European Tour Top Tours

Billy Horschel celebrates his victory at the BMW PGA Championship with his lucky golf bag and the West Ham United football team

The BMW PGA Championship is a tournament that started in 1972, and it has been taking place in Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England, since 1984. Previous to that year, other courses such as the Royal St George’s Golf Course also served as the venue to the European Tour event. The first time the BMW PGA Championship was celebrated, the winner, Tony Jacklin earned the respective quantity to the total prize fund of 25.000 €. This year, the American golfer, Billy Horschel has pocketed a total of 1.125.951,98 € and made history, becoming the second American golfer to win this tournament, after Arnold Palmer raised the trophy in 1975.

Billy Horschel finshed T1 after four hard rounds of 70-65-69-65 to sign a total of 19-under par, only one shot ahead from the second position. Horschel secured the title at the third Rolex Series event of the year, and his second major BMW title after the BMW Championship in Denver, USA with an excellent final round of 7-under par (65), including an impresive birdie on hole 18th.

I think started off, making par at No. 1 was huge. Fooch and I played a flyer like we have all week and hit it over the green and made a big putt for par. I played really great all around. Making the birdie at 15 was huge. Getting me I think tied for the lead at the moment at 18-under with three holes to play, three birdie holes, and I knew if I could birdie two of the three I probably would win the event. But one birdie was good enough.” – Billy Horschel.

The relatipnship must be a two ways street: Billy Horschel and The West Ham United football team.
The American golfer feels very comfrotable playing the English course of Wentworth, Horschel is closer to the British crowd than the audience may think. This is one of his favorite courses, and he would play it more often if that was possible, as he explained in some of the interviews made throughout the European Tour event.

Man, I’m speechless, which is very, very rare. As I’ve said two years ago and as I said this week the crowds are absolutely unbelievable here and they supported me when I came over in 2019 and they supported me this year. Played really good today, really well. Obviously missed a few putts. To win this event means a lot.” – Billy Horschel.

The West Ham United soccer club had designed a golf bag for him to carry his clubs at The Open this year. It was supposed to be his lucky charm. Although he finsihed T53 with a total of 1-over par at The Open, his luck finally came this weekend, and he could have not shown a better appreciation to the West Ham United club than raising a trophy on british lands. Billy has not had bag sponsor for a year and a half then and he has always been a fan of the Hammers so why not making a Hammer’s golf bag? He combined both of his passions together and now he will celebrate his victory with the West Ham United team.

The golf bag of Billy Horschel designed for the English soccer club of West Ham United
European Tour

Shane Lowry is waiting for a special call

Q. You have given everything to try and qualify for this Ryder Cup Team automatically and it’s just got away from you. Just give us your reflections on the day?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, look, obviously I’m disappointed with my day today to be honest. You know, it was very gettable out there. There was no wind all day and the golf course was playing very gettable.

Bit of a struggle in the middle of the back nine. You know, I felt like I gave myself a few chances around the turn again and I didn’t really do it around the turn all week. That’s where I fell back. I played the 15th hole at 15 over for the week which is obviously not good enough. I only birdied the 12th hole once.

So just a couple, I was quite close this week. Disappointing to not be in the team automatically but I’m obviously hoping that they will pick me. I don’t normally talk myself up but I think I’ve played the golf good enough and I think I deserve to be on that Cup but that’s up to them.

Q. You’ve shown good form this year, you have a proven track record, you’ve proved you can handle the ultimate pressure. How strong a case do you think you’ve put forward for a pick?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I think I’ve put forward as strong a case as you can put forward to be honest. Like I said, it’s up to the lads. Obviously spoke to G-Mac there at four o’clock to sit and talk with for the afternoon. Just have to go out and see and hope for a nice phone call whenever it is.

Q. 1-under for the day. How do you reflect on that out there today, given all that was at stake?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, it wasn’t really good enough today. Was golf course is pretty easy today. I just had a bad two holes on the back nine and that kind you.

To be honest I felt like I was more in the tournament than I was. The scoreboards were broken out there. I think I didn’t get to see a scoreboard until 14 and I’m a scoreboard watcher, and I didn’t even know how I stood. That was disappointing. I’m not sure it would have changed anything or how I played because I’m quite an aggressive player anyway.

Yeah, then bad 3-putt on 14 and bad tee shot on 15. Small margins in this game. I played nicely again today and I played nicely every day, so yeah, it is what it is.

Q. You’ve played some really good golf this week. A little back drop of The Ryder Cup, at the moment it’s not an automatic pick as things stand. What do you feel in your heart of heart as you look at The Ryder Cup and the big decisions P�draig has to make tonight?

SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, Rosey has shown a good round today. But look, I feel like I’ve done enough but it’s up to him. It’s up to them. You know, I feel like my golf has been as consistent as anybody on the European Team over the last number of months, so I feel like I can bring a lot to The Ryder Cup and I feel like I bring a lot to the European Team, and there will definitely be good craic in the team room and hopefully I can go and play good golf if I get picked. Obviously have to wait for a nice phone call this evening and — hopefully it’s a nice phone call.

Interview Transcript from Asap Sports

European Tour

Justin Rose: “From my point of view, you can only blame yourself if you don’t get picked”

Q. Came in this week wanting to make noise, 65 to close, what do you make of that?

JUSTIN ROSE: It was a fun Sunday. Really had the opportunity to go low today. I forced myself to go low today. I played match play against the golf course, good to get into the spirit of match play. I set a target and actually achieved my target today. Look back at, it left a few out there.

