With the return to the Wentworth Club for the 20th consecutive year, it also marks the return of world No. 2 Ernie Els, who last played at the Dubai Desert Classic back in March. He was scheduled to play at last week's Deutsche Bank Open, won by Padraig Harrington, but withdrew at the last minute due to an ongoing wrist injury.
The Big Easy deemed his wrist would be ready to go come Thursday, in his effort to finally claim the top honor in this event. He has thrice been the bridesmaid, losing out to Jos Maria Olazbal in '94, Costantino Rocca in '96 and Ian Woosnam in '97.
Harrington himself will unfortunately not be teeing it up this week - ruining any chance of back-to-back victories - stating the course at Wentworth doesn't necessarily fit his game and that he also needs time to focus on game improvement that can come only through practice.
Joining Els, however, is an elite field comprised of the old guards of the tour and a promising wave of young talent that is already making good on their undeniable potential.
Four-time champion Nick Faldo, a pair of three-time champions in Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer and 1994 event winner Olazabal join world No. 5 Retief Goosen and Els in trying to keep the young guns in check.
But that is getting ever more difficult with the likes of Paul Casey, who took the checkered flag two week's ago at the Benson and Hedges, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman and Nick Dougherty.
Rose, who had his breakout year in 2002, has yet to reach the winner's circle thus far in 2003 but has an impressive four top-10s in only eight events. He finished strong last week, shooting 67-65 on the weekend to close in a tie for fifth with Casey, just three strokes back from the playoff.
Scott, twice a winner last year, made headlines for his wonderful semi-final duel with Tiger Woods at this year's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in which Tiger went on to win.
Also included in the field are 2003 tour winners Arjun Atwal, Robert-Jan Derksen, Bradley Dredge, Kenneth Ferrie, Darren Fichardt, Mark Foster, Mathias Grnberg and two-time champion Fredrik Jacobson.
Defending champion Anders Hansen will indeed return to the site of his first and only European Tour title. Last year he became the first player to make the Volvo PGA Championship his maiden victory on The European Tour. His 269 total also set the mark for lowest score in the tournament's illustrious history.