2018 BMW Championship
The Golf Association of Philadelphia is well-represented at Aronimink Golf Club, site of this week’s BMW Championship. Staff members and volunteers alike are involved in the event, from hole marshals to course greeters and everything in between. Website coverage will be provided throughout the week in the “BMW Championship Blog.” The Communications department chronicles its activities in a journal listed below.
What a day at Aronimink. Round Two is in the books. Xander Schauffele is your leader through 27 holes after backing up a 7-under-par 63 with a 6-under-par 64 Friday. That mark is one shy of the best opening 36-hole score on the PGA TOUR this season.
Crowds growing, energy flowing as the tournament heads into the weekend. We again spotted a number of familiar Golf Association of Philadelphia faces on the grounds today. Five-time reigning Super-Senior Player of the Year Don Donatoni, fresh off a Super-Senior victory in the 48th Senior Amateur Championship earlier this week, was stationed on No. 12 tee this morning. Former GAP President Robert M. Morey (2015-17) served as a spotter on No. 10. Not to mention a litany of other tournament volunteers and players alike roaming the ropes, soaking in the action and showing their support of a championship in their backyard. Furthermore, club support is a noticeable thus far at Aronimink; We’ve seen logos from Philadelphia Cricket Club to Galloway National Golf Club and every GAP Member Club in between.
We jumped on interviews with a couple of players following their rounds Friday. Tony Finau carded a 6-under-par 64 to vault up the leaderboard and to continue his case for a spot on the Ryder Cup team. He addressed that very situation afterwards.
“Xander’s an incredible player, and I’ve played some good golf. It’s not really coincidence — just two great players playing well at the right time. I’ve got a chance to win this golf tournament. Obviously, Xander is out front, and I’m going to have some catching up to do over the weekend. This is a golf course where I feel I could do that, with how receptive it’s become after some rain, you can attack it. I’m looking to do that over the weekend. If I win this golf tournament, then I know the Ryder Cup spot is mine. That’s where my attention is. I’m sure that’s where Xander’s is as well.”
Finau, a Nike athlete, was also asked about the company’s new advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.
“It definitely stands out. I’m proud to be a Nike athlete and to be associated with them. They’ve been great to me. The feeling is pretty mutual. As far as Kaepernick and all that is concerned, we all have freedom of speech; using it in a way that’s non-violent is something you have to respect as an American.”
One stroke ahead of Finau on the leaderboard is Jason Day, who also fired a 64 Friday.
“It was the first time ever that I actually hit 18 greens, which was nice. So, when you’re not chipping much or hitting shots out of the bunkers or greensides, which I’m normally doing, it definitely makes it a little bit tougher. But today was a nice, clean card, and getting to 9 under is nice. Good to get in and have a good round under the belt to go into the weekend. The course is going to play a lot longer not only with obviously the moisture but also the temperature. I think it’s 67 tomorrow and 64 on Sunday. So, the ball isn’t going to fly as far even though we are a little bit above elevation here. Still going to go considerably shorter than we had the last two days.”
Once Round Two was complete, we noticed Tiger Woods on the practice green in front of the clubhouse, working on short looks. Hopefully whatever kinks exist iron out on Saturday, for his sake — and the fans.
A final note for the day. Photography is a major part of our presence at Aronimink. Expect a captivating collection in the fall edition of the Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine.
The following is an excerpt filed by Communications Intern Dalton Balthaser regarding Woods’ performance today.
Tiger Woods has garnered golf fans’ attention at each stop made during his comeback in 2018.
But it wasn’t until his opening round of 8-under par 62 at Aronimink Golf Club in the opening round of the BMW Championship that Tiger delivered the low score people have been waiting to see.
A smoking-hot driver mixed with laser-like irons and his old Scotty gave cat his lowest opening round since the 1999 Byron Nelson (61).
Tiger’s presence is one that you hear about and try to imagine but you will never truly understand what that presence is until you are on the golf course.
You’ll know when Tiger has done something well. The gallery will erupt in delight louder than any other player’s roar. It will also moan sharply if Tiger makes a mistake and yells, “Tiger!”
The galleries were a little thin (for the usual standard) for Tiger today for plenty of reasons. It’s a Thursday with an obscenely perfuse heat that had spectators running to the concession stands for water bottles.
Those same members of the gallery were asked to borrow sunscreen from a stranger when they realized they had forgotten theirs. Oh, and also the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles open up the season at home.
Watching Tiger strut around Aronimink was a tremendous treat. His poise and precision stood out to me as well as how accessible he seems to be now to young kids looking for an autograph and fans seeking visuals of the 14-time Major champ.
I have been a fan of Tiger’s since I watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg. That was the first time I ever watched golf because no one in my family played. That Sunday/Monday in 2008 started my love affair with the game.
