Tony Jacklin, the 1972 PGA Champion, rolled back the years today when he returned to Wentworth Club to help Frenchman Thomas Levet launch the PGA Championship 60th anniversary Mega Putt Challenge in aid of official tournament charity, Challengers.
The former Open and US Open winner participated in the fun challenge in the Championship Village, attempting to hole a putt from 60 feet – marking the 60th edition of the Championship, which is also celebrating ten years with BMW as title Partner.
It was just like the old days as Jacklin wielded his putter with distinction although – like Levet – he was unable to hole out in one with three attempts over the modular putting green, a flatter replica of the demanding first hole on the West Course.
Spectators at the BMW PGA Championship can also try their luck during the week of the tournament, paying £5 for three attempts – all proceeds going to the Surry-based charity – with everyone contributing being entered into a prize draw for a set of Titleist irons at the end of the week. Anyone managing to hole the 60 foot monster putt will go into a daily draw for a Scotty Cameron putter.
Challengers, which is dedicated to providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities through its centres in Guildford and Farnham, as well as a range of community-based projects across Surrey and Hampshire, will benefit hugely from being the Official Charity of The European Tour’s flagship event through the Mega Putt Challenge and other initiatives.
Jacklin was delighted to help launch the charitable activity and said: “I think it’s wonderful. A lot of people are not as well off as we are, physically, and any way we can help them a little bit makes me very happy.
“I think it’s a nice innovation for the tournament to have diversions like this one from the main event and for the public to be able to come and enjoy themselves and do some good for charity at the same time. So I’m very happy to help out. There are fond memories for me coming back here, I love getting the opportunity to come back. It’s a fantastic tournament now and I just hope the sun keeps on shining, please!”
Levet commented: “I think it’s very important to have things like this on behalf of a local charity. I have a few friends that have health problems within their family and when you help out just a little bit, for just £5 a go, it will go a long way in helping a lot of people that really need it.
“For me, it’s just five minutes of my time and it is a pleasure to try to bring some attention towards it. I hope lots of people have a go and I hope lots of people hole their putts, it’s a tough one!”
David Clinton, Chairman of Challengers, added: “We are delighted that Tony and Thomas have come along to launch the Mega Putt Challenge. This is an exciting week for our charity and the profile and additional funding which Challengers will receive from being associated with the BMW PGA Championship and the European Tour. The 60ft putt is in a prominent position in the Village, which is wonderful for us and offers the public a bit of light hearted fun in a good cause.”