Medinah Moments: Recapping the highs and lows of the BMW Championship

  • Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson walk to the fairway after teeing off Saturday during the third round of the BMW Championship.

    Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson walk to the fairway after teeing off Saturday during the third round of the BMW Championship. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Justin Thomas reacts as he sinks his last putt to win in the BMW Championship final round at Medinah Country Club Sunday, August 18, 2019.

    Justin Thomas reacts as he sinks his last putt to win in the BMW Championship final round at Medinah Country Club Sunday, August 18, 2019. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Brooks Koepka chats with playing partner Bo Jackson during the BMW Championship pro-am at Medinah Wednesday.

    Brooks Koepka chats with playing partner Bo Jackson during the BMW Championship pro-am at Medinah Wednesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Tiger Woods smiles as he works on a practice green at the BMW Championship practice rounds at Medinah last Tuesday.

    Tiger Woods smiles as he works on a practice green at the BMW Championship practice rounds at Medinah last Tuesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fans watch as Tiger Woods gets ready to tee off during the third round of the BMW Championship at Medinah Saturday.

    Fans watch as Tiger Woods gets ready to tee off during the third round of the BMW Championship at Medinah Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/20/2019 7:42 AM

All the low scores and new course records made Medinah's so-called "Monster" course look nearly defenseless against the world's best golfers over the weekend.

Did the winning score -- an astounding 25 under par recorded by Justin Thomas -- leave Medinah members with hard feelings?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The club will do a BMW Championship post-mortem in October and then sit down with architects to have a discussion about course design.

For one thing, Mother Nature did Course No. 3 no favors. Rain and overcast stretches made the greens as soft as a kitten's fur coat. Medinah's lush, 4.5-inch rough didn't really come into play, either.

"We had almost four days of zero wind, so I'm not sure what you could do short of tricking up the golf course, and then you get to be a U.S. Open extravaganza, which isn't any fun for anyone," Medinah President Bruce D'Angelo said.

In their pro-am round together Wednesday, Lucas Glover must have foreshadowed the birdie barrage when he told D'Angelo "there's no defense" against the pros on a soft course.

"As a member, I play the golf course every day, and I know how hard it is and I play other golf courses that are top-rated, and I know how hard our golf course is," D'Angelo said. "But again there is just no defense when they can hit the ball 320 off the tee and come into the greens with the irons and have the greens holed. There's no defense at all."

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Adam Scott responded to the low scoring with a call for "smarter, not longer" setups. Distance debate aside, players spoke highly of their personal memories at Medinah. And that Tiny House next to the 14th tee almost stole their thunder. Those and other tournament highs deserve birdies in our last edition of an unofficial scorecard from Medinah:

Birdie: More tiny houses, please

Medinah tested out the concept of golf course living with the lovable Tiny House that became party central for some Medinah members and their lucky guests. And the reviews speak for themselves: Paul Casey crashed the front-yard gathering. The Tiny House even made a splash in Forbes and Golf.com coverage from the BMW.

D'Angelo said there could be a future, dual purpose for tiny houses as residences for Medinah's summer interns and event venues for members and their kids.

"You've got to find different ways to speaking the younger generation, and the Tiny House kind of did that," D'Angelo said. "People were tremendously interested in what we were doing with that, so I think it was a big hit."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Birdie: Attendance

More than 130,000 golf fans turned out to Medinah through the week. That's not an attendance record for the BMW, a Western Golf Association spokeswoman said. But nowhere was Tigermania more evident than at the 17th, as fans choked the bridge over Lake Kadijah Sunday to catch a final glimpse of Tiger's season-ending round.

"I know the concession stands and the merchandise sales were off the charts, and I think a lot of people like coming to Medinah because it's big enough to hold them," D'Angelo said. "So you could have 35,000 people out there, and it doesn't feel at all cramped other than maybe when Tiger does come through."

Birdie: Rory déjà vu

Phil Mickelson can thank Bloomingdale Fire District Chief Jeff Janus and other first responders for helping him make his final round tee time after a lightning strike on the roof of the Eaglewood Resort & Spa left him without his clubs and running late.

Hotel guests, including other golfers as well as spectators, were temporarily evacuated. When Janus got to the hotel Sunday morning, he told the incident commander to have personnel at the scene help Mickelson get back to his room to retrieve his gear.

Janus didn't have all the details yet, but he left the humor to Mickelson, who tweeted about a situation that echoed Rory McIlroy needing a police escort to make his Ryder Cup tee time in 2012 after some confusion with the Central Time zone.

"I'm just glad that nobody was hurt," Janus said. "It truly was a team effort, and it's a credit to our guys and the great service they provide everyday."

Birdie: Medinah as a venue

Medinah members have shown a willingness to host a marquee tournament every five to seven years. The 2006 PGA Championship was the last time the club hosted a major.

"With the PGA moving to May, I think you start looking at what's available, and I think the BMW, as a tournament, fits us," D'Angelo said. "And we would always be looking at something like that and a Presidents Cup would be a nice touch because we would then have hosted U.S. Opens, PGAs, Westerns, BMW, Ryder Cup. So we would be one of the few country clubs that have ever done that."

Medinah's generous footprint also makes the venue attractive to tournament organizers who need the space for amenities like the BMW's Topgolf driving range for spectators.

"As we go down the roads for these tournaments, I've got a feeling it won't just be what's on the golf course that draws people," D'Angelo said. "There's going to be other things whether it's a Topgolf or a concert or an international food festival ... Medinah's got the acreage in order to host that and also the inclination to do that."

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