WENTWORTH (England) • Rory McIlroy makes his first appearance on European soil this year at this week's BMW PGA Championship hoping to rediscover his old sparkle after a chastening experience at the Masters where a final-round 74 left him in a tie for fifth.
Despite admitting to having a weird relationship with the Wentworth course in Surrey, England, the 29-year-old and four-time Major winner believes the new changes will benefit him.
He had carded a sublime 66 in his final round to win in 2014 but has struggled after that."I think I had a top five back in 2009 but it's been a place of high frustration for me so I'm looking forward to going back and trying to solve the puzzle again," he said last month. "At least I do have good memories there."
The former world No. 1 started the European Tour season with top-three finishes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He said: "I haven't played there (Wentworth) in a couple of years (he had a rib injury last year) but, from what I've seen, with the new grass that they've put in, it looks a much better golf course, a much more playable golf course."
The world No. 8 is the major drawcard in a field that includes defending champion Alex Noren of Sweden and last year's Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood.
Further star power for the US$7 million (S$9.4 million) event was added through the presence of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and One Direction star Niall Horan, who played in yesterday's pro-am.
Noren, who closed with a 62 after beginning the day seven strokes off the lead to win last year, said: "It's by far the biggest tournament I've won, and it would be unreal to defend it."
BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Day 1: StarHub Ch204, 5pm