The BMW PGA Championship is the most prestigious event on the European Tour. It was founded in 1955 by the Professional Golfers’ Association in Britain and was originally known as the British PGA Championship. Now regarded as the flagship event on the European Tour, the championship used to be rotated on several of Britain’s finest courses before finding a permanent home on the West Course at Wentworth Club in 1984.
The championship came under the BMW umbrella in 2005 and has since gone from strength to strength, with a number of players likening the atmosphere to that experienced at major championships.
The BMW PGA Championship has a great roll call of champions, some of whom are multiple winners. Sir Nick Faldo, the former world No1, won the trophy four times, while Colin Montgomerie is the only player to have won it three years in succession (1998,1999 and 2000). Other winners include such greats as Bernhard Langer (1987, 1993, 1995), Severiano Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and José María Olazábal.
The first winner was Englishman Ken Bousfield, who emerged champion at the Pannal Golf Club in northern England, while Italy’s Matteo Manassero became the youngest player, at 20, to win the championship – in a three-man play-off in 2013. The only American to have claimed the title was Arnold Palmer, who emerged victorious at Royal St George’s in 1975. Victory provides automatic entry into that year’s US Open tournament and a three-year exemption for the Open Championship, the oldest and most prestigious of all the majors.