BMW Championship takes its show on the road ... for two years
After conducting its premier tournament in the Chicago area for two straight years the Western Golf Association will take the BMW Championship away from the area for at least the next two.
The Glenview-based WGA announced Tuesday the BMW Championship will be played on the South Course at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware in 2022. Cave's Valley, located in the Baltimore suburb of Owings Mills, Md., will host next year's tournament. No site has been announced for 2023 and beyond.
Medinah (2019) and Olympia Fields (2020) hosted the FedEx Cup Playoff event the last two years, which interrupted a trend in which the WGA took the tournament out of the Chicago area on an every other year basis. That trend started in 2012 when the event was held at Crooked Stick in Indianapolis.
The Chicago site in 2013, 2015 and 2017 was Conway Farms in Lake Forest while the non-Chicago sites were Cherry Hills in Denver (2014), Crooked Stick (2016) and Aronimink in the Philadelphia area (2018).
Though the BMW Championship dates back only to 2007, it has deep historic roots in Chicago. The playoff event grew out of the Western Open, which the WGA first conducted in 1899. From 1962 through 2006 the Western was held only at Chicago facilities and the BMW was played at Cog Hill in Lemont in four of its first five years.
The 2022 BMW Championship will mark the first time the PGA Tour has held a tournament in Delaware, but Wilmington Country Club has deep historic roots, too. It was established in 1901 and relocated in the 1950s when Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the South Course.
Vince Pellegrino, WGA senior vice president of tournaments, called Wilmington "One of the finest clubs anywhere in the United States."
"We're thrilled to be taking (the BMW there)," he said. "The South Course has everything you look for in a traditional championship layout. It will present a strategic test for the world's best players and a perfect venue for fans."
The BMW Championship is a key component in the fundraising efforts of the WGA. Its Evans Scholars Foundation has provided scholarships for youth caddies since 1930. Since 2007 the BMW has raised more than $35 million for Evans scholarships. Evans Scholars Owen Griffin (Illinois, 1983) and Dan Walsh (a junior at Penn State) came out of Wilmington Country Club.
"The BMW Championship at Wilmington will give us an opportunity to show a new market the power of the Evans Scholars program," said John Kaczkowski, the WGA president and chief executive officer. "This is a critical step in our efforts to expand from coast to coast and reach more deserving caddies."
The tournament has been the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, immediately preceding The Tour Championship in Atlanta. Next year's BMW at Cave's Valley is Aug. 23 to 29. No dates have been announced for Wilmington.