The stars of the European Tour came together to launch this year’s BMW PGA Championship and celebrate the achievements of defending champion Byeong Hun An and Masters Champion Danny Willett.
Nearly 100 players attended the BMW PGA Championship reception on Tuesday night, held in the Championship Pavilion next to the 18th green at Wentworth Club. They were joined by European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley and Graeme Grieve, Managing Director of BMW Group UK and Ireland, as well as a number of guests from the world of golf.
Pelley presented Willett with Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in recognition of his stunning victory at last month’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National, when he became the first Englishman to claim the famous Green Jacket for 20 years.
Fittingly, Willett, who earlier in the day had received the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month Award for April, is the 50th recipient of Honorary Life Membership, following fellow Englishman Peter Oosterhuis who was recognised on the eve of the Masters.
“It’s a great honour to receive,” said Willett. “I found out a couple of weeks ago that I was going to get it. It’s amazing to be recognised by peers and the European Tour and by everyone. Everything that has happened over the last couple of months just makes you realise exactly what you have achieved.
“The European Tour is like a massive family, so to be recognised like this is very special. Winning a Major Championship is obviously great itself, but it is also everything that comes with it, like receiving Honorary Life Membership.”
An, who claimed his maiden European Tour title by six shots at Wentworth 12 months ago, was also recognised, receiving the Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year and the Sir Henry Cotton European Tour Rookie of the Year Award.
“It’s really nice to win awards like this,” said An. “You only win these awards once so to be recognised is great. It was a fun night too.”