Denmark's Anders Hansen defends the title he won in record-breaking style last year when the 2003 Volvo PGA Championship tees off at Wentworth Club this week with an all-star cast containing ten past Champions of The European Tour's flagship event.
World Number Two, Ernie Els, the highest ranked player in the quality field, is one of 11 winners on The 2003 European Tour International Schedule who will compete over the West Course while no fewer than 21 Major Championships have been won by the Tour Members taking part in the richest Volvo PGA Championship in history.
This year's prize fund has increased by €327,720 to €3,500,000 with a cheque for €583,330 awaiting the new Champion on Sunday night. One player who cannot wait to begin that quest is Els, who was disappointed at having to withdraw from last week's Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe due to injury.
The South African has been second three times and three of the players who finished ahead of him - José Maria Olazábal (1994), Costantino Rocca (1996) and Ian Woosnam (1997) are again in the field. Others past champions, in addition to Hansen, gracing the event are Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Tony Johnstone, Colin Montgomerie, Andrew Oldcorn and Paul Way.
This season's winners in the field include multiple winners Paul Casey, Els and Fredrik Jacobson, along with Arjun Atwal, Robert-Jan Derksen, Bradley Dredge, Kenneth Ferrie, Darren Fichardt, Mark Foster, Mathias Grönberg and Trevor Immelman.
Last year, in becoming the first player to make the Volvo PGA Championship his maiden victory on The European Tour International Schedule, Hansen set two low numbers in front of large crowds at Wentworth Club. His 54 and 72 hole totals of 199 and 269 were records while his five stroke winning margin was only one outside Bernhard Langer's record of six shots in 1993.
Meanwhile Olazábal aims to extend his record of 15 successive cuts made since his debut in the event in 1986, when he finished tied 44th behind Australian Rodger Davis during a rookie season in which he claimed second place in the Volvo Order of Merit.
Olazábal said: "I have always enjoyed playing in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and I will be trying my best to extend that record to 16 successive cuts."