THE FED EX CUP PLAYOFFS CONTINUE this Thursday at the BMW Championship at the Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mill Maryland. Jon Rahm is back to defend his title. _____________________________________________________________________
YES it’s tourney time again this week, here in town or on the road for our Chicago based golf organizations.
ON THE TEE today is the Illinois PGA Section Championship, that moves to the Ivanhoe Club in Mundelein.
University of Illinois Men’s Golf Coach Mike Small has won the tournament, 13 times in the last 16 years. So there is a funny one about this event being the Mike Small Invitational.
Because last year on Medinah’s #1 course, Small took charge in Round 2. Then he held off charges on the final day from Mistwood Golf Club professionals Andy Mickelson and Frank Hohenadel. But this year past champion Jim Billiter is the new head professional at the Ivanhoe Club, and will put up a good challenge on his home turf. Ivanhoe Director of Golf Jim Sobb should have respectable numbers as well.
But there is more at stake here. The top 10 finishers and Small, head to next years National Club Professional Championship. From there, the top 20 finishers are in the field at the 2022 PGA Championship that takes place at Southern Hills in Tulsa.
THE BMW CHAMPIONSHIP is back on the tee this week, in Owings Mill MD.
While all of us here in Chicago miss the tournament when it’s out of town. It’s easy to see why the Western Golf Association (WGA) and the PGA Tour are in Maryland this week.
Because first and foremost, Caves Valley is a great golf course. I first went there in 2014 for the UL-LPGA International Crown. But then this June I returned for media day, and played the golf course. It’s a really good track-really good. Much improved since I saw it in 2014. Second of all the club and it’s foundation are really supportive to the game, the WGA, and in little ways I haven’t seen from other clubs that have hosted the BMW. So if Wilmington Country Club in Del. is as good next year, I won’t have any issue with the tournament out of town in 2022. But by 2023 it does need to return to Chicago, regardless of who the sponsor is by then. I’ll have more on the BMW as the week goes on.
THE FIVE YEARS of the Senior LPGA Championship went by quickly. So fast that in fact only four of the championships were actually played due to the pandemic.
So unless the LPGA has a secret site for 2022 lined up, the championship needs a new home for next year.
FRENCH LICK has done a wonderful job over the five years with the championship. But The Golf Channel deal that put the tournament in October for two cold years, didn’t help. Because Mother Nature chipped-in with upper 40 and low 50 degree days.
DEFENDING CHAMPION HELEN ALFREDSSON is not in the field this year. Because she forgot to sign up. But when she realized she missed the date, she tried to enter but it was too late. Our friend at the Illinois Golfer Tim Cronin says that the British Open tournaments, will contact players right before the deadline to remind them of the deadline approaching. Because you would think a defending champion would want to return. Maybe the LPGA should have checked in with Alfredsson to see if she wanted to play.
THE USGA has admitted to a U.S. Open ticket scandal that involved a former employee. That former employee now faces up to 20 years in federal prison, for stealing U.S. Open tickets, and selling them to brokers, who resold them from 2013 to 2019. The former employee is listed in court documents as Richard Fryer, an assistant admissions director. Fryer allegedly took some 23,000 tickets over the years in question. Both he and the brokers reportedly made some $3.34 million dollars in ticket resales. People who work in ticket sales, will be watching to see how this case gets settled.
THE FED EX CUP PLAYOFFS are delayed this morning. But stay tuned to coverage later in the day. The Gog Blog is back all week. RS.