An escalating legal row between the membership of Wentworth and the Chinese owners of the club may impact on the European Tour, with questions now being raised over the staging of the BMW PGA Championship at the club in May.
Wentworth members have been left furious at plans by the Reignwood group to vastly increase fees to the point of a £100,000 one-off payment and £16,000 per year. The matter is further complicated by the fact the European Tour’s base is at Wentworth.
Reignwood wants to turn Wentworth into a hugely exclusive venue. Now, a lawyers’ letter from Wentworth residents and members to Reignwood has brought a marquee Tour event into the affair. The document insists that permission is needed from the Wentworth Estates Roads Committee to close certain streets on tournament week. The letter adds: “If the residents are effectively excluded from the club, the WERC may be minded to refuse permission in 2016 and in future years in order to protect residents from the disruption this closure causes to them.”
While it is unclear if a back-up plan exists, the European Tour issued its own statement in reply. It read: “It would be extremely unfortunate if the current dispute between Reignwood and the Wentworth Residents Association had any negative effect on the BMW PGA Championship, which aside from showcasing Wentworth to golf fans around the world, has also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities over many years.”
This article was written by Ewan Murray, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 2nd February 2016 01.34 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010