When the PGA Tour stops in Carmel, Indiana for the 2012 BMW Championship at Crooked Stick GC, Sept. 6-9, it will be the first time since the 1991 PGA Championship on that same course that the PGA Tour has held an event in Indiana. (Okay, technically the PGA Championship is staged by the PGA of America, but let’s not quibble). How much has changed in the ensuing 21 years and how will the course and the players be different?
The course? Amazingly, not so much. For the 2012 BMW Championship, Crooked Stick will play to 7516 yards, barely more than 200 yards longer than the 7289 yards for the ’91 PGA. A small change by today’s standards. But recall, at the time, the ’91 PGA was one of the longest courses in major championship history. This year, of the four par-3s, only one will be less than 200 yards. That length should mitigate somewhat the rather benign par-5s, three of which should be reachable in two by most of today’s players.
As for the players, although a handful from that ’91 championship are still active on the tour today, it’s unlikely that any of them will make the return trip to Pete Dye’s central Indiana gem for the third round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Rocco Mediate (T16), Fred Couples (T27) and Davis Love III (T32) all competed at Crooked Stick 21 years ago, but none of them are inside the top 150 in the FedEx Cup point standings as of now. To give you an idea of how far removed from that ’91 PGA Championship we are, here are the top 11 finishers behind winner John Daly: Bruce Lietzke, Jim Gallagher, Jr., Kenny Knox, Bob Gilder, Steve Richardson, David Feherty (yes, THE David Feherty), Raymond Floyd, John Huston, Steve Pate, Craig Stadler and Hal “Be the right club, today!” Sutton. How about those blast-from-the-past names, huh? Not only were most of today’s best players not even playing golf in 1991, the biggest hazard the likes of Rory McIlroy and Ricky Fowler were facing was diaper rash. By the way, that T7 for Feherty was his best finish in a major on this side of the pond. He finished T4 at the ’94 British Open.
And Daly? Well, even if he hadn’t made a mess of his life (see photo), he probably still wouldn’t be a factor at this year’s BMW.
One more big difference from 1991 to now. The winner of this year’s BMW Championship will take home nearly $1.5 million. That’s more than the total purse of $1.35 million for the ’91 PGA Championship.
See you in September.
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