The First Look: BMW Championship
August 22, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Jon Rahm’s Round 4 highlights from BMW
The PGA TOUR heads to Baltimore for the first time since 1962 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… Tony Finau moved into pole position in the FedExCup with his final-round 65 and playoff victory over Cameron Smith at THE NORTHERN TRUST. World No. 1 Rahm moved from fifth to second after bogeying two of the last four holes 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 announced he will miss the BMW Championship with double pneumonia… 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.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,000 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Caves 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… Alex Noren (T4, 91 to 43), Erik van Rooyen (7th, 76 to 45), Tom Hoge (T4, 108 to 48), Harold Varner III (T11, 72 to 56), Keith Mitchell (T8, 101 to 63) and Harry Higgs (T16, 80 to 69) all played their way into the top 70 at THE NORTHERN TRUST. Meanwhile, all six players who moved out of the top 70 (Matthew Wolff, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Martin Laird, Troy Merritt and J.T. Poston) missed the cut at Liberty National… Phil Mickelson, who also missed the cut at THE NORTHERN TRUST, is FedExCup No. 70 and the last man to get into the BMW. He still has at least one more week to impress U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker and earn a potential pick…The FedExCup points leader after the first two Playoffs events will begin the TOUR Championship at 10 under par.
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.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: 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)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes). Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (Featured Groups), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).