Wentworth field of dreams: BMW PGA Championship winners fuelled by childhood memories

The West Course at Wentworth has hosted the European Tour’s flagship event since the mid-1980s and has a very fond place in the hearts of all European golfers.

Twelve months ago England's Tyrrell Hatton ended the third round of the BMW PGA Championship with a three shot lead and started his Sunday morning by posting a photo his mother had sent him.

In it, five-year-old Tyrrell was beaming, with the Wentworth clubhouse behind him.

By the end of the day, 28-year-old Tyrrell had completed the win.

"It's a dream come true for me," he said. "As that five-year-old, walking around here, obviously I always wanted to be inside the ropes playing when I grew up.

"This is just such a massive event and get over the line and win here is such a special feeling.

"It was definitely a goal in my career to win here. I'm very thankful that I managed to get the job done today. The tournament's got such an amazing history and to be a part of that is extremely special."

Hatton is very far from being the only European golfer to be inspired by the host course - as we'll see below, another eight recent winners have acknowledged that the location and the tournament are close to their hearts.

Let's take a closer look at them and then close with a few players from this week's field who could emulate them.

2009 - Paul Casey

"It's quite strange actually thinking that I used to stand here listening to the sound of a ball go off the club and whistle past your head. Now I'm standing on the other side of the ropes.

"Some impressive names on this trophy. It's nice to be part of that history. I don't know when the first time I would have turned up to watch this tournament would have been. I'm going to guess probably around the time Mr. Faldo won back in 1989, or maybe Ian Woosnam in 1988, maybe even Langer in 1987. Great memories."

2010 - Simon Khan

"It was elation to get the call on Monday and get in the tournament. It would have been hard not to play this week. I just the place, I really love coming here. This tournament is the reason I started playing golf.

"I used to come to the Match Play as well. That was a special event. Watching Seve here, he won it in consecutive years, '84 and '85 I think, and those are my first memories of going to a golf tournament. No disrespect, Gants Hill where I played is a lovely place in Chingford, but this was always a world away."

2011 and 2012 - Luke Donald

"I grew up just down the road. I watched this tournament many times as a kid so this is a special event for me, it means a lot.

"I remember walking around and the first-ever shot I watched was actually an American, Chip Beck. A long time ago. I was standing by the 13th green and was probably eight or nine years old. Suddenly this ball comes in, flies to about two feet, and I'm thinking, wow, how good are these guys. He missed that putt though.

"Little memories like that, seeing Ernie when I was a little bit older, just when he was just starting out. Faldo, even Seve a little bit here and there. Yesterday I felt like Seve would have been proud of me. Some of the positions I was in, I've seen footage of him in similar positions."

2013 - Matteo Manassero

"I wanted to win this since the beginning. The players that stand out are two in particular: Seve and Costantino Rocca. Costantino was the first Italian guy that won here and Seve has always been my idol, he had a lot of success here. Victory here means a lot for me."

2014 - Rory McIlroy

"I've got great memories of the place from coming and watching the World Match Play in the early 2000s as a kid."

2016 - Chris Wood

"I came here to watch this event when I was 12, 13, 14 with my dad. I remember following players down the 18th hole and just how much I wanted to play in the tournament."

2018 - Francesco Molinari

"I was at home watching Costantino win. It was still when it was finishing on a Monday. I got back from school and just watched the finish on TV. I clearly remember the last few holes. There must be something around here with Italians."

2019 - Danny Willett

"I've watched this tournament for a lot of years, through the Match Play and this event. It's always nice to compete on home soil. Just great vibes, great memories."

Next in line?

Veteran Justin Rose, maybe? He's twice finished second and said back in 2017: "Seeing all the excited faces of autograph hunters is always a good moment for me and a realisation of how far I've come because that was me 25 years ago, hoping the stars would stop and sign something. It makes it a real bucket-list tournament. It really would complete the circle if I were to win."

Might American Billy Horschel be an unlikely addition to the list? The West Ham United fan said ahead of finishing tied fourth last year: "This event has always had a soft spot in my heart. I remember Colin Montgomerie winning it three years in a row. Just some memorable shots, memorable holes. Alex Noren. Matteo Manassero. There's a lot of memories and it's even better in person than it was on TV."

Or how about Aaron Rai? His dad took him to the course when he was young and he spent lots of time watching Ernie Els on the putting green. He made a fast start last year and has just won his PGA Tour card.

READ MORE: Next step for FedEx Cup hero Patrick Cantlay: a first Major title

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