Ben Curtis (Getty Images)
Ben Curtis, recent winner of the Valero Texas Open on the US PGA tour, has entered next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
The iconic Surrey venue holds fond memories for the American, who finished with a remarkable five consecutive threes in the 2009 Championship, including back-to-back eagles, for a 67 which propelled him into a tie for sixth place.
Even that superb finale was not as explosive as his arrival onto the world golf scene, however, as he claimed The 132nd Open Championship in 2003 on his first appearance in a Major. He was the first golfer since Francis Ouimet at the 1913 US Open Championship to triumph on his Major debut, and the first player to win The Open on his first start since Tom Watson in 1975.
The jump he made from 396th to 35th in the Official World Golf Ranking was the biggest single leap since the Ranking began in 1986, and in 2007 and 2008 he added three more top ten Major Championship finishes, in The Open (twice) and the US PGA Championship.
Those performances helped earn him a place in the 2008 US Ryder Cup Team for the contest at Valhalla, and he has rediscovered some similarly impressive form on the US PGA Tour this season, winning in Texas last month before finishing tied second in the Players Championship last week.
Speaking to George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, prior to his first round of the Players Championship, Curtis said: “I always look forward enormously to playing at Wentworth. The BMW PGA is one of my favourites and it is great to be going there as the winner of the Valero Texas Open.”
Curtis, who will turn 35 on the Saturday of the BMW PGA Championship, has also enjoyed some promising form on The European Tour this year, finishing tied 13th in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February.
This year will be Curtis’ fifth appearance in the BMW PGA Championship, and his inclusion brings the number of Major Champions in the field to 15, with his compatriots Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel playing, as well as Northern Irish trio Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, Irishman Padraig Harrington, South Africans Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, Martin Kaymer of Germany, New Zealander Michael Campbell and Canadian Mike Weir.
Luke Donald will defend the title he won in dramatic circumstances 12 months ago, when he beat Lee Westwood in a play-off to dethrone his fellow Englishman as World Number One.
More than 93,000 people flocked through the gates in the tournament week last year, and once again demand for tickets will be high. Tickets are available here
, or via the ticket hotline on +44 (0)800 023 2557. A limited number of tables in corporate hospitality remain for Saturday 26 May. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
for further information.
Spectators who buy their tickets in advance of the tournament will be sent a car park pass to a designated car park. Please follow signs to ENTRANCE 2. Directional signage will then lead you to your car park.