Why doesn't golf's BMW Championship stay in the Chicago area? Money.
Over the course of four days, more than 100,000 fans were treated to some spectacular golf at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.
We saw course records of 8-under 62s fired by Max Homa on Friday and Sam Burns on Saturday.
We saw some controversy Saturday when a fan yelled "pull it!" as Homa attempted to drain a 5-foot birdie putt.
And we saw an incredible, heart-pounding finish as Viktor Hovland ripped off 7 back-nine birdies to win the tournament with a 61, bettering the course records by Homa and Burns in the process.
Sadly, this is the last time Chicagoans will be treated to a PGA Tour event until the Presidents Cup comes to Medinah in 2026.
And, really, that hardly counts.
The hope is the BMW returns to the area in 2028. But even that's not a given.
So why has this tournament -- formerly known as the Western Open and held at Butler National from 1974-90, and Cog Hill's Dubsdread from 1991-2007 and 2009-11 -- been bouncing all over the country?
Bottom line: Money.
John Kaczkowski, the President and CEO of the Western Golf Association, said the WGA brings in far more for the Evans Scholars program when it goes to sites like Caves Valley in Maryland (2021) and Wilmington Country Club in Delaware (2022).
"Chicago has everything," said Kaczkowski, who resides in Mount Prospect. "We are so spoiled when it comes to entertainment possibilities.
"When we go to other towns, they don't have a lot of major things. They certainly don't have golf. So a lot of these markets are golf-starved. ... If you have an event once every 10 years, you're gonna support it."
The 2022 BMW at Wilmington netted the WGA $4.5 million, according to Kaczkowski. When the tournament is in Chicago, it normally nets half that -- although Kaczkowski admitted this year's event should do better than $2.25 million.
The extra money means more scholarships to deserving caddies. For years, those basically went to kids in and around Chicago. But now many more are benefiting around the country.
The next four BMWs will be at Castle Pines Golf Club in Denver; Caves Valley; Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis; and Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey.
After that, hopefully it comes back to Chicago. If it does, it's likely to return to Olympia Fields, Medinah or perhaps Conway Farms. As a lifelong resident of the area, I'd love to see it played at Butler National in Oak Brook, but that won't happen unless the membership agrees to change its male-only policy.
"I would see us coming back (soon)," Kaczkowski said. "We haven't had formal discussions with (Olympia Fields), but our intent is to. We'll have discussions with Medinah (as well). I'm super excited to see how the renovation works out. ... But (these courses have) got to be a willing participant too."
But what about coming back every other year?
That still doesn't work for Kaczkowski.
"We view ourselves as a Chicago-based organization that has a national presence," he said. "The formula for us is working really well, and it works really well for the BMW. And I think it works great for the PGA Tour, to be able to play great golf courses in different markets.
"Would our jobs be easier if we did it every other year (in Chicago)? Probably. But this (event) has a big impact on a golf course, and I'm not sure courses would sign up for this every other year."