Expert picks: BMW PGA Championship


This week the European Tour holds their flagship event at Wentworth GC. Last year, Luke Donald won both the title and the world No. 1 ranking in a playoff over Lee Westwood, and is back this week to defend against a strong field of contenders. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Tough pick between Lee and Luke, but Lee is ready to flex his muscles this week and get redemption from a playoff loss to Donald a year ago.

Group 2: Padraig Harrington: He finished T-6 in 2010, showing he can perform at Wentworth after his major run of 2007-2008. Add to it an eighth place finish at the Masters and a T-15 showing last week at the Byron Nelson and he could be a threat to his fellow Europeans ranked No. 1-3 in the world.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: He finished seventh last month at the Ballantine's Championship and 10th here in 2010.

Group 4: Anders Hansen: The two-time winner of this event (2002, 2007) tied for 18th a year ago. In his last four starts (which includes the Masters and two WGC events) he has not finished worse than T-29.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Luke Donald: The defending champion is a stud in this event.

Group 2: Ben Curtis: Will lead the American charge; he's in great form and finished T-6 here in 2009.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: The Englishman was runner-up in 2009, T-10 in 2010 and has never missed a cut here.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: The next great Dane is a winner this year and ready to break out on a big stage.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Lee Westwood: Last year's runner-up has displayed some fine form already this season.

Group 2: Miguel Angel Jiminez: At 48, still very much in his prime. Must be the stretching routine.

Group 3: Tom Lewis: Hasn't played his best golf lately, but he's a former member at Wentworth.

Group 4: Joel Sjoholm: Georgia State product owns three top-25 finishes already this year.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: Last year's champion isn't as sharp as he was in 2011, but the Englishman is still one of the game's most consistent performers and always plays well at the circuit's flagship event.

Group 2: Paul Lawrie: After being adrift completely since his breakthrough victory at the British Open, the Scot has found his form the last six months and is fresh off a solid week at the Volvo World Match Play where he finished tied for third.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: Although he's still not as explosive as he was earlier in his career, Fisher has been showing signs of life in recent months and could use a good week close to home.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Because it would be the week's best headline: 'Thor thumps BMW PGA field.'

Randall Mell

Group 1: Luke Donald: Defending champion; also has a T-2 and T-3 finish to his name in this event.

Group 2: Miguel Angel Jiminez: Despite back-to-back missed cuts at Wentworth, The Mechanic has gotten a lot of mileage out of this event with a win, runner-up and T-3 finish all in the not-too-distant past.

Group 3: Ross Fisher: Finished runner-up and T-10 in his last three starts at this event.

Group 4: Pablo Martin: Three-time European Tour winner has too much talent not to get something going again.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Luke Donald: No reason to over-think this selection. The defending champion has enjoyed success before and after the redesign at Wentworth.

Group 2: Matteo Manassero: Two starts at the BMW PGA; two top-20 finishes. He's also posted top-10s in four of his last five starts worldwide entering this week.

Group 3: Thongchai Jaidee: In a sea of also-rans, I'll take his 8-for-9 record and four top 25s at Wentworth. In his last nine starts worldwide, he's logged three top-25s (including his last two starts) and missed just one cut.

Group 4: Anders Hansen: The two-time champion of this event has seven top-25s in 12 starts at Wentworth. Arrives on the heels of consecutive top-25s dating back to the Masters.

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Tune in to Golf Channel this Thursday-Sunday from 9AM-12PM ET for live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship.