England’s two most recent European Tour winners, Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell, visited Wentworth Club on Thursday to play the West Course in preparation for this month’s BMW PGA Championship.
The duo stopped in on their way to Centurion Club, where they will be teaming up this weekend to represent the English men’s side for the second edition of the innovative GolfSixes tournament.
The BMW PGA Championship has been part of the European Tour since its inaugural 1972 season and will once again represent the opening event of the Rolex Series.
Pepperell, who claimed his maiden European Tour victory in February at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, and Wallace, who claimed his second title two months ago at the Hero Indian Open, are delighted by the opportunity to compete in multiple events on home soil within the space of three weeks.
“The BMW PGA Championship is a tournament that I’ve grown up with and have always known is one of the best that we play,” said Wallace. “I’m super excited, and I love the golf course. We always look forward to it as pros.
“I think you can tell just by the field, with people coming back over from America to play on the European Tour, it’s great for us, great for me and I’m excited to play with the big guys again.”
Pepperell, whose first appearance at the event in 2013 yielded a sixth place finish, is equally enthused.
“It will be great to come back,” Pepperell said. “I’ve played in four BMW PGA Championships, and did well in my rookie year, which is still one of the best moments of my career.
“Being in contention down the stretch here was a great experience and I’ve always loved coming back ever since that. We always receive great support, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Immediately after the 2016 tournament, Wentworth Club’s West Course underwent a multi-million-pound renovation project that saw a sub-air system installed underneath all 18 greens, which were stripped of their old turf and completely re- seeded. All the bunkers were reconstructed with 29 being totally removed. The project was overseen by Director of Golf Courses & Grounds, Kenny Mackay, in conjunction with input from European Tour Members.
“I had heard quite a bit about the greens being not so good,” said Wallace. “The tournament and the golf course decided to change that and now the course is just fantastic.
“I know Kenny has worked hard to get this golf course right up to where it deserves to be. You know when you come here the condition is going to be amazing.”
This year’s tournament will feature an elite field of big names, all looking to prevent Swedish star Alex Noren from successfully defending his title.
“It definitely adds an extra something when you’re hitting balls on the same range as Rory McIlroy or Paul Casey,” Pepperell noted.
“For everyone involved, we know how much Rory brings to an event, so when he shows up and plays, it certainly adds a lot of excitement across the board from fans to players.”
In addition to their BMW PGA Championship preparations, the English duo were fired up for their chance to win this weekend’s GolfSixes on home soil.
The tournament features several key innovations, from a six-hole team match play format to the inclusion of two women’s teams—one representing England and the other representing the whole of Europe—as well as a mixed team comprised of 2018 Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn and 2019 Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew.
Wallace and Pepperell, who face off against the England women’s team in their first match, are big supporters of the event.
“It’s a great concept and I’m all for it,” said Pepperell. “It’s a way of trying to attract as many new people into the game as possible, and I think down the road, the vision of the event is great.”
“I think its ground-breaking,” Wallace added. “It could be fantastic for golf— not just for the European Tour, but for the Ladies European Tour as well. Hopefully Eddie and I can play well against the England women’s team and we can have a good match.”
The two teams will make history when they face-off at 12:04 Saturday afternoon, marking the first time a men’s team has taken on a women’s team in competitive European Tour action. Tickets for GolfSixes can be purchased here.
The BMW PGA Championship, which runs from May 24- 27, also features a star-studded Celebrity Pro-Am on the 23rd, and concert performances by Rudimental and Simple Minds on Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively. Tickets for all BMW PGA events can be purchased here.