The 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont was my only other trip to a professional golf tournament before this week but Tiger was still injured and on the mend. This had a whole different feel.
Fans run from spot to spot and push each other around just to see Tiger take a rip with the driver and hear the sound it makes. You don’t see that for anyone else.
Like all great athletes, we should appreciate them and watch them as much as we can.
This week is a great opportunity for people in the Greater Philadelphia area and surrounding communities to do so. It is becoming more and more rare for people in this hotbed of golf to see the best players in the world compete, not due to a lack of well-respected golf courses. The next expected stops in Pennsylvania will be Oakmont, which will host the 2025 U.S. Open and Aronimink, host of the 2027 PGA Championship.
2030 could be Merion’s time again after hosting the 2013 U.S. Open. 2030 is historically significant as it is the 100th anniversary of Bobby Jones’ U.S. Amateur victory that gave him the career Grand Slam.
They are few and far between. Just like legends of sport. Which is why we should enjoy them while we can.
The PGA TOUR Communications team announced that tee times for Friday are moved up two hours due to the forecast. Expect groups to tee off from 7 to 9 a.m. Also, more to come on Tiger Woods’ sensational 8-under-par 62 later.
Side note: lots of Philadelphia Eagles attire in the gallery. Those in attendence showing their fandom prior to tonight’s game.
Tiger Woods teed off at 11:30 a.m. amid a significant gallery of supporters, as one may expect. He birdied two of his first three holes and is a shot off the lead. Still early but exciting to see all eyes on cat.
Spotted numerous Golf Association of Philadelphia tournament players and volunteers in the gallery thus far. Seen among the crowd: two-time BMW Philadelphia Amateur champion Chris Anderson (1982-83) of Wilmington Country Club. Anderson is one of only nine individuals to win consecutive titles.
GAP volunteer Don Rittenhouse is one of many offering his services to the championship. He is assigned to the Beau Hossler/Alex Noren/Brendan Steele group, which tees off at 1:09 p.m. today.
The PGA TOUR modified its tee times for Thursday and Friday due to predicted inclement weather.
Groups are starting off both tees beginning at 11:19 a.m. and going through 1:09 p.m.
BMW Championship Pairings.
AGC is starting to bustle. Lots of fans onsite watching the Gardner-Heidrick Pro-Am. All the PGA TOUR guys have been accomdating, signing autographs throughout.
Lots of familiar faces volunteering and playing. GAP Volunteer of the Year Muffy McCabe of Philly Country is scoring for the Beau Hossler group. Also GAP volunteer John VanDame, Jr. of Talamore is doing the same for the Mark Peterson/Francesco Molinari group. GAP Hall of Famer Buddy Marucci is playing with Jason Day. Llanerch’s Stephen Seiden teed it up with Bryson DeChambeau this morning and Kevin McDermott, also of Llanerch, and Steve McCarthy of Rolling Green drew Brian Harman. Platt Chairman Jon Warner and huge GAP supporter Ron Jaworski are teamed with Chez Reavie. The home team Aronimink group is playing with Jordan Spieth.
There is a pretty good flow for the crowd to get around. There are a lot crossovers and should make for a fan-friendly experience.
Busy night at the National Constitution Center. Platt Evans Scholar Stephen Arechabala of Merion Golf Club gives a sensational speech about how the Scholarship has changed his life; J. Wood Platt inducted into Caddie Hall of Fame and GAP Executive Director Mark Peterson draws Francesco Molinari, the Champion Golfer of the Year, in Gardner-Heidrick Pro-Am draw. Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel served as the Master of Ceremonies and PGA Tour star Brandt Snedeker helped with the draw. Great night.
BREAKING … NBC Sports Group’s Sunday Night Football bus will visit the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in advance of NFL Kickoff 2018, when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Thursday, Sept. 6.
The Sunday Night Football bus will be positioned near the clubhouse at Aronimink Golf Club and will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for PGA TOUR players, caddies, fans and members of the media to tour. The bus will provide a closer look at the behind-the-scenes action of SNF broadcasts and will take fans from the field, to the studio and in the production trucks. Features of the bus include: an interactive replica of the control room, an interactive player wall, a Carrie Underwood music experience, a replica of the Football Night in Americadesk and an area showcasing SNF’s new initiative with the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The bus is in Philadelphia to promote NFL Kickoff 2018, as the Eagles begin their title defense. Coverage begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
As players get their first official look at Aronimink, the most important Golf Association of Philadelphia news today comes tonight when J. Wood Platt is placed in the Caddie Hall of Fame. Platt will be inducted prior to tonight’s Gardner-Heidrick Pro-Am draw at the National Constitution Center in Center City. We’ll post the press release when official but if you want to know who the legendary J. Wood Platt is take a read of the Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine from when he was inducted into the Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.