Former One Direction band member Niall Horan is a big golf fan Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Niall Horan, who rose to global fame during his time as a member of boy band One Direction, is the first in a series of A-list celebrities to be confirmed for this year’s BMW PGA Championship Celebrity Pro-Am, taking place at Wentworth on September 8.

The Irishman, who has since become a successful solo artist with his band, The Slow Hands, is no stranger to the star-studded Celebrity Pro-Am, the traditional curtain-raiser to the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s third Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.

As a member of Wentworth, the 27-year-old is familiar with the challenging West Course. However, the hugely popular event attracts a considerable crowd and performing in front of thousands of fans on the golf course is very different to performing up on stage.

Horan, who plays off a handicap of nine, said: “I’ve sung in front of thousands of people; performed concerts all around the world, but when you hear your name called out on the first tee at Wentworth, and you step out in front of that crowd onto the tee box, it’s nerve wracking. We’ve done OK over the years though — I think we’ve won it twice — and it’s pretty cool getting to play with the pros.

“It’s a proper family day out and a great atmosphere before the actual tournament and serious stuff kicks off. The celebrity turn out is amazing. You have all sorts of actors, singers, sports stars and TV personalities. I just love it. It’s my home club and it’s always a great day.”

The tournament itself gets under way on September 9, when Tyrrell Hatton will return to defend his title. The Ryder Cup star leads a host of home hopefuls aiming to make it three English victories in a row at the Rolex Series event.

Hatton will be joined by fellow Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, as well as the 2020 Race to Dubai Champion Lee Westwood.

The 2019 BMW PGA Championship winner and 2016 Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett will also tee it up at the Surrey venue, as will world No. 22 Matt Fitzpatrick and four-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace.