Open Champion Henrik Stenson will make his first appearance on UK soil since lifting the Claret Jug when he returns to the 2017 BMW PGA Championship - the first tournament in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series - at Wentworth Club from May 25-28.
The 40-year-old Swede became the first male golfer from Scandinavia to win a Major Championship with an inspired performance at Royal Troon last July, with his duel with American Phil Mickelson going down as one of the most enthralling final days witnessed in the history of the game.
Stenson produced a stunning closing 63 - the joint-lowest final round in a Major by a champion - to win by three shots, breaking the record low score for a Major Championship with a winning total of a 20 under par 264.
Golf fans in the UK will now get their first chance to see him in action since that historic victory when he returns to the revamped West Course at Wentworth in May. The World Number five will join his Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose at the BMW PGA Championship.
It will be Stenson’s first appearance at Wentworth since he finished tied seventh in 2014, and he is looking forward to returning to the prestigious venue as the Champion Golfer of the Year and the European Tour Number One, having claimed his second Race to Dubai crown in November.
“It will be great to be back in the UK as The Open Champion and feel that buzz in the lead up to The Open again,” said Stenson.
“I haven’t played in England for a couple of years now, so it will be really nice to be back and see everyone at Wentworth again. It’s a familiar hunting ground, it’s a great week and I’m really excited to play the golf course again.”
The 11-time European Tour champion is looking forward to seeing the changes to the BMW PGA Championship, both in terms of the golf course, which has undergone a multi-million pound renovation over the past 12 months, and the tournament itself, which is the launch event of the Rolex Series, a series of eight tournaments across the European Tour season, all with a minimum prize fund of $US7million.
“It has been a lot of hard work on the European Tour from everyone involved to launch this new Rolex Series and Wentworth is the start-up, so it would be a good time to play some good golf and position yourself well for the season.
“Wentworth is a classic layout, we had some quite drastic changes done a number of years back, and now it’s undergone another renovation, so I’m curious to come back and see how it plays.”
The Rolex Series is the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s international schedule and comprises: the BMW PGA Championship (May 25-28), the HNA Open de France (June 29-July 2), the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation (July 6-9), the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (July 13-16), the Italian Open (October 12-15), the Turkish Airlines Open (November 2-5), the Nedbank Golf Challenge (November 9-12) and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai (November 16-19), where the 2017 Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.