am by two winners from the BBC Children In Need Super Swing Auction, whose incredible generosity raised a staggering £374,000 for the charity. The winners will play in the Pro-Am with Chris, his Radio 2 Breakfast Show colleague Vassos Alexander, and pro-golfers Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell.

McIlroy, Westwood, Donald and McDowell are just some the world’s best golfers competing in the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth. The world-class field includes a host of World Number Ones, Major Champions and 2014 Ryder Cup stars, including Justin Rose, Martyn Kaymer, Thomas Bjørn, Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson.

Jamie Birkmyre, Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship, said: “Interest in this year’s BMW PGA Championship is unprecedented and we are on course for another amazing week of golf and entertainment. The players can expect a fantastic reception from the thousands of spectators that will be coming to Wentworth on each day of the tournament. The BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am has become a real hit with the fans; it is a testament to the event that it continues to attract so many high profile names and that a place among this field is so highly coveted.

“Spectators can expect a great day at the Pro-Am, watching a truly fantastic display of golf in a relaxed and informal environment.  Then the serious stuff gets underway on Thursday, when we’ll see some of the best golfers on the planet take on the stunning West Course here at Wentworth.”

This year’s off-course entertainment will predominantly take place in the vibrant and ever-expanding Championship Village – a hub of activity for families and golf fans alike, featuring interactive displays, live music, daily autograph sessions and Cotter’s Questions with celebrities and pros on the BMW Show Stage throughout the tournament. There is an extensive selection of food and beverage options, ranging from first-class hospitality in the BMW Owners’ Lounge and Moet Bar and Brasserie to the Theatre of Food, and there is even a public Creche for younger members of the family.

The village provides something for everyone with the opportunity to view a wide range of BMW vehicles, take part in a Nearest The Pin competition, or for an added competitive edge take a miniature BMW i8 for a spin around the BMW i racetrack. Continuing the golfing theme, the HSBC interactive roadshow will also be back in the Village this year, inviting spectators to test their full range of golf skills.

The Championship Village will also feature a superb line-up of music entertainment on the Saturday and Sunday of this year’s BMW PGA Championship. Headlining the music entertainment on Saturday will be the brilliant Jones Gang, led by The Who’s Kenney Jones. The entertainment and music then continues on Sunday evening, when the traditional end-of-tournament band The AllStars, will be entertaining the crowds.

Advance tickets, offering a discount on gate prices, are available until 23:59hrs on Saturday May 16 via www.bmwpga.com or by calling the ticket hotline on 0800 023 2557.

After Saturday, tickets for the Practice Day on Tuesday, May 19, the Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday May 20 and all four days of the Championship from May 21-24 will be available on the gate. Children under the age of 16 are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

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