McIlroy confirms Wentworth defence

Rory McIlroy has committed to the defence of his his BMW PGA Championship title at Wentworth in May.

McIlroy joins Englishman Justin Rose as the first two high-profile players to confirm their attendance at the European Tour’s flasgship event.

Last year, the Northern Irishman overturned a seven-shot deficit with a final-round 66 to clinch a one-stroke victory over Shane Lowry.

The win was an important one for McIlroy, coming as it did after a barren 18-month run, and it helped set the tone for his major-winning heroics later in the season.

“Growing up in Belfast, the BMW PGA Championship always featured high on my list of priorities along with the major championships,” said McIlroy.

“To return to Wentworth as defending champion is a huge honour and I can’t wait to draw on the memories of 2014.”

Rose, meanwhile, has finished runner-up twice at Wentworth, and would love to go one better at an event he used to attend every year as a child.

“Our family lived close to Wentworth and I was always excited each May to attend the event with my dad,” said the 2013 US Open champion.

“The BMW PGA Championship is rightly regarded as the flagship event of the European Tour and it is a privilege to join forces with Rory to bring the event to the attention of the millions of people who daily live and work in Greater London and the visitors who come to such a vibrant city.

“I’ve travelled to and from Heathrow many times over the years and it will be interesting when I return to England to see my image ‘up in lights’ on some of London’s most visible poster sites.”

Rose, along with McIlroy, will be at the forefront of a huge campaign promoting the event around the Greater London area ahead of this year’s tournament.

A European Tour statement read: “To coincide with the announcement that Northern Irishman McIlroy and England’s Rose will compete in this year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in Surrey from May 21-24, the images of the gifted golfers will be prominent on some of the most highly visible sites in London.

“The two players, who are the first confirmed stars to line up in a world-class field for the 2015 event, can be seen around Greater London as part of the on-going agreement between the European Tour and outdoor advertising company, Clear Channel UK, which is an Official Media Partner of the Tour’s flagship event.

“McIlroy and Rose, both major champions and Ryder Cup colleagues, will be prominent on 96-sheet sites on the Cromwell Road in London, close to Earl’s Court Road junction, as well as the imposing Chiswick Towers on the M4 arterial route in and out of the capital.

“The initial phase of activity with Clear Channel will be for two weeks with the next phase of the long-term campaign due to be launched around the time of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in early April to coincide with a second tranche of world-renowned players confirming their attendance at one of the top sporting and social sporting events of the year.”