Western Golf Association officials have announced that the 2020 BMW Championship hosted at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois, raised more than $800,000 for caddie scholarships despite the absence of spectators due to COVID-19. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has contributed $36 million to help provide full-tuition and housing scholarships for more than 3,000 deserving caddies.
“During this season of giving, we’re proud to announce the contribution of all proceeds from the BMW Championship to the Evans Scholars Foundation, a deserving cause,” said Vince Pellegrino, WGA senior vice president of tournaments. “We were extremely fortunate this past year to have benefited from the generosity of our partners at BMW, Olympia Fields and the PGA TOUR. The efforts and hard work of everyone involved helped us overcome the many obstacles we faced due to the pandemic and to once again give back by funding college scholarships for caddies.”
Conducted the week of August 24-30 by the WGA, the 2020 BMW Championship continued the tradition of raising funds for its sole beneficiary, the Evans Scholars Foundation. Due to the impact of the global pandemic, the 2020 BMW Championship joined with many other professional sports events in being held without spectators, a move that allowed the competition to occur but did result in greatly decreased revenue. In comparison, the 2019 BMW Championship attended by an estimated 130,000 spectators raised a record $4.4 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation.
“We went from planning for our usual 125,000-plus spectators to closing the event to all but the essential participants – players and their caddies, tournament officials and volunteers,” Pellegrino noted. “BMW and the PGA TOUR responded by creating fun, one-of-a-kind events to showcase the BMW Championship and its great history, like the Wednesday Match Play Challenge. In addition, Olympia Fields’ members stepped up by handling all volunteer duties, and ensuring the players felt no difference than any other year. In the end, the efforts of everyone involved are helping 1,045 young men and women better their lives through higher education as Evans Scholars attending 19 leading universities nationwide.”
To help offset the lower revenue and create an opportunity to generate additional support for the Evans Scholars, the first-ever BMW Match Play Challenge was held on Wednesday, Aug. 26. The televised nine-hole charity exhibition was played on the back nine of Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course. Bryson DeChambeau, who won the 2020 U.S. Open in September, and four-time PGA TOUR winner Kevin Na defeated 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa and fellow California alum Max Homa in a six-point Scotch Match. The event raised nearly $200,000 for the Evans Scholars Foundation.
Despite the pandemic, the continued interest and support of the 2020 event has given the WGA, BMW and PGA TOUR further reasons to be excited about the 2021 BMW Championship, to be held at Caves Valley Golf Club next August – the first PGA TOUR event in the Baltimore area in 60 years.
“With BMW’s continued support – and the enthusiasm we’re seeing in Maryland and throughout the East Coast – we’re looking forward to another successful BMW Championship,” Pellegrino added. “The excitement shown by the Baltimore-area golf community around Caves Valley is something we can’t wait to see. And we hope and expect to be welcoming our usual thousands of spectators to see first-hand what the BMW Championship is all about.”
Caves Valley, in Owings Mills, Maryland, will host the BMW Championship from August 24-29, 2021, marking the first time the event has been held in Maryland. For individual tickets and corporate hospitality options, visit https://bmwchampionship.com/.
The BMW Championship features the top 70 players in the FedExCup standings as they compete for the J.K. Wadley Trophy and a spot in the season-ending TOUR Championship. Past champions include Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods.
About the BMW Championship
The BMW Championship dates back to 1899 when it debuted as the Western Open, making it the third-oldest tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule, behind only the British Open and U.S. Open. BMW has sponsored the tournament since 2007 when it became the penultimate event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs. The BMW Championship features a field of the top 70 players in the FedExCup standings to determine the final 30 players for the FedExCup final at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has contributed more than $36 million to the Evans Scholars Foundation, the event’s charitable beneficiary. To learn more, visit bmwchampionship.com.
About the Western Golf Association
The Western Golf Association conducts six national golf championships and sponsors the nationally acclaimed Evans Scholars Foundation. Headquartered in Glenview, Illinois, the organization was founded in 1899 by 11 Chicago-area golf clubs to promote their interests in golf. In addition to the BMW Championship on the PGA TOUR and the Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour, the WGA conducts four prestigious amateur championships, the Western Amateur, the Western Junior, and the Women’s Western Golf Association’s Amateur and Junior championships.
About the Evans Scholars Foundation
Established by the WGA and famed amateur golfer Charles Chick Evans Jr., the Evans Scholars Foundation provides full housing and tuition scholarships to high-achieving caddies across the country. Currently, a record 1,045 caddies are enrolled in 19 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars. The Program, which is supported by the WGA, is funded by contributions from more than 33,000 Par Club members, including Evans Scholars Alumni, as well as proceeds from the BMW Championship. Since the Program’s inception in 1930, more than 11,320 caddies nationwide have graduated as Evans Scholars. To learn more, visit wgaesf.org.