Not as good as it could have been and obviously trying to win a tournament, I needed everything to kind of go my way today from mid-range. A few slipped buy, missed one on 14, check.

Q. P�draig wanted to find guys with the form and you don’t have anymore form than 18. Talk us through?

JUSTIN ROSE: Thomas just gave me a great look and I had a lot of club in my hand. Forced myself to kind of go ahead and hit a positive, smooth draw. A smooth draw is not an easy shot, you want a hard draw sometimes, and it just came out perfectly. I heard how close Thomas’s was. I’ve never had an albatross either. Amazing couple shots there and great to make the most of the crowd at 18.

Q. Do you feel like you’ve done enough for a pick?

JUSTIN ROSE: I would say I’ve given it a shot. If it doesn’t go my way, I’ll say good luck to the boys and cheer them on anyway. I actually don’t know the permutation, I really don’t. I don’t know who I’m up against. Difficult to make a call. But I have a very good record and I have achieved some things in the game that stand me in good stead. I think from that point of view, I’ve given myself a great chance.

Q. 65 to close, you came in need to go make some noise for P�draig Harrington, and appears to have happened. How pleased are you with what you have done?

JUSTIN ROSE: Great to make some literal noise at 18 in the amphitheater. Fun way to finish. I’ve enjoyed the crowds this week. Made a little noise today. Set myself a pretty positive target. I played match play against the course today in case I might need it in a couple of weeks and I managed to achieve the goal I wanted to but if I look back at the round there were some opportunities that slid past. Putter was average I think at best but fortunately I didn’t need it too much today. Obviously the iron play was pretty good and got a lot out of the round from that point of view.

Q. One of the reasons he set up the double points this week is he wants to find guys with form. What have you found this week that’s encouraging you with how you’re playing right now?

JUSTIN ROSE: If I look back at Greensboro, I had a great chance to win there, as well. That’s kind of what you want, or that’s what I want, anyway. I want that consistency coming back and I feel like I’m beginning to play what feels like my natural game in a sense. I’ve gone back to what’s easy for me and been working hard on my short putt. I saw that today. I made some great up-and-downs on the back nine there. So some of the work I’ve been putting in has been coming to fruition and sometimes you have to be patient with that. For me it’s nice to get back on the leaderboard. It’s nice to feel that little bit of flutter in the heart on Sunday and yeah, it’s obviously, listen, whatever happens in the next hour now, I’ve given it a decent run for sure.

Q. We know what you’ve done as an individual and for Team Europe. Do you feel you’ve done enough to warrant a pick?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think it will be hard for him not to pick me but I had that opportunity with Monty, as well, and went a different way. Obviously Paul Casey was seventh in the world. Who knows what the bigger plan is, and if he has a bigger plan, 100 percent good luck to the boys and I’ll be cheering as the rest of you will.

Justin discusses his round

Q. You must be pleased with the round?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it’s been obviously a great week. It’s been a week where I’ve had to work hard and there’s been a lot riding on the week as well, trying to play well in this tournament and win the tournament. Ryder Cup is coming down and it’s all coming to a head. Yesterday’s round, a little disappointing. Still felt like I had an opportunity to win. I set myself a very positive target of trying to play match play against the course, started six down and I tried to beat the golf course today. With that hot finish, I managed to win 1-up in my head.

I didn’t know what the leaders were going to do today but I felt that might give me an outside chance and I played well enough to be two or three better than that today. The putter just let me down on occasion but very happy with how I played and more importantly how I went about it today.

Q. What was the motivation? Obviously you want to win the tournament and get that feeling of being in the winner’s circle again but with the additional side of The Ryder Cup, what gave you motivation?

JUSTIN ROSE: I wanted to test myself under pressure and wanted to stand up with the toughest shots and have that mindset of trying to play the right golf shot, be 100 percent focused out there and not distracted by the outcomes and what ifs. I was pleased how I played the last two holes because they were birdie opportunities. I was probably, for me, how I stepped up and committed to those last couple of tee shots is what I’m most proud of in the day. There’s enough riding on it where I had the butterflies and I could feel it. You know, when you haven’t been playing that well, you don’t get many opportunities to test yourself under a little bit of pressure, so it was good today.

Q. I believe P�draig has been unusually quiet this week when it comes to discussing what he might do this evening. In your heart of hearts, given what you’ve done this week and today and if it’s not an automatic selection, what do you feel your Ryder Cup looks like?

JUSTIN ROSE: Two or three weeks ago it looked fairly straightforward and Bernd played great and forced his way on the team and there’s a scenario with Shane and Westy and that probably changes that dynamic, too. He’s probably at the 11th hour, a lot to think about.

From my point of view, you can only blame yourself if you don’t get in and don’t get picked, because obviously I’ve never had a pick for The Ryder Cup. I’ve always played my way on to the team which is what the goal always is to do. If you leave it into someone else’s hands, you know, we’ll see, but if I don’t get picked, good luck to the lads.

Interview Transcript from Asap Sports

European Tour

Viktor Hovland: “It’s a beautiful place and the weather so far is unbelievable”

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Wentworth Golf Club

BRIONY CARLYON: We welcome Viktor Hovland, thank you for joining us. You’ve only been here once before, and just your thoughts at being back at Wentworth and what you’re looking forward to this week.

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I can’t believe it’s already been two years since I was last year. It’s a beautiful place and the weather so far is unbelievable. Look forward to having a great championship.

