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News & Tours

News & Tours

BMW Championship to return to Caves Valley, Bellerive

August 16, 2022
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Tim Nwachukwu

The BMW Championship will return to Caves Valley Golf Club in 2025 and Bellerive Country Club in 2026, officials from the PGA Tour, Western Golf Association and BMW announced Tuesday.

Though official dates were not disclosed, the tournaments are expected to remain in August as part of the tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

“We are excited to bring the BMW Championship back to these iconic venues, giving the amazing fans of the greater Baltimore and St. Louis areas a chance to see the best players in the world up close,” said Vince Pellegrino, WGA senior vice president of tournaments.

Bellerive Country Club
Private
Bellerive Country Club
Saint Louis, MO
Once the darling of the USGA, which awarded this Robert Trent Jones design the 1965 U.S. Open, making it the second youngest course to host an Open in the 20th Century (after Northwood in Dallas), Bellerive is now favored by the PGA of America, which successfully concluded the 2018 PGA Championship on it. The polished course that hosted the PGA is a far cry from the immature one of 1965. Hardwoods along holes now have 50 years worth of growth, fairways are now Zoysia and architect Rees Jones has replaced his father’s bunkering with that of his own style, positioned farther off the tees to challenge big hitters. Rees also filled in a pond in front of the 17th green and added chipping areas next to several putting surfaces.
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The former Western Open is the third-oldest tournament on the PGA Tour schedule, behind only the Open Championship and the U.S. Open. Since taken over by BMW in 2007 the tournament has moved outside the confines of Chicago, visiting venues in Denver, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Philadelphia. After this year’s event in Wilmington, the BMW will visit Olympia Fields outside Chicago next season and Castle Pines Golf Club outside Denver in 2024.

Caves Valley served as BMW host for the first time last season, where Patrick Cantlay defeated Bryson DeChambeau in a six-hole playoff. Bellerive, which has been the site of the three major championships and will host the 2030 Presidents Cup, was also a previous BMW host, with Camilo Villegas winning the event in 2008.

Caves Valley Golf Club
Private
Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, MD
To compare the present Caves Valley against that which was originally built in the early 1990s is to recognize how much Tom Fazio has felt obligated to adjust his courses to today’s club and ball technology. Back in 1991, the opening hole was a dogleg-left with a trap at the turn. Today it has four bunkers framing the landing area. The par-5 third had just two “buffer bunkers” along a lake to the right to stop high-handicap slices from landing in the drink. Those buffers are still there, but so too are three enormous bunkers down the left, stretching over 300 yards from the back tee. And so it is all the way around Caves Valley. There are now target bunkers mainly in play for big hitters and frontal bunkers at several greens to force pin-seekers to throw it in the air. Caves Valley is a players’ club, and one remains a player only by being constantly challenged during a round.
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The BMW Championship is the penultimate event in the tour’s postseason. This week 68 players are in the field, with the top 30 advancing to the season finale at East Lake next week.