The BMW PGA Championship scaled new heights today on the 20th anniversary of Seve Ballesteros’s last victory in The European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth Club. A combination of a truly world class field and an iconic venue provided an irresistible lure as a record one-day crowd of 25,472 jostled for a prime location to marvel at today’s superstars of the game.
Blue was very definitely the colour of the day – a tribute to Ballesteros’s trademark navy outfits – and the late, great Spaniard would have felt a surge of pride as his muscular countryman, Alvaro Quiros and gifted Italian teenager Matteo Manassero joined the clinical Luke Donald in a three-way tie at the halfway stage.
Ballesteros beat Montgomerie at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off exactly 20 years ago and players and fans honoured the golfing legend by replicating the trademark outfit which Ballesteros wore to victory in the 1991 in the PGA Championship and, of course, when winning The Open at St Andrews so gloriously in 1984 and which went on to become a symbol – alongside the familiar clenched fist salute - of the Seve Trophy in recent years.
Ballesteros won the PGA Championship twice, in 1983 and 1991, along with five World Match Play titles over the iconic West Course – his total haul of seven victories making the West Course his most productive return from any venue.
He passed away on May 7, but his legacy lives on through the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, the official charity of this week’s BMW PGA Championship. The Ole Seve! Pro-Am on Monday raised over £625,000 for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation supporting Cancer Research UK and further initiatives are taking place throughout the week in aid of the SBF.