BRIONY CARLYON: Just a word, as well, about your form and where you are at the moment. It’s obviously been a busy year for you but a lot of success both in America and coming back over to Europe where possible. How is the game at?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, it’s been a lot of traveling the last two or three months. Definitely feeling it just moving around all the different time zones, but I’ve been loving it, every second of it and I feel like my game is trending in the right direction.

Had a great week last week, and yeah, put a different set of irons in the bag which I played earlier in the year, and I had a great week with the irons. I feel like I’m still hitting the irons pretty good. If I can just hit the ball in the fairway I’m going to give myself a lot of chances to make birdie.

Q. Most of your good performances have been in America, some great performances, but you made a point to come over to Europe wherever you can, Dubai and here a couple of times. How important has that been in terms of The Ryder Cup and bonding with the other players just to get to know people?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, obviously it’s a whole different world in the States when you play there every single week. So this feels more like home, what I’ve grown up with, and it’s nice to see some of the players that I’ve been watching on TV for so long that are still here, and I get to talk to them, get to play with them, so that’s great.

I just really enjoy travelling. So for me, it’s just kind of the best of both worlds. I get to play in the United States where I live and then at the same time I get to travel to Dubai, England, Germany, all over the place. So it’s been a cool experience.

Q. Among the Europeans, who have you got particularly friendly with, maybe the players that are going to be playing many Wisconsin, who is your pal, for instance?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: I wouldn’t say I have a best friend on the team but definitely played some with Rory and Shane’s been over in the States a lot the last few months, and see Lee Westwood a lot. Poults I played some practise rounds with. They are all really good guys, and I think we’re going to have a blast in a couple weeks’ time.

Q. Can I ask you about becoming the first Norwegian to play The Ryder Cup and what that means to you? On a list of top Norwegian sports stars, where do you think you would be on that list?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Obviously Ryder Cup is a big thing, and Norway doesn’t have a very long-standing tradition in the event. So for me personally, it’s going to be a huge honor to wave the Norwegian flag alongside the European flag. So it’s going to be a cool experience. I talked to Robert Karlsson actually last night and we were talking about basically the same thing, and how many Swedes have played in The Ryder Cup and he’s lifting names I haven’t even heard of, which is pretty impressive. So it’s about time that us Norwegians kind of try to keep up.

Yeah, it’s a dream come true and it’s going to be really, really cool.

Q. Current sports stars?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: To be honest I don’t keep track too much. If someone does something great it pops up on my social media and I try to read a couple articles here and there, but I spend really long days on the golf course and I’m just tired at the end of the day and I just scroll through YouTube or watch some shows. I don’t really keep track too much. But I wouldn’t be obnoxious enough to put myself at the top. I know there’s plenty of other talented superstars in Norway that are killing it, so it’s cool to watch.

Q. How much does it mean to you to play in front of big crowds? I know you didn’t play last year when they in front of no one. What are your feelings about the crowd?

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah in, amateur golf which wasn’t a very long time ago, I basically only played in front of a couple families here and there and then it’s just in front of your playing competitors, so I’m very used to that.

Kind of when COVID hit, when we started back up again in the States, I mean, I can’t remember how many weeks we played but it was, I mean, almost a year basically where you’re just playing in front of nobody, which to me, is what I’m used to. You know I’m used to going out, practising by myself, playing tournaments by myself essentially.

So for me it was pretty relaxing, really. I had so much extra energy and time to do other things after the round. But I did notice when I made the winning putt at Mayakoba to win the tournament, there was a decent crowd on the last hole because everyone is gathered up on 18, but I was thinking about, man, it would be really cool if there were thousands of people around that 18th hole, and especially the last couple weeks and we got to see at the British Open earlier in the summer, that was amazing. Just make one putt on the 13th hole on a Thursday, and you’re middle of the pack and people still go nuts. That’s a pretty cool feeling.

Transcript from Asap Sports

PGA Tour

Hatton excited for return of home fans to Wentworth

Tournament Preview

Tyrrell Hatton will tee it up alongside European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington as the Englishman defends his BMW PGA Championship at the third Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.

The 30-year-old will no doubt receive a hero’s welcome this week at the prestigious Wentworth Club, where fans will return in their droves after last year’s event was played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He will be one of a popular trio teeing it up on Thursday afternoon, joined by three-time Major winning Irishman Harrington and Norwegian Viktor Hovland, who will make his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.

Another player hoping to be in Wisconsin in two weeks’ time, on the opposing side, is American Billy Horschel as the former FedEx Cup Champion plays the BMW PGA Championship for a second time.

Player Quotes

Tyrrell Hatton: “It kind of feels surreal being back and being defending champion here. Firstly, it’s amazing to see the stands back and all the players this week, obviously looking forward to welcoming fans back and I’m sure they will create a great atmosphere for us to play in this week. The course is in great shape and yeah, it’s just nice to be back here.

“I guess I’ve been lucky to play well during these big events. I certainly don’t try and change my routine or anything like that. They have fallen on good weeks for me and obviously I’m very thankful for that.

“It’s obviously good memories coming back here. To be honest I only live sort of 25, 35 minutes away anyway. Been lucky enough to play here numerous times when I’ve been back here in the UK to the point where it almost feels a bit like a second home course.

“I feel pretty comfortable out there, and hopefully I can have a good week this week. I know my form’s not been that great for the last sort of three or four months maybe. But hopefully I can find something this week that if I make the Ryder Cup team, certainly hopefully I can help the team out.”
Pádraig Harrington: “It’s an interesting week. There’s obviously a number of players who are 100 per cent qualified (for the European Ryder Cup team) at this stage, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland, so they are all in 100 per cent, with a few more players that are virtually there.

