ONE of the best fields in the long history of the BMW PGA Championship will converge upon Wentworth Club this week for the fourth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai, with huge crowds expected to watch the first counting tournament in the race to qualify for the 2020 European Ryder Cup team.

Defending champion Francesco Molinari headlines the star-studded line-up alongside four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, home favourites Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose, BMW PGA Championship debutant Jon Rahm of Spain and reigning Open champion Shane Lowry.

This year’s change of date, from the traditional May slot to mid-September, means American stars Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Andrew Putman and Patrick Reed have added the event to their 2019 schedules and will all make their BMW PGA Championship debuts from tomorrow to Sunday.

Ten of the 12 European heroes from last year’s Ryder Cup triumph at Le Golf National will tee it up at Wentworth, with Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, Fleetwood, McIlroy, Molinari, Alex Noren, Ian Poulter, Rahm, Rose and Henrik Stenson all re-uniting at the Surrey venue, which is regarded as the birthplace of golf’s greatest team event.

The English fans will have plenty of home stars to cheer on during the week, with multiple European Tour winners Matt Fitzpatrick, Eddie Pepperell, Andy Sullivan, Matt Wallace, Danny Willett and Chris Wood adding to the raft of local favourites in the field.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, whose final-day dual at Wentworth in 2011, competing for the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, went down as one of the greatest finales in the history of the BMW PGA Championship, will also be joined in the field by fellow former World No. 1s Martin Kaymer and Ernie Els.

Thomas Pieters and Rafa Cabrera Bello – who both made superb debuts as team-mates at The 2016 Ryder Cup – will also play, while current Race to Dubai number two Bernd Wiesberger will be targeting a third victory of 2019.

The 2020 Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington will tee it up as the points race to qualify for his European team begins, joined by last year’s winning Captain Thomas Bjørn and the captain for Europe’s famous Miracle at Medinah victory in 2012, José María Olazábal.

Miguel Angel Jiménez will bring his unmistakable flair to the fairways of Wentworth for the first time since 2016, while former European Tour No. 1 Robert Karlsson also plays – the pair have 54 appearances in this event between them.