Thursday, August 26, 2021

The BMW Championship, Round One

Now that the PGA Championship has been moved to May, we have a real shortage of sports in August.  The BMW Championship, which used to be the Western Open, should step up to the plate here.  It's the second round of the playoffs, so there's a lot of drama.  It has the top 70 golfers, so you have a very select field that's also big enough for a real tournament.  In fact, now that they've changed the format for the Tour Championship, it's the last real tournament of the season.  And it's usually played on an old traditional course in the Midwest.

Of course, the PGA has a tendency to set up the Playoff courses so that the winning score is about 20 under par -- which is what happened last week at the National Trust Open.  It's hard to feel like you're watching a major when people are posting 62's and 63's all over the place.

But let's see what happens.  This week the BMW Championship is being played at Caves Valley Golf Club, near Baltimore.  It's the first time I can remember a really big tournament being played in Baltimore.  The course itself opened in 1991, and it's always interesting to see how newer courses do under championship conditions.  It's also a par-72, which is a par that I usually like in big tournaments.

From my perspective, Day One was a mixed bag.  On the one hand, it seems likely that the scores are going to be really low.  But on the other hand, we have a lot of big stars near the top.  Here's the current top ten (plus ties):

T1.  S. Burns-8 (64)
T1.  J. Rahm (ESP):  -8 (64)
T1.  R. McIlroy (NIR):  -8 (64)

4.  S. Garcia (ESP):  -7 (65)

T5.  A. Ancer (MEX):  -6 (66)
T5.  P. Cantlay-6 (66)

T7.  H. Varner III-5 (67)
T7.  W. Simpson-5 (67)
T7.  D. Johnson-5 (67)
T7.  X. Schauffele-5 (67)
T7.  T. Finau-5 (67)
T7.  K. Bradley-5 (67)
T7.  S. Munoz (COL):  -5 (67)
T7.  E. Grillo (ARG):  -5 (67)
T7.  H. Swafford-5 (67)
T7.  H. Matsuyama (JPN):  -5 (67)
T7.  S. Im (KOR):  -5 (67)
T7.  E. van Rooyen (RSA):  -5 (67)

They've now been doing the FedEx Playoffs since 2007.  In that time, the only two men to win the FedEx Cup twice are Tiger Woods (2007 and 2009) and Rory McIlroy (2016 and 2019).  It's hard to argue with that.


  1. After Day One of the Curtis Cup, the U.S. trails GB & I 4 1/2 to 1 1/2. That always makes me unhappy.

  2. Here's where the big golf cups stand these days:

    Ryder Cup: In 2018, Europe won 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 over in France. Wasn't played last year due to COVID.

    Walker Cup: Earlier this year, the U.S. beat GB & I by 14 to 12 at the Seminole Golf Club in Florida. That was our third win in a row.

    Solheim Cup: In 2019, Europe won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 in Scotland.

    Curtis Cup: In 2018, the United States won 17-3 at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. But the Americans are currently trailing in Wales, and they have not won on the road since 2008.

  3. All four cups are being played this year, because COVID scrambled everything last year. I have no idea what they'll do next year.

  4. A big day for the Americans in the Curtis Cup. In the morning, they won the foursomes 2 1/2 to 1/2. In the afternoon, they won the fourballs 2 to 1. So the Curtis Cup is now tied at 6 points each. It will come down to tomorrow's singles matches.

  5. Bryson DeChambeau is 12 under for the day, and 16 under for the tournament, through 16 holes. If he pars out, he will have a 60.

  6. I'm afraid that this course doesn't present much of a challenge:

    1. B. DeChambeau: -16 (34 holes)

    2. P. Cantlay: -15 (33)

    T3. H. Swafford: -11 (36)
    T3. S. Garcia (ESP): -11 (31)
    T3. S. Burns: -11 (25)

  7. OK, here's DeChambeau putting for a 59 on the last hole. Paul Azinger says that he can be exhausting and he's got a different brain than most people, but now he has a chance to make history.

  8. He does not make history. He misses a six-footer on the last hole, and finishes with a 60 -- which is an extremely low score on a par-72 course.

  9. I played golf yesterday in Jasper, Indiana. It was a "best-ball" scramble, and I had a blast. I was the next-to-worst player on my four-person team (just ahead of someone who had no clubs and had never played 18 holes of golf), but there were at least five moments where I made shots that made the other people on the team cheer. That was great.

  10. Well, the BMW Championship ended up being a thriller -- Patrick Cantlay outdueled DeChambeau to win a SIX-HOLE PLAYOFF. But as I suspected, the course was not really set up like a major tournament. Here was the final top 10:

    1. P. Cantlay: -27 (won on sixth playoff hole)

    2. B. DeChambeau: -27

    3. S. Im (KOR): -23

    4. R. McIlroy (NIR): -22

    5. E. van Rooyen (RSA): -21

    T6. D. Johnson: -20
    T6. S. Garcia (ESP): -20

    8. S. Burns: -19

    T9. A. Noren (SWE): -18
    T9. J. Rahm (ESP): -18
    T9. A. Ancer (MEX): -18

  11. On the other hand, our amateur women stormed to victory in the Curtis Cup. They dominated GB & I on the last day, winning by 6 1/2 to 1 1/2. The final score as 12 1/2 to 7 1/2, so the Cup stays with America. It was our first overseas victory in the Curtis Cup since 2008, so that's really good.