August 31, 2018
It seems like ages since the PGA Tour was last in the Philly area, and well, it was. For the first time since 2013, the best in the world will ascend on the burbs as Newtown Square's historic Aroninimk Golf Club will host the BMW Championship starting on September 6.
Which also means golf fans will be trekking to the course, which last held a pro tournament in 2011, en masse this weekend to watch Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and the rest of golf's greats as they look to fight for a Fed Ex Cup crown.
Who better to give the lay of the land on the course, which is the home of third of four playoff tournaments, than a local caddy who walks the thousands of yards all year long?
"Theres a spot behind No. 7 tee," P.T. Mortell, a caddy at Aronimink for the last eight years, said. "If you're on 7 tee, you can see the guys coming up from 6 green, you can see the guys coming up on 4... I think one of the best spots will be right between 8 and 10 right where those grandstands are. Anywhere in that area from 16 green, 9 tee, 17 tee all right in there, you can see probably five holes right there with the players coming by.
"Another one might be in the back corner by 5, 12 and 13."
"It's long," Mortell said." It's about 6,600 from the normal blue tees but will be right around 7,200 and change for the pros. If this course is playing soft, if they don't get that roll out — a lot of those guys carry the ball between 290 and 300 — being 7,200 for a par 70 course will be tough. Obviously they're pros, they can put the ball where they want to but you have to stay in the fairway. If you get that ball anywhere out of the first cut of the fairway, the rough it thick."
"All the caddies here will caddy the Pro Am Wednesday. The pros definitely ask 'hey, what's going on? How does this break?' and that's what they should do. We know the course, we are here every day, we know every hole — the angles to the pins, how you should leave it, this is the easiest putt going to this pin. Most of them seek out some local knowledge."
"They do not be long. I say that to everyone. Every green slopes from back to front and you don't want that little chip coming back away from the green."
"My initial winning number was in between 15 and 20-under par," Mortell, a native of the Scranton area, said, "based on previous BMW Championship scores and I think, going back to the AT&T National [also held at Aronimink] in 2011, after the first two days I think the lead was at maybe 7-under.
"They came in, the PGA they watered down the greens and cut down the rough and the course record was set several times that day."
The record of 62 was set by Nick Watney in 2011.
"There's a lot of room," the caddy said of the wide open and spread our Donald Ross layout at Aronimink. "You have places like Merion from 2013, it's really compact thats why they had to limit tickets. I heard they're expecting 35 to 40,000 spectators per day. I can see that possibly growing a little bit. Philly loves their sports plus Tiger and all the big names will be here. Philadelphia has some of the best golf in the world in a 40-to-50 mile radius. There will plenty of interest."
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