“I’m told Tyrrell Hatton is not 100 per cent, if he’s not in on Sunday, so many things must have happened that it would be something strange. So, he’s virtually there and Matt Fitzpatrick is virtually there and Lee (Westwood) is right up there as well.

“But there are a number of players who can push their way into the team and a lot of points to play for this week. We wanted a bit of drama at the end and a bit of excitement, so yeah, it’s going to be an interesting week.”
Billy Horschel: “As I said (last time I played here) two years ago, I grew up watching this event on TV. It was the first week we were out of school and European Tour comes on early, so I was up early watching it and absolutely loved what I saw on TV from the course to the crowds and just the history of the event.

“I’ve always wanted to get over here and I was planning on getting over earlier than 2019, but it just didn’t happen and when I came here in 2019, it was everything it lived up to be and more. It was just a blast. I’m looking forward to another great week.

“Knowing no American was won the Race to Dubai, it would be cool to do that. Also being a FedEx Cup Champion, I would love to be able to do that. I have to play well here this week and play well in two weeks, three weeks when I play Dunhill and at the end of the year at the DP World.”

Press Release by European Tour Communications

PGA Tour

Previewing the PGA BMW Championship with Fleetwood

Q. Just describe how big a tournament this is for English players?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Home crowd, I think Wentworth has always had an amazing atmosphere. It’s Europe’s stand-out event and I think for us being from the U.K., being from England, just another opportunity to have such a home crowd on your side everything and. I’ve always loved playing here and playing in front of crowds and having moments that get the crowd fired up, especially at this time, as well, as things are starting to come back and sporting occasions are getting more and more people it’s exciting to be back playing in front of everyone.

Q. Give us a sense how much the players miss crowds, especially in event?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, you’ve got guys that have just got on TOUR and have played for nearly two years without people and they have had not had some of the amazing experiences that you can have. Sport in general, crowds are such a huge part of it, the ebbs and flows, the riding the wave or having people to pick you up and carry you over the line or push you forward. So managing those tough moments where you know there’s thousands of people that are feeling it with you. I think it is a big part of sport and just extra element, extra motivation, it’s great.

Q. Your 10th start here. What memories do you have?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I was excited, Flagship Event, one of those events that you always watch. I think the list of winners, it’s always been such an amazing field of players, really, and the list of winners is amazing and it’s one of them trophies that you want to be on, and not on, it not been that close, either, but I’ll keep trying.

There’s a lot of events that being a golf fan as a kid and growing up that you always watched and you always sort of soaked up the atmosphere, even on TV, and it’s easy to take it for granted. Like you said, it’s my 10th time playing, so it’s easy for it to become the norm but you must always appreciate the fact that it’s a huge event and enjoy it.

Game still needs to improve. Last week hit a lot of good golf shots. It was great to be up at the right end of the leaderboard and have a chance and be in contention. I hit a couple of wrong shots at the wrong time and didn’t quite get over the line. I think just whether I finish second, first, third, 30th, it didn’t sort of change the things that I need to improve on to get back to where I want to be and push on further. So the game, obviously it’s good. I had a chance of winning. You have to realise how well you did play together but I know there’s still improvements, there’s still things that I can improve in my game and improve my confidence and I’ll still keep doing that.

But I’ll take the confidence last week when I felt at certain times when I hit certain shots and pulled the shots off and the good things that I did do down the stretch and take that into this week. I’m obviously moving in the right direction and keep going better and see where we go.

Q. Do you feel it’s close?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, a shot here or there and I win last week. You’ve won a Tour event, you’re playing well. You’re doing really, really well. Like I say, look at it on a big scale know there’s things that I want to do better and that I’m working towards but for sure my game is good enough to compete in the events at the moment and I have to, that’s what I have to do. You know, keep working, go out there and hopefully play, perform how I’m practising, take that on to the course and get the results.

It’s there. Game is obviously there. Like if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to be in that position last week. I’ve got to make sure that I keep telling myself that and stay positive whilst keeping improving and there’s never a bad week to play well or turn it on.

And the run of events coming up, just to finish the year is massive with The Ryder Cup in there as well which is obviously a very special week and hopefully keep going and do my bit.

Q. One of the highlights, 2015, fourth hole?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: That was a good shot, back left pin, 7-iron, spun it in the hole. I think it’s amazing to have your little moment in events and I think always do. You always remember like something that you’ve done at an event but something like Wentworth that you see some of the highlights over the years and people show the highlight reels of Top-10 shots or something in the event and I think it’s cool to have one of them and it’s my only ever albatross and it’s a special place to do it. I think having something like that just your little piece of tournament history or something that will be shown all the time is very cool. It’s very special, and something that people always want to talk about which is great.

Interview from Asap Sports

PGA Tour

Jon Rahm: “If the putter gets a little hot, you’re going to put some good low scores..”

Q. Talk about the round of golf; it seemed like the course was very gettable with the soft greens today.

JON RAHM: It was. It’s a lengthy golf course. You’re going to have a lot of long irons into some of the holes. If you can put it in the fairway when it’s as soft as it is, you can be aggressive. Had a great ball-striking day and made a couple of good putts early on and had it going early and continued the mojo throughout the day.

I think not huge numbers of bogeys can happen easily. Rough is thick, long holes, you can make a bad swing and have a tough one for par like, for example, Tony did on 13. It’s not like he really missed a shot, but he had pretty much an impossible up-and-down. If you manage it well and hit it as well as I did today, you can post a low one.

