At least there’s one nice thing that came out of this dreaded pandemic. Thanks to all the postponements from March through June, it necessitated an extension of the tournament season for golfers. Now the schedule of big events will carry all the way in December.
In previous years the Chicago area campaign concluded with the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship in late August, meaning golf was basically a recreational activity in these parts through the fall month and then winter set in. The other pro tours were winding down, too, with only a few smaller tournaments remaining at distant locations before their winter break.
That’s not the case now.
Locally, Illinois PGA Match Play Championship – usually the first major competition for in-state players – was contested in May. Last week, thanks to the pandemic, it was played at a new site — Elgin Country Club — with host club pro Jonathan Duppler beating two-time defending champion Garrett Chaussard of Skokie Country Club in the title match.
There’s still more to come, too.
The Illinois PGA changed both the format and site of its fourth and final major event of the season, and that’ll create a much more captivating conclusion to the Chicago season. The IPGA Player Championship will be limited to 35 players based on their rankings in the Bernardi player-of-the-year standings. They’ll play a 36-hole tournament on Oct. 5-6 at Conway Farms, in Lake Forest with the coveted player-of-the-year honor on the line.
Conway has hosted more than its share of tpp level amateur tournaments over the years and was also the site of three BMW Championships. Holding the season finale there can only help the event.
Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau’s win in the U.S. Open on Sunday at New York’s Winged Foot course was only the second major championship of 2020. The Masters, postponed in April, is still to come, in November.
The women’s tour will play its biggest events even later than that. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, at Aronimink in Pennsylvania, is Oct. 8-11 and the U.S. Women’s Open, in Houston, is Dec. 10-13.
HERE AND THERE
Last week’s U.S. Open coincided with the season-ending broadcast of the Golfers on Golf Radio show, which had a 22-week run on WCPT-820 AM. The weekly Ziehm & Spears Podcast Series, which has 27 shows this season, will continue through the bulk of the tournament play.
Next big event on the Illinois PGA calendar is the Illinois Senior Open, at Royal Fox in St. Charles on Sept. 28-29.
DeChambeau’s run-away win in the U.S. Open had an Illinois connection. Before turning pro he won the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields and his first PGA Tour victory came at the 2017 John Deere Classic.
East Peoria’s Tim Sheppard was the champion in the Chicago District Golf Association’s final major event of 2020. He won the 34th Illinois State Senior Amateur at Mt. Hawley in Peoria, beating Taylorville’s Dave Ryan by six shots. The CDGA season ends on Oct. 8 with the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball at Aurora Country Club.