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BMW Championship buzz already high with tournament six months away | Golf Insider

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By Abhishek Published 2 months ago 3 min read
BMW Championship buzz already high with tournament six months away | Golf Insider
Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

Exactly six months from Thursday, 50 of the best PGA Tour golfers will be in Colorado playing at Castle Pines Golf Club.

And the preparation for the BMW Championship is well underway.

The week of Aug. 20-26, PGA Tour golf returns to Colorado for the first time since 2014 when the same tournament was played at Cherry Hills Country Club. Billy Horschel won that week with a 14-under-par score.

BMW Championship tournament director Vince Pellegrino, who was at Cherry Hills in 2014, says the response to this year's event has been unbelievable.

"The biggest area that we focus on at the beginning is volunteerism," Pellegrino told The Denver Gazette. "We need over 2,200 volunteers to help execute the championship. The response we received immediately was overwhelming for us. We had over 2,000 volunteers in a couple of weeks, which was unheard of and unprecedented.

Pellegrino mentioned how strong the community has been as well. The tournament started out with a certain number of hospitality units on holes 16-18 but have had to double those units due to the response. Ticket sales are also breaking records.

"I think it goes to show you that it's a golf-starved market and a market that really embraces the sport," Pellegrino said. "We have had a record number of tickets sold to date for this championship versus all of our other BMW championships.

Castle Pines hosted The International from 1986-2006, but since then the Denver area has not been part of the PGA Tour's rotation. Winners of The International included major champions Phil Mickelson (twice), Davis Love III (twice), Retief Goosen, Rich Beem, Ernie Els, David Toms, Vijay Singh, Lee Janzen, José María Olazábal and Greg Norman.

"Castle Pines is an incredible course and we've got a lot of support for the Evans Scholars Foundation at the club," Pellegrino said. "The chairman of the club, George Solich, is an Evans scholar alum which was important to us.

"Since they hosted The International, which ended in 2006, they've wanted to have a championship there. I think you know it was a nice natural fit for us to take the championship back to Denver."

In January, 11 Colorado caddies were awarded the Chick Evans scholarship. Over 1,100 Evans scholars are enrolled in 24 universities nationwide with 57 currently at the University of Colorado. All proceeds from the BMW Championship benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation.

"We're fortunate that all the proceeds of the championship do benefit the scholarship, so whether you volunteer, whether you buy merchandise or concessions at the championship or tickets or corporate hospitality, all the proceeds will benefit the charity," Pellegrino, who was an Evans scholar himself, said.

When the players come to Castle Pines, they will have played the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., the week before. It will be quite a change from the hot and humid weather of Memphis to the dry heat and elevation of Colorado.

"I think that (the altitude) poses a challenge," Pellegrino said. "I think the players that are going to take the time to invest in coming out to the golf course ahead of time to get a feel for that."

Castle Pines fit the profile of a BMW Championship course, Pellegrino said. The area can handle the heavy traffic and has the amenities to host a PGA Tour event.

"It's a competition where we want to be able to test the best fifty players in the world on a world class stage. That's a really important factor," he said.

"And Castle Pines has that."

Colorado, the No. 2 seed, defeatebeat top-seeded Cal State Fullerton in a competitive final match at the Wyoming Desert Match Play on Tuesday, 4-1-1, on the 7,376-yard, par-72 Players Course at the Indian Wells Golf Resort in California.

Before winning the tournament this year, the Buffs finished fifth in 2022 and second last year.

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