IT’S PLAYOFF TIME ON THE PGA TOUR-this week it’s the BMW Championship from Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mill, Maryland. Jon Rahm is back defending his title.  _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on and Golfers on Golf Radio WCPT 820 Am Chicago. #BMWCHAMPIONSHIP

THE WADLEY TROPHY and the BMW Championship trophy at Caves Valley-Photo’s by Rory Spears.


With the second leg of the Fed Ex Cup Playoff Series the BMW Championship, being run by the PGA Tour and the Western Golf Association (WGA).

But this year there are fans at the tournament, unlike a year ago, when Covid was running wild and no spectators could be at Olympia Fields, in Chicago’s south suburbs.

In 2020, Jon Rahm drained a 50 foot putt on the first playoff hole to win the championship. But this year Rahm returns not only as defending champion, but as the reigning U.S. Open Champion after Rahm won his first professional major championship at Torrey Pines in June.

The par 3-third hole-championship routing

But Caves Valley is a modern golf course. It’s not the old classic that makes Olympia Fields what it is.

Caves valley will be new to most of the current PGA Tour players, because most of them have not played here before.

Jordan Spieth who spoke on media day, has played the course more than ten times. But never in championship form for a tournament. Spieth’s sponsor Under Armor has it’s offices in the Baltimore area. So when Spieth comes to town, Caves Valley becomes a fun day of golf for the three-time major champion. Spieth knows the golf course can play tough if the PGA Tour sets it up that way.

Hole 9, will be number 18 for the BMW Championship.

Caves Valley first opened in 1991 and was designed by Tom Fazio. Who was first hired in 1986, to build the course.

But it didn’t take long to attract championship golf. Because by 1995 the USGA had brought the Mid-Amateur championship to the golf course.

Seven years later Don Pooley won the U.S. Senior Open there, as the USGA made it’s second visit to Owings Mill.

Then the NCAA was right behind. In 2005 the Men’s NCAA National Championships came along (Women followed in 2009), right in front of the Palmer Cup in 2007 (now called the Arnold Palmer Cup).

The LPGA brought the first International Crown to Caves Valley in 2014 won by Team Spain. Caves Valley then hosted the Senior Players Championship in 2017.

WGA Senior Vice President of Tournaments Vince Pellegrino speaks on media day in June.

“We’re thrilled to be taking the BMW Championship to Caves Valley one of the finest clubs in United States,” said WGA Senior Vice President of Tournaments Vince Pellegrino. “The clubs scenic and challenging course layout will provide a perfect test for the worlds top players. In addition to being a remarkable venue for fans and PGA Tour partners.”

Caves Valley sits on 962 acres of rolling hills, complete with pastures, wetlands and wooded areas. But the golf course saw changes in recent years. After the LPGA International Crown, the bunkers were dug-up and made larger. They were redesigned with steeper faces, and new white tour-angle sand was added.

When play concludes on Sunday, the top 30 players with the most Fed Ex Cup points, will advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WCPT AM820 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.