The PGA TOUR has named the BMW Championship its Tournament of the Year for 2012.
Conducted by the Western Golf Association, the 2012 BMW Championship raised $3.1 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation, the WGA's 82-year-old sister organization, which has been sending caddies-to-college since 1930.
The penultimate event in the FedExCup Playoffs, the BMW Championship was one of the top attended tournaments on the PGA TOUR in 2012, attracting more than 143,000 spectators to Crooked Stick Golf Club outside Indianapolis. Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, won the BMW Championship for the first time and was recently was named PGA TOUR Player of the Year.
"On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am pleased to acknowledge and congratulate the BMW Championship and the Western Golf Association on an outstanding event and to recognize the tournament team for its outstanding efforts," said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR executive vice-president and chief of operations. "The Western Golf Association and title sponsor BMW should be extremely proud of being recognized as the best among their peers on the TOUR."
Pazder said the event's successful tournament activation, ticket and corporate sales, attention to detail, and player amenities all played a significant role in its earning Tournament-of-the-Year status. The award was presented Thursday at the PGA TOUR Tournament Meetings in La Quinta, Calif.
"On behalf of BMW of North America and the Western Golf Association, I would like to thank the PGA TOUR for honoring the BMW Championship as Tournament of the Year," said Western Golf Association vice president of tournaments Vince Pellegrino. "The PGA TOUR co-sponsors more than 40 outstanding events each season, and to be singled out from among this esteemed group is truly humbling.
"Much of the credit for this honor should go to BMW, because its unparalleled commitment to excellence sets high standards for the event at every level of execution," Pellegrino said. "The support BMW provides is unique among sports marketing partners. The WGA and Evans Scholars Foundation are grateful to have BMW as our sponsor."
BMW leveraged its sponsorship in numerous ways, including providing BMW owners many benefits such as complimentary tickets, exclusive parking and shuttle transportation on-site, concierge service, as well as, private hospitality areas featuring some of the best views of the course. In addition, tournament patrons were treated to a 10,000 square foot BMW Experience interactive area, dynamic BMW vehicle displays, and premium concession and merchandise areas, the TOUR noted.
The WGA also succeeded in its multi-tiered integration of the tournament's charitable mission, the TOUR said. For example, Evans Scholar alumni – many of whom graduated from college decades ago - served as caddies in the Monday and Wednesday Pro-Am events - and donated their tips to the Evans Scholars Foundation. Additionally, BMW awarded a four-year scholarship to the Evans Scholars Foundation when Steve Stricker recorded a Hole-in-One on the sixth hole during the tournament's second round.
Current and past Evans Scholars also greeted fans at the tournament entry gates and provided information about the program.
Corporate hospitality sales were highly successful thanks in part to Corporate Supporter Workshops leading up to the tournament. Prior to the event, tournament sales and support teams scheduled a private venue walk-through with individual corporate hospitality customer representatives. During the tournament, each venue was staffed with hospitality liaisons to ensure all needs were met.
Players had the opportunity to test drive some of BMW's newest vehicles throughout the week along with a unique "BMW Driving Experience." BMW also staged a table tennis exhibition for PGA TOUR players to challenge Timothy Wang, who competed as a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Table Tennis Team in London.
The BMW Championship also was named Tournament of the Year in 2008, when Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis hosted the event.
The 2013 BMW Championship is set for September 9-15 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.