It’s 7,615 yards and forever known as one of America’s sternest, if severely bland at times, championship courses. No one in their right mind wanted to play Medinah with money on the line.
At least, that was before golfers started traveling with their Peloton’s, harvesting their own pumpkin seeds and getting 8 hours of sleep every night to become the world’s most superior athletes.
Medinah’s successful hosting of the 2019 BMW Championship may go down as the tournament studied to determine if equipment and technology have just chipped away too much at skill. Yes, it’s in immaculate condition, the course took on nearly two inches of rain during the week and the best golfers on the planet descended with their game’s in that August sweet spot where they hit it longer and better than at any point of the year.
Still, consider that just 69 players a day were going around the place and they averaged 69.928, placing Medinah near the bottom of PGA Tour courses in terms of difficulty (see above jpg), ahead of just six courses. (Imagine telling someone in 1990 that PGA West Stadium and Medinah would be among the easiest courses PGA Tour players saw all year.)
Some comparisons, and remember the first two rounds of the 2019 BWM featured half as many players as the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships at Medinah.
1999 PGA 73.524 scoring average
2006 PGA: 72.635 average
2019 BWM: 69.928 average
In 1999, the par-5 5th played to a 4.766 average, with 2 eagles, 154 birdies.
In 2006, it went down to a 4.567 average, and yielded 12 eagles and 209 birdies.
In 2019 the fifth averaged 4.304, yielded 21 eagles and 155 birdies even with only a 69-player field.
On the back nine, in 1999 the 607-yard 14th averaged 4.926, with 3 eagles, 103 birdies
2006: 4.951 with 3 eagles and 109 birdies
2019: 4.790 4 eagles 80 birdies, again with a greatly reduced field.
The most bizarre BMW stat for a course of Medinah’s once-vaunted difficulty: teh par-3 8th was the sixth most difficult hole, with a 2.986 scoring average.