Golf pays fitting tribute to The Queen after resumption of BMW PGA at Wentworth
A decision to resume the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday morning hadn’t been taken lightly after play was immediately suspended on Thursday evening following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Friday’s action had been totally scrapped.
As discussions took place with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on Friday, it had been a spanner in the works when football authorities around the UK called off all matches planned for the weekend.
But, helped by the fact that some other sporting events, notably a Test match between England and South Africa at The Oval, which is just over 25 miles from Wentworth, were on the same page, the action restarted at 6.40am at the leafy Surrey venue.
As players teed off at the start of their second round in the DP World Tour’s flagship event, pictures of Her Majesty were shown on a large screen beside the first tee along with tributes from players.
At 9.50pm - ten minutes before the start of the proclamation of King Charles III - the course fell quiet as a two-minute silence was observed and it felt spine-chilling.
Standing on the practice putting green, Keith Pelley, the chief executive, was joined by fellow DP World Tour senior officials and numerous staff members, as well as some players and caddies.
Not far away, another line was formed across the first fairway, at the centre of which was a Union Jack being held as proud as punch.
The end of the sombre silence was greeted by warm applause around the first tee before everyone did their own thing for the rest of the day.
All wearing black ribbons, the players got back to business on the course while, initially at least, the spectators were split in terms of what they did at a venue close to Windsor Castle and also not far from Buckingham Palace.
The majority, it must be said, headed out onto the course to enjoy the chance to see the likes of Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton in the morning before Rory McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Billy Horschel headed out in the afternoon.
Others, meanwhile, set up camp in front of the Slingsby Show Stage in the Tented Village to watch that proclamation on the main screen while also keeping an eye on the golf at the same time on smaller screens.
All in all, it was job done by golf in paying its respect in a right and proper way but also allowing a big sporting event to continue, which, given her love for horse racing in particular and always enjoying her visits to Ascot just up the road from Wentworth, is exactly what you feel Her Majesty would have wanted.
“Yesterday we had a number of conversations with DCMS and saw the guidance that came from the Palace,” Pelley told Sky Sports.
"Most of the conversations that I had were with the England and Wales Cricket Board and we both felt that bringing people together at this particular time, having both had the honour and respect of the day of cancellation on Friday, was the right decision and the right thing to do.
“I have heard from so many players that want to honour Her Majesty and felt that playing was the right way to do it.''
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