This Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend a practice round for the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver - the first PGA tour event in the Denver area since the International at nearby Castle Pines closed shop in 2006. Cherry Hills is a storied course that has hosted three US Opens, including the 1960 US Open - considered by golf historians one of the greatest tournaments ever. That championship featured Arnold Palmer coming back from seven strokes behind on the final day to win, edging out golf legend Ben Hogan and a young Jack Nicklaus.
Arnold Palmer's 1960 victory is still remembered fondly around the course, including this plaque at tee box #1. Palmer was to drive the green and make a birdie on this 345 yard par 4 hole. Could today's golfers perform the same feat?
We were fortunate to find a viewing balcony immediately behind the first tee. The format this day was a "pro-am", with a PGA tour pro playing 18 holes with three amateur partners. The amateurs paid $12,000 each for this privilege! Here PGA Pro Henrik Stenson meets his playing companions.
The best drive we saw this day was from Sergio Garcia, who hit a powerful shot to the green, 345 yards away. "Best shot of the day," said a Cherry Hills official monitoring the first tee.
Sergio's Spanish heritage was evident from his choice of golf club covers on his bag!
The highlight of the day was the opportunity to follow the number one golfer in the World around the course for a few holes - Ireland's Rory Mcilroy!
We could get very close to Rory during his round. Though small in stature compared to some of the other players we saw, no one can hit a golf ball farther than Rory.
It was fun to see Rory's long tee shots from behind.
I also enjoyed seeing some of the legendary holes at Cherry Hills. Here is the island green on hole 17. Ben Hogan hit into the water on this hole ending his hopes of winning the 1960 Open.
I hope the BMW Tournament will lead to the PGA Tour returning to the Denver area for future tournaments. I have a feeling Cherry Hills will host another US Open or PGA Championship some day, now that the course has been modified for today's big hitters.