If you ever wanted to see a golf course after it took a dip in the Fountain of Youth, tune into this week's BMW Championship.
Architect Gil Hanse spearheaded a full restoration of Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, located about 15 miles west-northwest from downtown Philadelphia. The two-year project that ended a few months ago brought back to life Donald Ross' original design that dates back 90 years. It hosts the third leg of this year's FedExCup Playoffs.
Scroll past the ranking for more on Hanse's work, how it should test and more.
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 20 Paul Casey 19 Adam Scott 18 Tommy Fleetwood 17 Rafa Cabrera Bello 16 Jordan Spieth 15 Tyrrell Hatton 14 Phil Mickelson 13 Jason Day 12 Patrick Cantlay 11 Kyle Stanley 10 Cameron Smith 9 Rory McIlroy 8 Francesco Molinari 7 Justin Thomas 6 Brooks Koepka 5 Hideki Matsuyama 4 Tony Finau 3 Dustin Johnson 2 Justin Rose 1 Bryson DeChambeau
Defending champion Marc Leishman, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm will be among the notables featured in the Fantasy Insider.
For the third time in as many tournaments, Hanse's fingerprints are all over the test. This time, however, Aronimink presents a series of changes so comprehensive that the 23 golfers in this week's field of 70 who played it in 2010 and/or 2011 when it last hosted a PGA TOUR event (the Quicken Loans National) are advised to start anew with notes.
Integrating overhead visuals made available by the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, with old photographs on site at Aronimink, Hanse pursued reclaiming the test that Ross intended. The result is as pure a journey back in time as any aficionado of golf would want.
Wider fairways framed by four-inch primary rough and sizable but undulating greens will force strategic placement tee to green on the stock par 70.
The most noticeable updating concerns the bunkers. There are now 176 across the property. That's an increase of 102 since 2011. While Hanse renewed size and structure of the hazards to reconnect with the original build, many of the bunkers added were positioned relevant to today's muscle off the tee. The aggregate of the ball-striking premium will benefit shot-shapers and the best course managers.
At 7,267 yards, Aronimink is 30 yards longer than when it hosted the QLN twice. Nine holes were lengthened, but five by nine yards or fewer. The par-4 18th was stretched the longest. Its measurement of 463 yards reflects an increase of 27 yards. Only the par-5 ninth remains unchanged at 605 yards. The 556-yard 16th hole is the par 5 on the inward side.
Despite the premium of keeping the ball where it can be found easily, putting on uneven and unfamiliar surfaces ready to run up to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter will separate the contenders from the pretenders. Evidenced in both editions of the QLN, Aronimink was among the most difficult courses to nestle approaches near the hole and to convert scoring opportunities into birdies or better. With Hanse's restoration that increased the size of the targets, original hole locations were reborn. That will increase the level of difficulty of the exam upon return.
There is no cut this week, so every competitor is guaranteed 72 holes. Exactly when they will be completed isn't as sure. A reasonable risk of rain and thunderstorms populates the forecast throughout the tournament. After a warm and humid opener, daytime highs will drop about 15 degrees by Sunday when winds may increase.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the leading 30 in the FedExCup standings will qualify for the TOUR Championship where the FedExCup champion will be determined. Since the current scoring system was introduced in 2015, exactly four golfers from outside the top 30 in points entering the BMW played their way into the Playoffs finale (this year scheduled for Sept. 20-23) in every edition. Only five of the top 10s of the last three BMW Championships combined didn't advance.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton reviews and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY: Rookie Ranking, Reshuffle, Power Rankings, Sleepers, Facebook Live, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY*: One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Wednesday.