Aug 4, 2023 - Sports

The PGA swings into Chicago's South Suburbs

The 18th hole at Olympia Fields Country Club. Photo courtesy of the BMW Championship

The PGA returns to greater Chicago this month for a huge tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Why it matters: The BMW Championship will feature 50 of the world's top golfers, including Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.

The intrigue: The tournament is back at Olympia Fields for the first time since 2020, when — due to the pandemic — golfers competed on the course without fans in attendance.

Context: The event has been taking place for over a century, under various names including the Western Amateur or the Western Open.

  • It's produced by the Western Golf Association (WGA), located here.
  • The WGA puts proceeds toward the Evans Scholarship, which sends caddies to college.

What they're saying: "We date back to 1899 with the championship, so coming back home is extremely important," WGA's Vince Pellegrino tells Axios. Pellegrino not only gives out the Evans scholarships, but he was a recipient when he was younger.

  • "Caddying is the best summer job a kid can have," he says. "You learn to value hard work, and you learn how to communicate with successful people."
The BMW Championship trophy on display at Olympia Fields Country Club. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Zoom out: The Chicago area has several great golf courses that have hosted PGA previous events, including Medinah and Cog Hill in Lemont.

Yes, but: The Olympia Fields Country Club's "North Course" is considered one of the best in the country, beloved by professionals like Illinois' own Nick Hardy, who will be competing.

  • "You can't really fake it around there," Hardy said about the course at a recent press conference. "You got to play really strong tee to green. I think it requires a great all-around game."

What's next: The BMW Championship takes place Aug. 17-20.

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