Q. Tell me about how you approach this type of event when you’re playing with Tony who’s ahead of you in the FedExCup standings and Cameron is right behind you but you’re also playing against 67 other guys in the field. Do you look at that this early?

JON RAHM: No. I pretty much know if I win I’ll be going No. 1 to next week, so that’s the goal. I’m not thinking about points or anything. I’m just trying to hit the best shot I can and move on to the next one.

Q. Last week being in contention, coming here, the Monday finish, everything that comes with leading a golf tournament is exhausting. How are you, and how do you keep your energy up but you still have lots of golf to play?

JON RAHM: Luckily I had a month off, so it helps. Those guys that went to the Olympics and played Memphis and played more events than me may be a little bit more tired, but really that shouldn’t be an excuse in my case. Just rest and recovery, knowing what to do properly.

On Tuesday when I came to the course I didn’t do too much. I didn’t even venture out on the golf course because I knew it was a tough walk. I just hit some balls, a little bit of putting and chipping and went home.

On days like that, Monday afternoon, Tuesday, what I really do, and I really, really prioritize, is hydration. When you know you’re going to have weeks like last week, humid this week and humid next week, if you get dehydrated in the middle it’s going to affect you coming the next few weeks. What I’m doing yesterday and today and tomorrow and every single day and this afternoon is going to help me be able to stay in good form, so I think that’s the most important key. Eating enough calories and drinking enough, as well.

Rahm laughs off his finish from last week

Q. You had a disappointing finish last week and yet you come right out here, bang, right up at the top. What does it say about your ability to do that?

JON RAHM: I must say, for all those Ted Lasso fans out there, be a goldfish. (Laughter).

If you haven’t seen the show, you’ve just got to check it out. I feel like almost everybody knows. Have you seen the show?

Q. I have not.

JON RAHM: It’s basically happiest animal in the world is a goldfish. You know why? He’s got a 10-second memory. Played great golf last week, just a couple bad swings down the stretch, and that’s the most important thing to remember.

Q. Who’s the best goldfish out here?

JON RAHM: Oh, without a doubt Dustin Johnson. He has the ability to forget unfortunate moments better than anyone else.

Q. When you look back to your scores from I would say Memorial on, what are you doing in practice? Are you maintaining? What do you do? It’s been a nice run of no real dips.

JON RAHM: Just always trying to get better. That’s all I can say. I think the bigger thing has been the putter. I found a putter that really works for me that I’m comfortable with. I would say ball striking is probably not that different before and after Memorial, but my putting stats are guaranteed to be a lot better, and that’s the key difference. When you’re hitting it as good as I have the last few months, giving myself plenty of opportunities, if the putter gets a little hot, you’re going to put some good low scores.

Q. Have you ever been surprised by a bad round?

JON RAHM: No. I mean, it happens. It is what it is.

Q. It happens, but what surprises you more, a really good one or a really bad one?

JON RAHM: Neither surprises me. You want to play good, but sometimes it doesn’t happen.

Interview Transcript from

PGA Tour

Rory McIlory: “It’s a cool venue, and I think everyone is excited for it this week”

DOUG MILNE: We’d like to welcome Rory McIlroy, 2012 BMW Championship winner. Thanks for joining us. Coming into the week inside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings, world No. 16, making your 11th start at the BMW Championship. Just some thoughts on Caves Valley. You’ve had a chance to see the course and kind of your take on how the week is setting up so far.

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, first look at Caves today. It’s a big ballpark, can certainly let it rip out here, hit a lot of drivers. I think there’s been a lot of rain in the Baltimore area, so it’s pretty soft, so the ball is not really going anywhere when it hits, which is good. It makes the course play nice and long, which I like.

Yeah, it’s a good track, good test. I have a few friends that are members here, and they’ve told me all about it and rave about the place. I can see what they’re talking about. It’s a cool venue, and I think everyone is excited for it this week.

DOUG MILNE: Just a couple thoughts on how you’re feeling with your game coming into the week. You obviously picked up your 19th win earlier in the season in Charlotte. Just coming into the week, kind of assess the state of your game.

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think I feel like a lot of guys feel right now, a little jaded, a little tired. End of the season, there’s been a lot of golf. Yeah, so a lot of travel.

So yeah, I’m just sort of getting through it, to be honest. I’m going day by day and just trying to get through it as best I can and try to make it to next week. After that, two weeks off before the Ryder Cup.

Yeah, just taking it day by day. The game feels pretty good, okay. Energy levels are somewhat sort of trying to dig deep at this point, but yeah, try and keep going and try and put in a good finish this week to make sure I’m in Atlanta next week.

Q. I think if you go back to last year, this is the sixth or seventh course on TOUR that you had not seen. What’s that like compared with the stuff you go back to week after week? What’s the difference?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think there’s pros and cons to each. I think sometimes when you get to a new course you don’t have the memories of hitting it in places that you shouldn’t and maybe having that in your mind somewhat. But then you go to some courses that you like and you play well on and you’ve got great memories, like Quail Hollow for example this year for me, and you can play well on them.

Mcllory believes it’s better to play on unfamiliar courses

I seem to — for the most part seem to do well on golf courses that I haven’t seen before, and especially at a golf course like this. It’s big, it’s right in front of you. There’s tons of definition. There’s not many blind shots.

Yeah, I don’t — I certainly don’t think guys are going to struggle this week because we haven’t seen this golf course.

Q. Tony when he won on Monday seemed like a very popular win. Why?

RORY MCILROY: He’s such a good guy. I’ve known Tony for over 20 years. He comes from a great family. He’s a wonderful person. Obviously he hadn’t won in a while, but he never complained. He just sticks his head down, goes about his business.

