Will a permanent event come to Denver?
For an unprecedented third year in a row, the PGA TOUR named the BMW Championship the Tournament of the Year at the TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on Thursday, Nov. 20, in La Quinta, California.
Conducted at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, the 2014 BMW Championship also earned the “Best On-Site Staging” and “Best Advertising Campaign/Promotional Idea” awards.
The penultimate event in the FedExCup Playoffs, the BMW Championship attracted more than 125,000 spectators, making it one of the top attended tournaments on the PGA TOUR in 2014.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am delighted to congratulate the BMW Championship for the special recognition it has received with these three awards,” said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR executive vice-president and chief of operations. “The tournament staff should be extremely proud of its hard work and for being recognized as the PGA TOUR Tournament of the Year for the third consecutive season.”
With that kind of recognition—in addition to achieving benchmarks in the areas of “revenue growth, charity integration, event advertising, host club and community support, title sponsor integration and player and caddie hospitality” according to the TOUR—what more does Colorado need to do to secure a permanent spot on the PGA TOUR schedule?
The BMW was the first PGA TOUR event in Colorado since the 2006 International at Castle Pines. Will it take another eight years before we host another one?
The BMW moves back to Conway Farms Golf Club, near Chicago, in 2015. Then it heads to Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, in 2016. Those are the venues that hosted the event, respectively, in 2013 and 2012—years that it also grabbed Tournament of the Year honors.
So what about 2017?
That decision would rest with the Western Golf Association, which has conducted the event since 1899 (known until 2007 as the Western Open). All proceeds support the Evans Scholars Foundation, the WGA’s 84-year-old organization that has sent caddies to college since 1930. Colorado has a thriving Evans Scholars program at the University of Colorado, and Evans alumni such as George Solich played an indispensible role in securing the 2014 BMW.
“The Western Golf Association goes to great lengths each year to ensure the BMW Championship is a great experience for players, caddies, our corporate partners and, most of all, golf fans,” said WGA Senior Vice President of Tournaments Vince Pellegrino. “To have that effort recognized by the PGA TOUR is truly humbling, both for the WGA and for our title sponsor, BMW of North America, with whom we have had a strong partnership for the last eight years.”
Again with the eight years…
At the very least, Cherry Hills could become part of the regular rotation of BMW Championship courses.
Here's a thought: Maybe by recently making Castle Pines founder Jack Vickers only the 11th recipient of the PGA TOUR Lifetime Achievement Award, the TOUR may again be considering the former home of The International as a new permanent stop.
Jackson, Mississippi has a TOUR event. So does Barrington, Rhode Island. Come on, already!