MinLast tournament of the year! Only 30 players left at East Lake (excluding Hunter Mahan who said screw it and is playing over in Europe this week). Who’s gonna win? Will the $10 million giant check that I assume the winner gets fit in their pocket? What does Morgan Pressel look like in a video game? Find out below!
About the Sponsor
Compared to pretty much every other sponsor on the PGA Tour, Coca-Cola has got to seem like the odd one out. I mean we got insurance companies, we got car companies, we got banks, and we got … soda?
I suppose it fits because Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta, and they they are sitting on an pile of cash with a market cap of over 168B. Geez who knew you could make that much money in soda?
Well obviously Coca-Cola isn’t going to put all it’s carbonation in a drink that goes well with whiskey, so I looked up some of the other ways they make dat money. They own a couple other brands of beverage, including Minute Maid, Sprite, and Barq’s, but by far the most interesting way Coke has made money is by buying Columbia Pictures in 1982 for $692 million and selling it in 1989 to Sony for $3 billion. Not a bad return for 7 years. In reality though, I guess Coke is just one of those brands the pretty much everyone everywhere likes. And the fact that they distribute in 200 countries doesn’t hurt.
So this past Friday, thanks to a boss with a mini cooper and too busy of a schedule, I was able to head out to Conway Farms and check out second round action at the BMW Championship. What follows is an account of the happenings interspersed with observations from the first Tour event I’ve been to in person in a surprisingly long time. Also note the lack of clickbait in the title of this. I easily could have called it “15 Observations from the BMW Championship You Won’t Believe”. But I didn’t and I should get credit for that.
Observation 1 — There are an impressive amount of brand new BMWs parked in spots you wouldn’t really expect to see parked BMWs
I’m really just realizing this out now, and wish I had made a pictorial account of all the cars on the property. When walking into the tournament grounds, you’re greeted with a couple BMWs on this track with a giant hill in the middle that’s supposed show how versatile a BMW is even though, let’s face it, these things are only going to be used to drive around the suburbs after dropping off the kids to private school.
Then there was the BMW in a glass cage in the main area near the practice facility like it was an animal in a zoo. Then there’s the BMW (or two I can’t remember) on the platform of the BMW owner’s box. The only thing that was missing was a giant lake with a car floating in the middle. Though since I didn’t see the whole course, there very well could have been.
Observation 2 — It’s probably a good idea to check if the tee times have been moved up because of possible weather.
Dumb me only looked on Tuesday and saw that tee times started at about 10:30 (since it’s only a field of 70) and planned the day around that. Well because of possible storms later, they bumped the times up a couple hours and everyone was off by the time we got there. Not the end of the world, but range and warm ups are fun to watch cause the swings are so damn pretty.
Observation 3 — The percentage of people in the BMW Owners Area who actually owned a BMW had to be about 41%
Since I work for a prediction market company, and deal with making forecasts on a daily basis, I figure I’ll go through my analysis in coming to this decently precise number.
First, the only thing that you need to get in that area is a BMW key, and with that you’re allowed to bring one guest with you. So right there, the prior probability is 50% in that one of those people actually owns the BMW, and the other is probably related, but not on the title.
Only two weeks left in the season, we’re down to 70 players left as well. No cut, only the best, who’s gonna come out on top in Chicago?
About the Sponsor
I’ll be honest, in my 25 years, I never once thought to myself, “I wonder what BMW stands for.” So if anyone out there knows off the top of their head, I’ll be impressed. For everyone else, it stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke. In American, Bavarian Motor Works, which makes complete sense.
As with many older companies in Europe, BMW became BMW in part because the result of one of the world wars. When Rapp Motorenwerke was forced to restructure following the treaty that ended WWI, they ceased making aircraft engines, and shifted towards motorcycle and automobile engines. This treaty didn’t do much good, since when WWII rolled around, they were back to making aircraft engines again.
The rest of its history is littered with buying little car companies and stuffing their engines in them, to put it mildly. Which is really kind of interesting because it shows that BMW isn’t really a car company, but rather an engine company. I kind of wonder how many other car companies are really different behind the veil. Guess more of them are going to have to sponsor golf tournaments for me to find out.
About the Tournament
The rich history of the BMW Championship goes all the way back to … 2007, the first year of the FedEx Cup. Well not really, since it’s merely renamed version of the actually storied Western Open which dates back to 1899. The BMW is still run by the Western Golf Association, but really it isn’t the same event at all.
Back in the good old Western Open days, it was a “normal” PGA tour event, but was considered top tier. Tiger won it 3 times when it was the Western Open, and if you’re getting Tiger to play, it’s automatically top tier (except maybe this year’s Fry’s). For the most part, the Western Open was played at Cog Hill (Dubs Dread) in the Chicago area, which has now undergone a facelift in hopes of getting a US Open in the future.