It was a really popular win in the locker room. I think Cam Smith is obviously a great guy, as well, and I think that would have been received really well, especially with how close he’s been over the last few weeks, but I think everyone was pulling for Tony, and it was a real popular win.

Q. Just wondering your impressions of Baltimore in general. Not sure if you’ve been able to see much of the town or where you’re staying, but curious what your thoughts are there.

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I saw the airport for about 10 minutes yesterday and then I drove straight here and I’m staying on property, so I don’t — I can’t really give you much of an answer on that one.

I can tell you that Caves Valley is beautiful and where we are this week, but haven’t — I’ve never been to Baltimore before, and I haven’t made it downtown yet this week. Hopefully at some point I will.

Family is important

Q. There’s a young girl in your life about to have a birthday. I was wondering, looking back on the 12 months since Poppy was born, how has life changed?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean, it’s changed a lot. I want to spend a lot more time at home. I wanted to get home even in between these two events, so I flew down from New York Monday night so I could get a night in my own bed Monday, spend a few hours with her yesterday, a few hours with her and Erica, and then I flew up here yesterday afternoon. Yeah, any chance I get to get home, especially at this point in the season when we’ve been away so much, I’m going to take it.

Yeah, you have to manage your time a little better and you have to be a little more efficient with what you do. I think obviously it’s a big adjustment for anyone, but it’s been great. It’s the most fulfilling thing I think you’ll ever do in your life, and nothing can replace that feeling.

Q. Can I ask you about one other young lady, your reaction to Leona Maguire getting picked for the Solheim Cup, first Irish girl, as you know, and just the impact for Irish women’s golf in general.

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I saw the news yesterday that Leona is on the Solheim Cup team. I think it’s wonderful. I got to spend a little bit of time with her in Tokyo. I think, as well, like from back home, Leona is — both the girls but especially Leona was sort of earmarked for success for a long time, sort of child prodigy coming up. She sort of went through all the ranks, Curtis Cup and now into the Solheim Cup, and she’s been putting some really good scores together, obviously shooting that great round the last day at the Evian.

So yeah, she’s been playing well. I think her selection is well deserved, and it’s just another stepping-stone in the right direction for her. It’s a great achievement, and yeah, I certainly don’t think this is — I think she’s just getting started.

Q. When it comes to late summer, kind of dog days like you were talking about, what is the most tiring or monotonous part of the week-to-week preparation?

RORY MCILROY: I don’t know. I think just the — I mean, this morning, I was tired. Look, we all had a long week last week, as well, but even just summoning up the effort to get out of bed and go get to your 7:20 pro-am tee time, it look a little more effort today than it usually does.

But yeah, just everything. It’s a lot of golf. It’s hard to feel fresh at this time in the season. It all just sort of catches up with you. I don’t know if I could pinpoint one particular thing. It’s just sort of everything blended together.

Q. Is there one particular thing you’re looking forward to once you do get a break?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean, just not traveling for a little bit. I’m going to take a bit of time off after the Ryder Cup, and that’ll be nice.

It’s been a — since we came back after the sort of COVID halt, I guess, when we came back in Colonial last year, I think this is my 33rd event since then. Next week will be 34 and then Ryder Cup 35. So all that in a space of 15 months, it’s a lot of golf. It’s probably too much for me. I’ve played more than I probably should have and feel like it’s just sort of all caught up with me.

Q. You were on the range for like ages yesterday working really hard. Just curious what those practice sessions look like and what you’re working on.

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, so I needed to try to get into a new 3-wood and into a new driver. I threw my 3-wood onto the New Jersey Turnpike off the 9th hole yesterday, or on Monday, and so I was without a 3-wood coming here.

The driver I just felt was spinning a little too much last week, so I just needed to get into something that wasn’t spinning as much, and that was really it. So going through a bunch of different heads and shafts as you saw yesterday, and feel like I landed on a good driver and got a pretty good 3-wood, too.

That was the purpose of yesterday’s range session.

Q. You said the 3-wood went where exactly, on the New Jersey turnpike?

RORY MCILROY: I mightn’t have reached the road but I threw it into the trees off the 9th tee at Liberty National, so if someone wants to go get a 3-wood, there’s one in there somewhere.

Q. Just talking about kind of the energy deficit you feel right now, it occurs to me that you learned at Hazeltine and I guess all the way back at Medinah that playing a Ryder Cup in America takes a ton of energy, and it can be incredibly taxing. Is that of concern to you at all?

RORY MCILROY: No, I think having two weeks off after the TOUR Championship is going to be nice. Like I sort of was planning to go over to Wentworth to play the BMW, but it’s just too much travel, and with what’s coming up with Ryder Cup — yeah, that’s a long week, no matter if you’re in Europe or the States, especially I haven’t missed a session yet. So say I play five sessions again, yeah, it’s a really long week. So the two weeks off after the TOUR Championship are going to be well needed, and I’ll go in there nice and refreshed and ready to give it my all.

Q. You’ve played under five captains now. Do you expect one day you would be a captain? I wanted to ask, of the guys you played under, what qualities from each ones would be something that if you were a captain you would use?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think captaincy for me is still hopefully 20 years down the line. But yeah, there’s been — I think every captain I’ve played under has brought their different qualities to the team, whether it be individual man management of some players to sort of like a group leadership type of role.

Yeah, everyone has brought sort of some different stuff. I thought Thomas Bj�rn last time was wonderful. I thought he did a really good job. He was a very — he sort of was quite an emotional leader. He played us this video on the Thursday night before the first session on Friday morning and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. So just stuff like that, and sort of — he put a real — he sort of gave everyone meaning of why they were there and the people that came before us.

