Virginia Water, England
Volvo hasn’t received much value for its money out of the PGA European Tour’s PGA Championship in the past four years. It used to be that names such as Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and even Arnold Palmer would win this tournament with regularity. The past four winners have read like a journeyman’s roster.
At least this year the sponsor got a fairytale, rags-to-riches story to end its 17-year commitment to the event.
Scotland’s Scott Drummond added his name to Ignacio Garrido (2003), Anders Hansen (2002) and Andrew Oldcorn (2001) as a quartet of the most unlikely players to win the Tour’s flagship event.
Drummond’s final-round, 8-under-par 64 gave him a 19-under 269 total, tying the tournament record set by Hansen two years ago and lifting him to a two-shot victory over Angel Cabrera of Argentina.
The 30-year-old Englishman earned the first-place check of 625,000 euros (approximately $765,000), exactly 570,853 euros ($698,000) more than he’s earned in his entire European Tour career. Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman finished third at 16-under 272, and Hansen, Darren Clarke and Nick Faldo were fourth at 273.
“I can’t really comprehend it at the moment,” Drummond said. “I stayed focused out there and I wasn’t thinking about winning. I wasn’t thinking about paychecks. I just got on with my game and it’s a dream. I can’t believe it.”
At least Garrido and Co. had some pedigree when they won. Drummond can’t even claim that. His triumph is the most shocking victory in PGA European Tour history, even bigger than Ben Curtis’ British Open victory last year.
Curtis was at least inside the top 400 in the world (No. 396) when he won; Drummond started the week ranked No. 435.
Drummond was posted as a 500-1 outsider to take the title. Those odds were so good that he and his sports psychologist Jeff Pettitt each bet £10 ($18) on him winning the title.
Drummond never had seen Wentworth Club’s West Course until this tournament. He wasn’t even supposed to play. He gained entry into the tournament when Greg Owen withdrew with an injury. Drummond thus became the first player since Arnold Palmer in 1975 to win the tournament in his debut.
The former England amateur international finished seventh on last year’s Challenge Tour to gain his European Tour card for this season.
He was guaranteed a fairly full schedule this year, but now is exempt on the European Tour through 2009. He also will play in the British Open (he’s exempt through 2006) and World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational.
“I think this is going to change everything – all of the exemptions I’m going to have and the financial aspect,” Drummond said. “Claire (his wife) just had a baby four weeks ago, Kiera.”
Drummond had missed eight cuts in his previous 11 starts, and his 16th-place finish at the Dunhill Championship was his previous best finish of 2004.