Play suspended in BMW PGA at Wentworth as golf world expresses sadness over death of The Queen

Play in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth was immediately suspended following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the first round will not resume on Friday.

Flags are flown at half-mast on the Wentworth clubhouse following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the BMW PGA Championship. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.
Flags are flown at half-mast on the Wentworth clubhouse following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the BMW PGA Championship. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.

Thirty players were still out on the East Course at the Surrey venue when officials sounded hooters to call the action to a halt in the $8 million Rolex Series event.

Bob MacIntyre was playing the 18th when the decision was made to stop play out of a mark of respect, revealing that he hadn’t any inclination of what had actually happened.

“Not a clue,” said the Oban man. “I actually thought it was a storm delay. I’d hit my fifth shot into 18, the horn went, I went up and marked it, putting two tees in thinking it was a storm.

Luke Donald leaves the 18th green at Wentworth following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during day one of the BMW PGA Championship. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

“We were allowed to finish as we were on the 18th hole, but I didn’t know what was going on. It’s just a shame what has happened. It’s just obviously sad to see. No-one in even my parents’ lifetime has seen anything like this happen.”

Eddie Pepperell was another of the players out on the course when play was suspended. Like MacIntyre, the Englishman was completely unaware of what had happened.

“It’s something that has never happened and it’s bizarre, isn’t it?” he said. “Obviously we all assumed it was lightning and we were looking up and thought it had looked worse out there.

“But then one of the referees came over and told us. He said that we could finish the hole or you don’t have to but we probably wouldn’t be here tomorrow, so I actually did hit my next shot as the weather might be different in a couple of days’ time and I had quite a tough shot.

“Someone was telling me they’d had a message a few hours ago (about The Queen’s situation) but I didn’t know anything. Yeah, it does put it into perspective, doesn’t it?”

A decision was being made about whether or not the DP World Tour’s flagship event could resume on Saturday.

“I honestly haven’t a clue,” said Pepperell of that possibility. “This is new territory for everyone involved. Obviously coming back on Saturday is what we’d all like, but, equally, it is going to be up to the powers-that-be and the sentiment.”

Tributes flooded in from the golf world, led by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Captain Peter Forster said: “We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty.

“Following her accession in 1952, Her late Majesty graciously accepted the Patronage of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as has been the custom of reigning Monarchs since HM King William IV in 1834.

“Although not a golfer, Her late Majesty’s 70-year patronage of the Club was a great honour for its members. We hold His Majesty The King and all The Royal Family in our thoughts at this time of mourning.”

The Queen was a patron of the Professional Golfers' Association and chief executive Robert Maxfield paid tribute, saying in a statement: "On behalf of the members and staff of The PGA, I would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family. We are immensely proud that Her Majesty The Queen was a Patron of The Association."

Thomas Bjorn, Europe’s winning Ryder Cup captain in France in 2018, also paid a warm tribute. “Living most of my adult life in England, I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” said the Dane. “An inspiration to so many all over the world. Rest in peace, Your Majesty.”

Tommy Fleetwood, who shared the clubhouse lead with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan and Norwegian Viktor Hovland, also posted a tribute on social media. He said: “Rest in peace Your Majesty, you will be forever in our hearts. God save The King.”

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