It was a really — to put it in that perspective I think was really cool, and it just gives you a real sense of you’re part of this Ryder Cup team but you’re part of something that’s obviously a lot bigger than that, so that was really cool. That’s just one thing that sticks out in my recent memory.

Mcllory vs. Rahm

Q. One person who will be alongside you next month and probably for those next 20 years at Ryder Cups is Jon Rahm. I wonder how you would describe the evolution of his game since he came out here, and then we all kind of always describe him just in the default way as fiery, but is there another perspective that a player might have that’s different than that?

RORY MCILROY: No, I think with Jon what you see is what you get. Hell of a player, though. I mean, just doesn’t seem to miss a shot, is super aggressive all the time, no matter what shot or how he’s played beforehand.

Yeah, he’s fiery. Obviously it means a lot to him. He takes it very seriously. He’s a very — like he knows how good he is, and I think when you’re that good and you know you’re that good, you can — he’s got a great mentality for the game. He’s so consistent. Every time he tees it up, he’s up there.

Yeah, he’s a hell of a player. He’s by far the best player in the world right now, and he shows that every week that he plays. It’s up to the rest of us to up our level a little bit to try to play alongside that.

Q. You guys are both trying to play top golf while being a new dad. Is that a conversation you’ve had at all or not?

RORY MCILROY: No, not really. I think everyone has different ways of dealing with it and parenting, and I’m certainly not going to go to anyone else and tell them how to do it because I’m a novice, too.

But yeah, I think it’s an adjustment for all of us, but it certainly hasn’t seemed to hurt his game at all. So yeah, I think he’s doing just fine.

Q. We were just talking to Tony Finau a little while ago, and he admitted that it’s harder than it looks to speak to reporters after a close loss, like the series of close losses that he had, but he felt like it was the right thing to do. Do you likewise feel responsibility to do that even after a tough disappointment?

RORY MCILROY: I wouldn’t necessarily say I feel a responsibility to do it, but I guess it’s just sort of — it’s the accepted way to do things. It’s sort of what — you’re met off the 18th green and a representative from the TOUR or someone else sort of ushers toward a line of reporters. Sometimes I’ll say no because I just don’t want to, but most of the time I’ll say yes because — yeah, it’s just the done thing. It’s the status quo, I guess. That’s the way I would put it.

Q. Is it harder than it looks? Is it harder for you to do that, for people to do it do you think than they let on?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think if you’ve had a s— day, it’s hard to like go and talk about it, right? If you guys have a bad day and we come to your office and try to talk to you about it, you might want to confide in your family or your friends or you might want to — I think the tough thing is sometimes doing it right there and then. Sort of I think sometimes letting us cool off for 30 minutes or 45 minutes and then try to let us gather our thoughts, I think sometimes that could be a little bit easier.

I don’t think anyone enjoys sort of trying to explain a day where it hasn’t went the right way for them. But I think it’s accepted that when you’re at a certain level it’s just part of the job.

DOUG MILNE: Okay, Rory, we appreciate your time as always. Have a great week.

Interview Transcript by

PGA Tour

It’s the climax of the PGA TOUR season

The next highlight of the 2021 golf season is just around the corner: the climax of the PGA TOUR season. When the US state of Maryland hosts the BMW Championship (26th to 29th August, Caves Valley Golf Club) for the first time this week, only the top 70 pros in the FedExCup ranking will be eligible to tee off. They will be fighting it out for the 30 places at next week’s season finale.

What’s to come:

  • The top 70 players of the PGA TOUR season tee off this week at the BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club (Owing Mills, Baltimore).
  • By the end of the penultimate Playoff event, only 30 pros will remain in the race for the FedExCup.
  • Qualification period for Ryder Cup Team USA ends after the BMW Championship.
  • Hole-in-One Award: An ace on the 17th will win the pro a BMW iX – and one fan a BMW i4.

Baltimore/Munich. The next highlight of the 2021 golf season is just around the corner: the climax of the PGA TOUR season. When the US state of Maryland hosts the BMW Championship (26th to 29th August, Caves Valley Golf Club) for the first time this week, only the top 70 pros in the FedExCup ranking will be eligible to tee off. They will be fighting it out for the 30 places at next week’s season finale. Adding an extra dose of intrigue will be the Ryder Cup (21st to 26th September, Whistling Straits), as the BMW Championship is the final opportunity for the Americans in the field to score qualifying points, as they strive to make it onto captain Steve Stricker’s team.

More facts on the 2021 BMW Championship.


Caves Valley Golf Club, Owing Mills (US state of Maryland).
Championship Course (7,542 yards, par 72).
Venue for the U.S. Senior Open 2002, Palmer Cup 2007, Women’s Golf Championship 2009, LPGA International Crown 2014.

Defending champion.

Jon Rahm (ESP).

OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 30: Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates with the BMW trophy after winning on the first sudden-death playoff hole against Dustin Johnson during the final round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club on August 30, 2020 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Ryder Cup qualification.

The BMW Championship is the last opportunity for Americans to pick up points towards Ryder Cup qualification. Six players qualify automatically for captain Steve Stricker’s team, with a further six called up as wildcards. Qualification for Ryder Cup Team Europe ends after the BMW PGA Championship (Wentworth Club, 9th to 12th September).

The players.

