BMW PGA Championship gets the Rolex Series underway this week

The European Tour's flagship event takes place at Wentworth

BMW PGA Championship gets the Rolex Series underway this week

The 18th green at Wentworth. Image: ©INPHO/Getty Images

The BMW PGA Championship begins at Wentworth this week as the European Tour's flagship event draws some of the game's finest to the Surrey course.  

A host of the world's top players, including The Open champion Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, are in the field as the first event of the new Rolex Series gets underway. 

The Rolex Series was the brainchild of European Tour CEO Keith Pelley as he looks to develop the Tour's ability to compete with the PGA's FedExCup competition in the United States.

The European version sees the BMW PGA Championship, French Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open, Italian Open, Turkish Airlines Open, Nedbank Golf Challenge and World Tour Championship as the events which make up the new series.

Each tournament has a guaranteed prize-pool of $7 million which is comparable to the biggest events on the PGA Tour. 

There is strong Irish interest in this week's field with Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Michael Hoey, Damian McGrane, Neil O'Briain, Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley all teeing off.

It will be Harrington's first event since March after he took time off to undergo surgery on his neck. He played a practice round recently in Royal Birkdale - the scene of his famous 2008 Open Championship victory.

The tournament will be held at the same course later this year as the Irishman looks for his fourth major title.