BMW Championship: First Look

Adam Stanley

The PGA TOUR heads to Baltimore for the first time since 1964 for the penultimate event of the 2020-21 season, the BMW Championship.

Jon Rahm, who was in position to start his FedExCup Playoffs run with a win at THE NORTHERN TRUST, looks to defend his BMW Championship title after a dramatic playoff win over Dustin Johnson last season.

FIELD NOTES: Top 70 in the FedExCup standings after THE NORTHERN TRUST will tee it up at the BMW Championship… Rahm, the defending champion, stood to move from fifth to first in the FedExCup standings with a win at Liberty National… Dustin Johnson, who lost in a playoff to Rahm but went on to win the FedExCup last year, missed THE NORTHERN TRUST cut by a shot Friday after starting the tournament without a driver… After withdrawing from THE NORTHERN TRUST with an ankle injury, Patrick Reed is expected to return to action at the BMW… Olympic Gold medalist Xander Schauffele, two-time FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, past FedExCup winners Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, plus Player of the Year candidate Collin Morikawa also will be among the headliners in Baltimore.

FEDEXCUPWinner receives 2,000 FedExCup points.

COURSECaves Valley Golf Club, par 72, 7,542 yards. Opened in 1991, the Tom Fazio design was recently updated with infrastructure changes over an 18-month timeframe. There’s more length, plus new and/or restored bunkers, and, in places, additional rough. The front and back nines have been switched to allow for better spectator views. The PGA TOUR hasn’t played an event in Baltimore since the 1960s, but Caves Valley is no stranger to big-time golf – the course played host to the U.S. Senior Open, the Constellation Senior PLAYERS Championship, and the first International Crown on the LPGA Tour.

STORYLINES: The BMW Championship is the final opportunity to earn a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs finale, the 30-man TOUR Championship at East Lake… Keep an eye on the Monday finish at THE NORTHERN TRUST to see who will survive and advance. In 2020 there were six golfers who moved into the top 70 after THE NORTHERN TRUST and six who moved out… The FedExCup points leader after the first two Playoffs events will begin the TOUR Championship at 10 under par, meaning those at the top will be fighting for position at the BMW Championship.

72-HOLE RECORD: 260, Keegan Bradley (2018). *At Caves Valley GC (N/A)

18-HOLE RECORD: 59, Jim Furyk (2nd round, 2013). *At Caves Valley GC (N/A)

LAST TIME: It was a thrilling finish to the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs in 2020, with Jon Rahm defeating Dustin Johnson in a playoff at the BMW Championship. Johnson, who had won by 11 the previous week, rolled in a double-breaking 43-foot putt on the 72nd hole at Olympia Fields to force a playoff with Rahm at 5-under 276 after the Spaniard fired a 6-under 64 in the final round (the low round of the tournament). Rahm answered right back, however, with a curling 66-foot birdie bomb of his own to seal the win. It was his 11th TOUR title. Rahm’s victory came despite a mental blunder in the third round – he picked up his ball without marking it on the green and was penalized a stroke. Only five golfers finished under par at the 2020 BMW: Joaquin Niemann, Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau – after a final-round 65 – were the others besides Rahm and Johnson.