Date: May 22, 2013
Author: Martin Blake /

Aussies hopes at Wentworth’s Ryder Cup reunion

Europe&aposs Ryder Cup win in 2012, the so-called Miracle of Medinah, is being reprised in tournament form this week at the famous west course in Wentworth, Surrey, England. Eleven of Europe&aposs team that came from four-down on the final day are teeing it up in one of the the flagship tournaments on the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship beginning Thursday. The likes of Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia ensure it is a stellar field. Four of the world&aposs top 10, and seven of the world&aposs top 20 are playing. There are three Australians — Brett Rumford, Richard Green, Andrew Dodt and Marcus Fraser — in the field. England&aposs Donald, the world No. 4, has won the past two PGAs at Wentworth, where the tournament has been played since 1984, and he was runner-up in 2010. The course, strategic in nature and not requiring huge length off the tee, fits Donald&aposs eye; he grew up in Buckinghamshire, just down the road, although he has lived in Chicago for some years now. Now that Adam Scott has his Masters Green Jacket, Donald is among a cluster of players fit to carry the sobriquet &aposBest not to have won a major&apos, although in truth, his game has stagnated slightly since he soared to both the European and US money titles in 2011 and scaled to No. 1 in the world. He is yet to win a tournament anywhere in 2013 although as ever, he is consistent. McIlroy, too, has climbed to No. 1 but lost that title to Tiger Woods, but he has not been prominent at Wentworth in the past. In five visits he has never finished higher than fifth. The in-form player of the field is McDowell, the world No. 7, who has won two of his past three starts including the World Matchplay in Bulgaria last week. Garcia was in contention at the Players Championship until he found water at the famous 17th hole, and the Spaniard is happy to back in Europe. “I&aposve played both tours for 14, 15 years now but I&aposve always loved The European Tour,&apos&apos he told the media this week. “I love what The European Tour stands for; the feeling that you get on The European Tour, not only with the tournament, but the players, within the players and everything; it feels like it&aposs a little bit closer together. It&aposs a little bit more like a family. “So that&aposs some of the reasons why I play on The European Tour. I love coming back here and kind of disconnect from the U.S. a little bit and see my Spanish friends and Italian friends and Argentinians and so forth.” Several of the Australians will be among the favored players, notably Rumford, who won consecutive European Tour events in Korea and China recently. The Western Australian picked up another 50,000 Euros by winning one of his matches at the World Matchplay last week; he is still second in the Race to Dubai standings behind McDowell. Fraser is coming off a break at home in Melbourne after playing some of the early-season events, but his game is in fine shape. Runner-up to Rumford in a playoff in Korea, he also has a top-five finish in Dubai this season and with his world ranking at No. 61, the 34-year-old is on the brink of the top-50 world ranking that would give him automatic starts in the majors and World Golf Championship events. Fraser is one of those players who has just improved steadily over a decade of playing his golf in Europe. He has played five majors, with a best of equal-35th, but he is one good tournament away from the top 50. With the US Open at Merion just three weeks away, the time is right for him to step up. The BMW European PGA Championship is worth 4.75 million euros.