Danny Willett of England celebrated an acclaimed home win at the BMW PGA Championship. The 2016 Masters winner was embroiled in a head-to-head race with Jon Rahm (-17) at the weekend, but pulled away from the man from Spain in the final round and brought the advantage safely home. The 31-year-old received a winner’s cheque to the amount of 1,056,661 euros for his seventh win on the European Tour. He also took the lead in qualifying for Team Europe for the 2020 Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits (USA). Qualifying for the legendary team competition, for which BMW will take on the role of “Worldwide Partner” for the first time, ends next year with the BMW PGA Championship.
“I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Danny Willett on a fantastic victory in the 2019 BMW PGA Championship,” said Jean-Philipe Parain, BMW Senior Vice President Sales Region Europe, at the award ceremony: “BMW is honoured to be the title partner of this flagship event for the fifteenth consecutive year. There is always such a great and electrified atmosphere here. Wentworth always has a very special feeling and you can really sense everyone’s passion for the BMW PGA Championship. I think we can all agree that this championship has exceeded all expectations.”
Willett (68, 66, 68, 67 strokes) tied for the lead with Rahm after the second and third rounds, but pulled away with three birdies on the front nine on Sunday. On the demanding back nine, the Englishman kept his nerve and control, making him the deserved winner in an outstanding starting field.
“For us players and the European Tour, this is our most iconic tournament. To win the BMW PGA Championship is amazing,” said Willett. “It's always nice to compete on home soil. It feels great to finally win on such an iconic golf course with what is one of the best fields I think they have had.”
Behind Willett and Rahm, South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-16) finished in third place. On their BMW PGA Championship debut, America’s Patrick Reed and Billy Horschel (both -15) tied for fourth place, while defending champion Francesco Molinari (ITA, -9) had to make do with tied fourteenth place this year. Four-time majors winner Rory McIlroy (NIR, -11, T9) missed out on his second victory at Wentworth after 2014, mainly due to a bad opening round (+4), but showed his true close on the following three days. The best-ranked German was Martin Kaymer (+2) in tied 57th place.
With 268 strokes, Willett was just one stroke off the tournament record of -21, which was set by South Korea’s Byeong Hun An in 2015. The Englishman is also only the third player in history to have won both the BMW International Open and the BMW PGA Championship. Only David Howell (ENG) and Miguel Ángel Jiménez (ESP) had previously achieved this BMW double.
On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the tournament with BMW as title partner, Championship Director Jamie Birkmyre said: “The standards set by BMW are the highest you can possibly achieve. BMW brought in a style that was so consistent with the way the automobile manufacturer produces its fantastic cars. Every detail is first class, there is no compromise. The BMW PGA Championship is the benchmark: A stunning venue, world-class players, heritage, and partners with prestigious, world-league brands.”
Together, the tournament has developed from an excellent golf event into a festival over the years. 22,000 fans attended this year’s Celebrity Pro-Am tournament – more than at any other Pro-Am to date – and saw pop stars Niall Horan and Ronan Keating (both IRL), Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs (WAL), Paul Scholes (ENG) and Nemanja Vidic (SRB), as well as many other famous sports and showbiz personalities. The third and fourth rounds were brought to a fitting close by the renowned London drum and bass band Rudimental and popular English singer Anne-Marie wowing thousands of fans with their live performances on Saturday and Sunday evening.