Padraig Harrington can’t wait to attack new-look Wentworth in next month’s BMW PGA Championship.
The Dubliner hasn’t played in the European Tour’s flagship event for the past two years because he hates putting on the West Course’s bumpy greens in May.
But after playing the redesigned course for sponsors Wilson yesterday, Harrington believes he can make a triumphant return from May 20-23.
Delighted with the €7.5m overhaul to the course and all 18 greens, Harrington said: “I’m really excited by it and I think it suits me - I had 11 single putts today!
“I was told my a few guys that it was a more substantial golf course and I really feel that they have done a tremendous job
“The new greens mean the tournament director has the freedom to adapt the set up of the course to the conditions of the week. That’s the sign of a good golf course.
“I’m looking back to coming back here for the PGA next month and putting my name on that trophy one of these days. It will be a really good challenge for me because I really liked what I saw today.”
Ernie Els’ design team was called in last year to replace the springy poa annua greens with super-smooth colonial bent-grass surfaces.
But they ended up closing the course for a year and carrying out major surgery to holes like the eighth and the 18th, which are protected by terrifying water hazards.
Harrington was massively impressed by what he saw and believes he can end Ireland’s 52-year wait for a winner of the prestigious BMW PGA.
After a five-hour practice round, he said: “I really liked it. I was very impressed. The changes to the 18th are fantastic and the eighth is probably going to be the toughest hole on the course now.
“Most of the green shapes have stayed the same but the bunkers are a lot deeper and there are more defined pin positions on the greens.
“If you are hitting the fairways, the new pins won’t make things any tougher. But it will be a different story if you are spraying the ball around.
“It would be of benefit to the better players and the straighter hitters and I really like the way they have manicured the grass between the trees.
“It reminds me of the best courses in the world, like Valderrama and Augusta. It’s just so manicured all round - and it’s a more exciting golf course.”