The penultimate event in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoffs at the Owings Mills, Md. club will be the first Tour event in the Baltimore area since the 1962 Eastern Open Invitational. Caves Valley has hosted a U.S. Senior Open and the inaugural LPGA International Crown among other tournaments on its Tom Fazio-designed course in its 29-year history.
Top professional golfers will head to Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., outside of Baltimore, for the 2021 BMW Championship, the penultimate event in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoffs, the Baltimore Business Journal reported. Caves Valley officials and the event’s organizer, the Western Golf Association, made the announcement on February 12th.
The tournament is scheduled for August 17-22, 2021, and will whittle a field of the 70 best PGA Tour players down to 30, the Business Journal reported. Past winners include Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
The Western Golf Association’s Senior Vice President of Tournaments, Vince Pellegrino, said in a statement that Caves Valley’s “scenic and challenging course layout will provide a perfect test for the world’s top players,” the Business Journal reported. The club’s 962-acre, 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course opened in 1991 and has previously hosted the U.S. Senior Open, the 1995 U.S. Mid-Amateur, NCAA Division I men’s and women’s golf championships and the inaugural LPGA International Crown, among other tournaments.
The 2019 BMW Championship drew more than 130,000 spectators from 44 states and three countries to Medinah (Ill.) Country Club in Illinois and resulted in $20 million in direct spending, generating $1.7 million in state taxes and $400,000 in local taxes, organizers said. Thomas won the 2019 competition, taking home $1.7 million.
“These are the finest golfers in the world that play in this event,” said Steve Fader, Chairman of Caves Valley Golf Club. “Our hope is to cast Baltimore in a wonderful light.”
This year’s BMW Championship is scheduled for August 20-23 at Olympia Fields Country Club, outside of Chicago.
The 2021 BMW will be the first PGA Tour event in the Baltimore, Md. area since the 1962 Eastern Open Invitational, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Pellegrino called Baltimore “a golf-starved market” when describing the Western Golf Association’s decision to bring the tournament to Caves Valley, The Sun reported.
“It’s a combination of us looking for an iconic venue, a premier venue in a market that is, quite frankly, a golf-starved market,” Pellegrino said by phone Thursday. “[Baltimore is] an incredible sports town that really supports the teams, but also supports events.
“I think having such success on the East Coast a couple of years ago at Aronimink Golf Club [near Philadelphia], we knew we wanted to return, and we were just looking for that right partnership of a competitive golf course with a venue that I know the membership and community will really rally behind,” Pellegrino added.
Caves Valley, with a course designed by Tom Fazio that opened in 1991, is among the most exclusive clubs in Maryland, The Sun noted.
“We actually started talking with Caves Valley over four years ago about the possibility,” Pellegrino told The Sun. “We were looking at a lot of other clubs throughout the country and continued to build relationships with clubs for the future, and we just felt like 2021 was an ideal time to bring this championship to Baltimore.
“The hospitality that the club is known for is incredible,” he added. “From the moment you arrive, the experience is first-class.”
Since hosting the 1995 Mid-Amateur, Caves Valley has also been the site of the men’s and women’s NCAA championships, USGA events, the 2002 U.S. Senior Open, the 2007 Palmer Cup, the LPGA’s 2014 International Crown and the Constellation Senior Players Championship in 2017, The Sun reported.
“It’s the best field in golf,” Pellegrino said of the BMW Championship. “We’re going to have some of the best names descending upon Caves Valley in 2021. It really casts a large spotlight in the Baltimore area, not only here in the United States, but globally.”
Baltimore County is already preparing tour packages for the tournament 18 months in advance, The Sun reported, with County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. projecting that a crowd of “more than 150,000 visitors” will come to Caves Valley for the tournament.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said that Caves Valley has been a great partner for the city’s youth programs, The Sun reported.
“The BMW Championship fans will love our Inner Harbor, Orioles baseball and all of the cultural and culinary options the great city of Baltimore has to offer,” Young added.
The BMW Championship is also a fundraiser for the Evans Scholars Foundation, with all proceeds going toward full tuition and housing scholarships for young caddies. Since 2007, when BMW became the event’s title sponsor and the tournament took on its current format, it has raised more than $35 million for those scholarships, with a peak of $4.4 million in 2019, The Sun reported.
“The BMW Championship at Caves Valley will provide us with a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the Evans Scholars Program in a new market, as the organization continues its recent unprecedented growth from coast to coast,” Western Golf Association President and CEO John Kaczkowski said.
“We always say that caddying is the best summer job a kid can have growing up,” added Pellegrino, himself an Evans Scholarship recipient. “It’s truly a life-changing scholarship opportunity. Just to create that awareness that not only is caddying a great summer job, but it also gives you the opportunity to potentially earn an Evans Scholarship [and a] full tuition and housing scholarship. For us to expand our program and to create the awareness in an additional market is really exciting for us.”
Since the scholarship’s introduction in 1930, more than 11,000 caddies have been named Evans Scholars, The Sun reported. In 2019, the Western Golf Association reached the milestone of 1,000 students currently attending college on Evans Scholarships.
“The great news about the championship is if you buy a ticket, you volunteer or you purchase corporate hospitality, it all goes toward a great cause,” Pellegrino said.
That support will also benefit Baltimore, with last year’s BMW Championship in Chicago generating nearly $20 million in direct spending and more than $2 million in state and local taxes, The Sun reported.
“Maryland looks forward to welcoming the top 70 PGA Tour players for what will be an incredible experience at Caves Valley Golf Club,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in the announcement. “This event will position Maryland as an outstanding golf destination and will draw tens of thousands of spectators who will contribute significantly to our state’s thriving economy.”
The locations of the BMW Championship for 2022 and beyond have not yet been determined, The Sun reported. But Pellegrino expects that Baltimore will not have to wait another 60 years for its next PGA Tour visit.
“We have no doubt that the corporate community and the golf fans of Baltimore will support this championship,” Pellegrino said. “We hope this a long-term relationship and that we can come back in the future.”