October 2, 2017 By: Matt Mullin – By the time they tee off at Aronimink Golf Club next September, it will have been over five years since the world’s top golfers have descended on the Philadelphia region – the U.S. Open was played at Merion back in 2013 – and six years since they last played the 120-year-old track Newtown Square.
But in 2018, the PGA Tour will return to the area, and will do so in a big way.
The BMW Championship, the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup, features the top 70 golfers in the standings. And next year, from September 4-9, they’ll battle it out at Aronimink as they compete for one of the 30 spots in the Tour Championship.
“We’re pleased to be bringing the world’s top golfers to Aronimink and the Delaware Valley’s tremendous golf fan base,” said Vince Pellegrino, Western Golf Association senior vice president of tournaments. “The club has hosted some of golf’s finest championships, but it’s been more than six years since it last hosted a PGA TOUR event. We’re looking forward to the energy and excitement the 2018 BMW Championship will generate.”
Previously, Aronimink has hosted the PGA Championship (1962), U.S. Amateur (1977), Senior PGA Championship (2003) and AT&T National (2010, 2011).
But this will be the first time the BMW Championship will be played there. It also marks the first time the event will take place in the state of Pennsylvania since 1959, when Mike Souchak edged out Arnold Palmer by one stroke at the Pittsburgh Field Club.
In anticipation, the course is making some changes, according to the press release:
To prepare for the BMW Championship, Aronimink has been restoring the course to its original 1928 Donald Ross American parkland design. Under the direction of noted course architect Gil Hanse, based in nearby Malvern, Aronimink has increased the number of bunkers (75 to 176) and restored greens and fairway areas to their original dimensions to return the course to its 1928 layout.
One example of restored greens is on the 15th hole, a long par-4, where an additional 25-to-30 feet has been added to the back of the green to restore a “punch bowl” effect. Also underway is the restoration of the tee boxes to Ross’ original free-form, “amoeba-like” design. The Donald Ross-designed course is consistently rated one of the finest in the United States.
“Aronimink looks forward to welcoming fans near and far to join us at the 2018 BMW Championship for a week of drama, fun and world-class golf,” said Aronimink president Joe Fabrizio. “When spectators arrive on the grounds next September, they will find a fully restored course that is among the most challenging and celebrated in the country.”
Originally called the Western Open, the BMW Championship (founded in 1899) is the third-oldest on the PGA Tour behind only the British Open and the U.S. Open. This year, Marc Leishman won the event, which was played at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forrest, Ill. Other past winners include Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, who won the 2013 Open at Merion, and Tiger Woods.
And if you’re a Penn State fan – or just a fan of golf in general – there’s extra incentive to purchase a ticket to the 2018 BMW Championship (which can be done, here).
Proceeds from the event will go towards the Platt Evans Scholarship fund, which will help low-income caddies attend Penn State and establish a scholarship house in State College, where the scholarship recipients will live together.
Since 2007, the BMW Championships has raised more than $26 million for student scholarships.