Wentworth: Ryder Cup team to boost 2013 tournament

Luke Donald

Wentworth chief executive Julian Small says the 2013 tournament will benefit greatly from featuring all 12 of the winning European Ryder Cup team.

Luke Donald, the winner for the last two years, leads the rest of the team that beat the USA in September.

"This year we are the only professional golf tournament in the whole of England," Small told BBC Surrey.

"That gives us a focus. The field we have is akin to a major championship, in terms of the quality of players."

Small added: "We review after every tournament and say 'what can we do better?'. It is about learning, developing and evolving.

Europe's victorious 2012 Ryder Cup team
The Europe team will be reunited at Wentworth

"This is the player's championship. We have built long-term relationships with the players here at Wentworth and it is a chance to have a great festival and championship."

The announcement comes as another boost to the European Tour's flagship event, which begins on 23 May at the Surrey course.

Attendances at Wentworth have increased by 73% since 1995, with over 95,000 attending over the tournament's four days in 2012.

European Tour professional Anthony Wall, who is based in Camberley, said: "We've got a great field and it should be a cracker.

"You've got pretty much the world's best, bar the odd one or two. I think it will probably be the best tournament yet.

"It feels like another home Open and is another great event to play in. It is something everyone loves to watch and the crowds are very knowledgeable.

"They will probably bunch three or four together at certain times of the day so even if you are there in the afternoon you will still see some of the world's best."

Some minor modifications have been made to the course, which was the subject of a redesign by South African Ernie Els last year, for this year's tournament.

A fairway bunker has been taken out on the sixth hole and run-off area on the 17th has also been modified.

"Ernie sees things and visualises things," Small continued. "I was out there in the autumn with him and our course manager.

"We decided what we wanted to do from looking at the stats from the previous tournament and listening again to the feedback from the players.

"We think both of those twists will add excitement for the spectator and add challenge for the player. Things are really moving along."

The tournament is also making improvements away from the greens and fairways, with a new park and ride scheme being launched as a result of increasing crowds.

Two sites are being introduced, one near Sunningdale for traffic from the west and the other within Windsor Great Park Crown Estate for the east.

Both parks will operate a free shuttle-bus service for spectators to travel to the course.

"It is a function of the great success of the tournament that the crowds have increased by 45% of the last five or six years," said PGA Championship tournament director Jamie Birkmyre.

"It is to ease congestion around the area and within the site itself as it was built some 80 or 90 years ago and not with the volume of spectators and cars which we have today.

"We have been in consultation with Surrey police and the Highways Agency and taken a lot of advice over this.

"We think that this will give our spectators a much better way of getting in and out of the golf course."

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