This week: Quicken Loans and BMW International Open
So, I took last week off because I didn’t think I needed to tell anyone to watch the U.S. Open, and it turns out I was right! Fox was great, Oakmont was in impeccable condition as per usual, the USGA completely lost the plot and we had great golf. It would have earned ten Miller heads before the tournament started, and after the fact, it absolutely earned ten Millers.
In case you haven’t seen these previews before, I come at them from the standpoint of whether or not it’s worth your time to tune in based on a variety of factors. Field strength, TV schedule (North America) and the course are the three main factors at play when discussing the watchability of each event, along with whatever notes I can dig up that contributes to its quality. Each event is then given a Miller score (because Johnny Miller really is the best) out of ten. I usually only focus on the PGA and European Tours because that’s where my knowledge tends to sit.
This week: The Quicken Loans National and the BMW International Open.
- Event: Quicken Loans National
- Course: Congressional CC – Blue Course (1924 – Devereux Emmet, with a redesign in 1957 by Robert Trent Jones and Rees Jones in 1989 and 2006)
- Location: Bethesda, Maryland
- Five Consensus Favourites: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman and Justin Thomas
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (CBS)
- Sunday: 1:00 to 2:30 PM ET (Golf Channel) and 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM ET (CBS)
The Quicken Loans event, run annually by Tiger Woods and his foundation, usually has no problem attracting a quality field but 2016 seems to be a bit of a departure in this area as the pickings get mighty slim after the first few big names. Why is the field weaker in 2016? My guess is that the Olympics have a whole lot to do with it, as the schedule has been flipped around this year and as a result, events like this one end up taking the hit so players can try and be fresh for the majors and WGC events. The best example of this is going to be the RBC Canadian Open in a few weeks, as it got sandwiched in between the Open Championship and PGA Championship, pretty much ensuring that unless a player is Canadian, repped by RBC or just loves to play golf way too much, they aren’t going to be teeing it up. Having said that, there are some positives to take away here.
Congressional is a solid course that usually produces a quality winner whether it’s in this event, or others that it has hosted along the way. Here’s a look at prior winners on the course:
We’re looking at the regular broadcast hours with Golf Channel and CBS, with the one potential wrinkle that you’ll likely see Tiger in the booth at some point during the week, which is always enjoyable. In these situations when he gets to talk about the course and the players in the field, he tends to open up and show how intelligent he is and he’s always a welcome addition to the broadcast. The field isn’t the best, but there’s enough here that it’s worth your time, especially if some of the top names are in contention down the stretch.
The Quicken Loans National earns a score of 6 Millers out of 10.
- Event: BMW International Open
- Course: Golf Club Gut Laerchenhof (1997 – Jack Nicklaus)
- Location: Pulheim, Germany
- Five Consensus Favourites: Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Joost Luiten and Andy Sullivan
- TV Schedule:
- Thursday: 5:30 AM to 7:30 AM ET & 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday: 5:30 AM to 7:30 AM ET & 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 7:30 AM ET to 11:30 AM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday: 6:30 AM ET to 11:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
So, the first thing that stands out about the BMW International Open is that like most European Tour events these days, the field is very top heavy. Of the five consensus favourites up top, the first three are guaranteed locks for the Ryder Cup in September, and Andy Sullivan is likely going to be there as well. After that, you get your usual crew of intriguing European Tour players like Thorbjorn Olesen, Nicolas Colsaerts, Bernd Wiesberger and on down the line, but the field is pretty thin overall. The course, as you can see above, was designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1997 and when doing some research about it, you get reminded that a lot of people aren’t overly fond of Nicklaus, the course designer.
There is some super, super interesting business stuff around the course though, with a financial scandal a few years ago that almost ruined the course entirely. Other than that, I can’t envision the course being enough of a driver to watch. The tough thing of course is that if you live in North America, the broadcast times are going to be your enemy, at least until you get to the weekend and as much as I enjoy watching Sergio, Stenson, Sullivan and a few others, I wouldn’t stop doing other stuff to watch the event this week.
The BMW International Open earns a score of 5 Millers out of 10.