World Long Drive Championship to bring golf's big hitters to Cog Hill
Chicago's biggest public golf facility will soon by back in the national -- if not the world -- spotlight.
Cog Hill, in Lemont, was named Tuesday as the site of the 45th annual World Long Drive Championship. It'll be held Sept. 3 to 9 with national television coverage on The Golf Channel. The event will be held under the lights the last two days.
This is a big breakthrough for Cog Hill and the Jemsek family, which has been a leader in Chicago golf over nearly nine decades. The 72-hole facility last hosted top level competitive golf in 2011, the last year the PGA Tour's BMW Championship was played on the facility's Dubsdread course.
Dubsdread was the site of the history-rich Western Open from 1991 until 2006. That event, which had been contested 103 times over a 108-year span, was converted to a FedEx Cup Playoff event and was moved off its traditional Fourth of July weekend dates.
The playoff event was shifted to August and the Western Golf Association opted to play the tournament at sites away from Chicago every other year. The tournament was last held on Dubsdread in 2011. Then its Chicago site was Conway Farms, in Lake Forest, for three stagings. Last year it was played at Medinah and this year it will be staged at Olympia Fields in August.
The Jemsek family, longtime owners of Cog Hill, had been trying to land a high profile event ever since the BMW was last played there. For the World Long Drive the club will construct a custom hitting grid that will be used throughout the competition.
"We're thrilled," Cog Hill President Katherine Jemsek said. "Long drive championships are in our blood."
Her grandfather, Joe Jemsek, won the World Fair's Long Drive Championship in 1934 with a poke off an elevated hitting station that measured more than 500 yards.
"Cog Hill's tradition in the sport reflects our own storied history," said Matt Farrell, executive director of the World Long Drive Association. "We're expanding our commitment to global development of the sport through a broader qualifying series that includes expansion to Asia and other parts of the world."
While the World Long Drive is new to Chicago, this year's schedule of lead-in events includes a qualifier in Thailand and a series of regular stops around the country. The first is April 17 to 22 -- the Clash in the Canyon in Mesquite, Nev. That was the site of the Long Drive finals from 2008 to 2012.