Among those challenging for the prestigious BMW Championship title will be:

  • Defending champion and world number one Jon Rahm (ESP).
  • FedExCup leader Tony Finau (USA).
  • Olympic champion Xander Schauffele (USA).
  • Two-time BMW Championship winner Dustin Johnson (USA).
  • Two-time FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy (NIR).
  • Reigning BMW International Open champion Viktor Hovland (NOR).
  • All the reigning major winners: Hideki Matusyama (JPN, Masters), Phil Mickelson (USA, PGA Championship), Rahm (U.S. Open), Collin Morikawa (USA, The Open).
  • All the players in the top ten in the latest world rankings.


All proceeds from the 2021 BMW Championship will benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation and its mission of awarding full tuition and housing college scholarships to caddies. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has contributed more than $36 million to fund caddie scholarships.This year, a record 1,045 Evans Scholars are enrolled in 19 leading universities nationwide.

Prize money.

9.5 million US dollars.

Hole-in-One Award.

At this year’s BMW Championship, the spectators will have their fingers crossed particularly tightly that the pros will hit an ace. Should a player high a hole-in-one on the 17th hole during one of the tournament rounds, he will be rewarded with a fully-electric BMW iX – and the fans do not go home empty-handed either. Everyone who has entered the “Win the i4” competition goes into a draw to win a fully-electric BMW i4.


The history of the BMW Championship began back in 1899, when the tournament made its debut as the Western Open. This makes it the third-oldest tournament on the PGA TOUR calendar. Only the Open Championship and the U.S. Open have been around longer.

Previous winners and venues of the BMW Championship.

2020     Jon Rahm (ESP)                             Olympia Fields CC (Chicago)

2019      Justin Thomas (USA)                     Medinah CC (Chicago)

2018      Keegan Bradley (USA)                  Aronimink GC (Philadelphia)

2017      Marc Leishman (AUS)                   Conway Farms GC (Chicago)

2016      Dustin Johnson (USA)                   Crooked Stick GC (Indianapolis)

2015      Jason Day (AUS)                            Conway Farms GC (Chicago)

2014      Billy Horschel (USA)                      Cherry Hills CC (Denver)

2013      Zach Johnson (USA)                      Conway Farms GC (Chicago)

2012      Rory McIlroy (NIR)                         Crooked Stick GC (Indianapolis)

2011      Justin Rose (ENG)                          Cog Hill G & CC (Chicago)

2010      Dustin Johnson (USA)                   Cog Hill G & CC (Chicago)

2009     Tiger Woods (USA)                        Cog Hill G & CC (Chicago)

2008     Camilo Villegas (COL)                    Bellerive CC (St. Louis)

2007     Tiger Woods (USA)                        Cog Hill G & CC (Chicago)

PGA Tour

Niall Horan confirmed for BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am

Press Release

Niall Horan, who rose to global fame during his time as a member of boyband One Direction, is the first in a series of A-list celebrities to be confirmed for this year’s BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am, taking place at the prestigious Wentworth Club on Wednesday, September 8.

The Irishman, who has since become a successful solo artist with his band, The Slow Hands, is no stranger to the star-studded Celebrity Pro-Am, the traditional curtain-raiser to the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s third Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.

As a member of Wentworth Club, the 27-year-old is familiar with the challenging West Course. However, the hugely popular event attracts a considerable crowd and performing in front of thousands of fans on the golf course is very different to performing up on stage.

Horan, who plays off a handicap of nine, said: “I’ve sung in front of thousands of people; performed concerts all around the world, but when you hear your name called out on the first tee at Wentworth, and you step out in front of that crowd onto the tee box…it’s nerve wracking! We’ve done okay over the years though – I think we’ve won it twice – and it’s pretty cool getting to play with the pros. 

Niall Horan also states,

“It’s a proper family day out and a great atmosphere before the actual tournament and serious stuff kicks off. The celebrity turn out is amazing. You have all sorts of actors, singers, sports stars and TV personalities. I just love it. It’s my home club and it’s always a great day.”

The tournament itself gets underway on Thursday September 9, when Tyrrell Hatton will return to defend his BMW PGA Championship title. The Ryder Cup star leads a host of home hopefuls aiming to make it three English victories in a row at the Rolex Series event.

Hatton will be joined by fellow Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, as well as the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion Lee Westwood.

The 2019 BMW PGA Championship winner and 2016 Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett will also tee it up at the Surrey venue, as will World Number 22 Matt Fitzpatrick and four-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace.

They will all be hoping to impress in front of the home crowd at Wentworth Club, which will host some of the biggest stars of world golf in the final qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team. Pádraig Harrington and his team will attempt to retain the famous trophy against the United States two weeks later at Whistling Straits, in Wisconsin.

Kit Gartrell, Championship Director of the BMW PGA Championship, said: “The BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am has become a real highlight of the week, offering fans the chance to see some of world golf’s biggest names tee it up alongside stars of the stage, screen and sport. The players receive a wonderful reception from the huge crowds that come to watch. It promises to be another fantastic day.

“With live concerts returning as well, there will be a real festival atmosphere to this year’s BMW PGA Championship. Rock trio Feeder will be performing on the Saturday, and then Global hitmakers Clean Bandit will headline on the Slingsby Show Stage on the Sunday.

“We cannot wait to welcome everyone back to Wentworth to enjoy five days of world-class golf and entertainment in a relaxed and fun environment.”

Tickets for the BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am Day start at £25 for adults (complimentary tickets for children aged 13 and under). Prices for the BMW PGA Championship start at £15 for Tuesday’s practice round. Concessions are available for OAPs and students.

Interview transcript by European Tour Communications