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Wednesday, 09 May 2012
Roberto Di Matteo  (EuropeanTour)
Roberto Di Matteo (EuropeanTour)

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  • Reading FC footballer Alex McCarthy
  • Reading FC footballer Jay Tabb

Chelsea FC head coach Roberto Di Matteo, the man hoping to create history by leading the club to its first Champions League title, will be reunited with his former Blues team-mate Gianfranco Zola when the pair compete alongside Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am on Wednesday May 23.

Four days after what he hopes will be a historic night in the Allianz Arena, where Chelsea will face Bayern Munich for the right to be crowned kings of Europe, Di Matteo will be joined at Wentworth Club, in Surrey, by Zola and former AC Milan striker Daniele Massaro, a member of the Italian squad which won the 1982 World Cup in Spain.     

The trio will be partnered by the 2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup winner Edoardo Molinari for the traditional curtain-raiser to The European Tour’s Flagship Event, where World Number One Luke Donald of England will defend the title he won in dramatic fashion last year.

Other sporting stars scheduled to tee up on the iconic West Course include Harry Redknapp, the current manager of Tottenham Hotspur; his son Jamie, the former Liverpool midfielder and current Sky Sports pundit; former England and Arsenal forward Ian Wright; Olympic silver medal-winning athlete Kriss Akabusi; and former tennis player Tim Henman, a winner of 15 ATP titles.

Current Liverpool FC manager Kenny Dalglish and BBC TV’s ‘Match of the Day’ pundit Alan Hansen, both leading members of the Liverpool side which dominated English football during the 1980s, will also be taking part in the Pro-Am.      

Meanwhile, fresh from playing their part in the club’s recent promotion to the Premier League, Reading FC midfielder Jay Tabb and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy will swap their football boots for their golf shoes to take part in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am.

The keen golfers, who both play off a handicap of six, showed they were almost as adept on the golf course as the football field when they were filmed earlier in the season for the Sky Sports Football League Weekend show’s ‘longest drive competition’. 

The rowing knights Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave – who between them won a total of nine Olympic gold medals – will also be in attendance along with another knight of the realm, Sir Clive Woodward, and Matt Dawson, a member of the England team which Woodward coached to Rugby World Cup glory in 2003.

Dawson, who finished runner-up in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2006, will play alongside one of the show’s judges, Len Goodman; while host Sir Bruce Forsyth, who lives on the Wentworth Estate, will not have far to travel to tee up in the Pro-Am.

The 2009 ‘Strictly’ champion Chris Hollins, formerly of BBC Breakfast, has been confirmed and Anton Du Beke, one of the programme’s professional dancers, will also be ditching his sequined trousers in favour of Plus Fours.

Chris Evans and Vernon Kay will also play along with their fellow TV and radio presenters Andrew Cotter and Steve Ryder, while Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will be swapping the confines of the kitchen for the wide fairways of Wentworth Club.

Jamie Birkmyre, Director of Championship Management for the BMW PGA Championship, said: “We are delighted that so many stars from the worlds of sport and television will be competing alongside some of the world’s best golfers in the Pro-Am, which is always a great day for the celebrities and also for the people who come along to watch them play in a relaxed, informal environment.

“We are particularly pleased that two Chelsea legends in Roberto and Gianfranco will be joining us on May 23, and we very much hope to welcome Roberto as the first man to guide the club to Champions League glory.”

The Pro-Am, which will feature the top three in the Official World Golf Ranking in Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, gets underway at 8am on Wednesday May 23, with the afternoon groups set to tee off at 1pm.

Advance tickets for the Pro-Am cost £8 – a £2 saving on the gate price – and can be bought at www.europeantourtickets.com.

Advance tickets for the tournament days can also be bought online, with Adult One Day Tickets priced at £30 (a saving of £5), Weekend Tickets at £45 and Season Tickets at £60 (a saving of £10).

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