Wentworth going back to original design, says tour chief

Sun May 29, 2016 9:05am EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - The bulldozers will arrive at Wentworth next month as organizers begin their bid to restore the BMW PGA Championship venue to its former glory, European Tour supremo Keith Pelley said on Sunday.

The iconic layout on the outskirts of London was originally designed by Harry Colt in 1926 but has undergone a complete facelift from four-times major champion Ernie Els in the last decade.

The changes have not met with unanimous approval and top players such as Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington chose to give the tour's flagship event a miss this year for a variety of reasons.

"There are a number of players that aren't here because they don't want to play this golf course," Pelley told reporters.

"I'm confident ...that what (owners) Reignwood have planned will bring this back to the Harry Colt design and the Harry Colt magic that once made this the place where players want to play.

"The bulldozers are starting to come in, I think it's a week Tuesday, so this is something that is of the highest priority for them," said tour chief executive Pelley without elaborating on the planned alterations.

Among the sweeping changes made by South African Els, who has a house on the estate, was a revamp of the par-five 18th hole.

Pelley said the intention now was to create "a world-class golf course".   Continued...

Britain Golf - BMW PGA Championship - Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England - 28/5/16. Australia's Scott Hend putting on the 18th green during the third round. Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic