The tournament is limited to only 12 players, of which the top four seeds receive a first-round bye. Last years winner, Ian Woosnam, is back to defend the title he won over Padraig Harrington, whos coming off his win at the recent Dunhill Links Championship.
Though only one American, Fred Funk, is in the field, it nonetheless boasts no less than five of the worlds top-10 ranked players. Along with No. 6 Harrington is South Africas dynamic duo of Ernie Els (3) and Retief Goosen (4), Spains Sergio Garcia (6) and Fijian Vijay Singh (8).
Others in the 12-man field include Nick Faldo, two-time winner on the European Tour Justin Rose, and Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie, who won this event in 1999. New Zealands Michael Campbell and Canadas Mike Weir round out the competitors.
Funk, who has posted four second-place finishes in the past couple of months, is one of the hottest players on either tour and certainly one of the most entertaining to watch.
The brainchild of IMG (International Management Group) founder Mark McCormack, the event has been played every year since its inception in 1964 at the Wentworth Clubs famed West Course.
Goosen holds a slight lead over Els and Harrington for the European Order of Merit, though a victory by either of the two would vault them into first place. Harrington made it a three-man race after his $808,000 first-place prize at the Dunhill Links.
European Tour Statistical Preview