Tournament: The BMW Championship, August 26-29, 2021
Course: Caves Valley Golf Club, par 72, 7,542 yards. Just north of Baltimore, technically Owings Mills, MD.
Purse: $9.5 million in total; $1,710,000 to the winner. The points will be get the focus this week, and players continue to position for the top 30 and the Tour Championship. I don’t think anyone will turn down the money though.
Defending Champ: Jon Rahm. The Spaniard was one of only 5 to finish the tournament under par (it was played at Olympia Fields south of Chicago last year), and shot 64 in the final round to get to 5 under. Dustin Johnson, having won the week before, canned a mammoth putt on the final hole to tie Rahm and 5 under and force a playoff. Rahm promptly made an even more mammoth (mammother?) putt in the playoff to get the victory. It really was good TV.
Fun Fact: The BMW Championship is the current evolution of the old Western Open, previously one of the most prestigious events in PGA Tour history. It was actually the third oldest golf tournament in the world after the US Open and Open Championship. And the Western Open was always held in the Chicago area. The FedEx Cup playoffs came in with a corporate sponsor, a name change, and now a change of venue for some crazy reason. Why the Chicago area, one of the top TV markets in the US doesn’t have a PGA event is baffling.
TV Times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 12 p.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC
‘Dawgs in the Field: 7. An exact 10% of the field. You could easily defend the statement that 10% of the current best players in the world are former Georgia Bulldogs.
Look, I don’t know much about Caves Valley. It looks nice, plush, long, pretty typical for a PGA Tour event. But the course has never hosted a Tour event, so I imagine the course will be new for most of the pros in the field. I said most of the pros...
In 2005, Kevin Kisner and Chris Kirk teamed with Brendon Todd, David Denham, and Richard Scott to win our program's second NCAA title at Caves Valley Golf Club. Kisner and Kirk will return to Caves Valley this week for the @BMWchamps. #GoDawgs #UGATour pic.twitter.com/GNshOnsjBS— Georgia Golf (@UGAGolf) August 24, 2021
Kirk is 2nd from the left, holding the national championship trophy with UGA Coach Chris Haack. Brendon Todd is to the right of Coach Haack, and Kevin Kisner is on the far right. As you’ll see below, Todd won’t be playing this week but Kirk and Kisner will. And speaking of who is playing, here is the weekly update on the playoff ‘Dawgs:
Brendon Todd started last weekd 95th and needed a decent finish to advance. Instead, he cards two triple-bogeys in the 2nd round and missed the cut. Officially he finishes 101st and his season is over.
Sepp Straka was in a similar position at #99. And like with Todd, his 2nd round did him in. His rinsed his first tee shot Friday, made triple, and never recovered - he missed the cut by 2 strokes and finishes #106.
Bubba Watson continued the 2nd round fold trend. But Bubba was on the cut line until dunking his tee shot on his last hole which led to a double, and made him miss the cut by those two strokes. He finishes the season #81 (down from 71).
One other player missed the cut, but his season continues. Kevin Kisner did not exactly show good form, didn’t play the weekend, but only slipped from #29 to #31. I said last week he was safe for this week (he is), but wasn’t safe for Atlanta (he’s not).
A Bulldog who was on the outside looking in was Keith Mitchell. He started the playoffs at #101 and I estimated he needed a top 10 in order to advance to this 2nd playoff event. After a very good first two rounds, he held serve in the 3rd, and had some pressure to finish Sunday strong. But his driver was failing him and he was all over the place. A dodgy up and down for par on 15 steadies his nerves, and he birdies the last 3 holes to be one of 6 players to move inside the top 70. He finished the tournament tied for 8th, and moved up on the points list from #101 all the way to #63. And he gets to tee it up at the BMW.
Hudson Swafford also had a strong finish Sunday, and his T11 pushed him from #56 to #40 on the list. So he’s in the field this week.
Those were the two movers. And even though each of these Classic City Canines made the cut and earned points last week, they all slipped a little on the list. Volatility ensues with quadruple the points available. Or, in the local vernacular, mo’ points, mo’ problems.
Chris Kirk tied for 56th and fell from 51 to #60. But he marches on.
Russell Henley also tied for 56th at the Northern Trust. He fell from #44 down to 50. Still safe.
Brian Harman finished last for those making the cut. He might have been saving his strength once he made the cut and knew he could advance with little effort. With the bad weather that was expected (and materialized so much it delayed the final round until Monday), he might have cashed it in somewhat and just put his energy into this week. Already outside the top 30, he fell four spots to # 39 and will need at least a middle of the pack finish this week to move up 9 spots (depending on the guys in front of him).
And the one Bulldog with the most to gain, Harris English, tied for 31st last week but fell from #4 to #8. That’s mostly because Tony Finau won the tourney and jumped from 23rd to #1; Jon Rahm finished 3rd and moved from 5th to 2nd in points, and Cameron Smith got a runner up in the playoff of the Northern Trust and that pushed him to 3rd in points. Those high finishes really make a big difference.
The #1 guy last week, Collin Morikawa, missed the cut and fell only down to 6. So the chances of English missing out on the Tour Championship (top 30) is slim, but mathematically possible. I’d personally like to see the top 10 of the BMW this week rife with ‘Dawgs and have several make that crucial move inside #30.
Since the Braves haven’t started swooning yet and college football starts this weekend, I can see an argument for watching something other than spoiled millionaires fight for more millions in golf slacks. This is a no judgement zone. I’m just telling you there are DGDs playing on a world-class level and making the golf world take notice. And as always...
RIP, Charlie. Thanks for being the backbone, the glue, and always being on time.