posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 05:23 PM
The European tour's flagship event, the PGA Championship at Wentworth, has a new sponsor this May - 50 years on from its first-ever staging.
BMW are taking over from fellow car giants, Volvo, backers of the tournament for the past 17 seasons, and are raising prize money from around
2.6million to 2.8million. The initial contract is for four years and George O'Grady, the tour's new executive director said on Tuesday it was his
sincere hope that the Surrey course would remain the venue throughout that period.
Scotland's Scott Drummond, collected around 420,000 when he won last May. This year's champion on May 29 will receive 465,000. BMW become the eighth
sponsor of the championship. Volvo took over in 1987 and grew prize money from 220,000 to 2.5million.
Many of the great names in the tour's history are on the trophy, Nick Faldo, winning a record four times and Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and
Peter Alliss three times each. The last four stagings, however, have produced surprise winners in Andrew Oldcorn, Anders Hansen, Ignacio Garrido and
The event will now be called The BMW Championship, with O'Grady commenting: "We are in a commercial world and we feel that we are gaining outweighs
removing three initials from the title."
The same company are becoming the official car to the European Tour and are already the main sponsors of other events in Germany, Asia and Russia.