New England golf fans are once again for a special week as the PGA Tour brings the second round of its FedEx Cup playoffs to the TPC Boston Aug. 30 through Sept. 5.
The Deutsche Bank Championship will feature the top players on the FedEx Cup Points Standings, all of whom will be battling to stay in the hunt for the $10 million first place prize.
Last year’s winner, Charley Hoffman, figures to be among a select field in addition to the other top 100 players on the Fed Ex Cup Points Standings leading into the tournament. Hoffman won going away last year, finishing five shots ahead of Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald. Hoffman was 37th on this year’s Fed Ex Cup Points list after the AT&T National in early July.
The Deutsche Bank Championship began in 2003 when the PGA Tour teamed with Deutsche Bank, the Tiger Woods Foundation and IMG to create the only official Monday finish on the Tour.
Backed by the support and commitment of top local, regional and national companies, the inaugural Championship raised over $1.5 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation and local New England charities and set a record for the largest charitable contribution for a first year event in the history of the PGA Tour. Since its founding, the Deutsche Bank Championship has continued to raise well over a million dollars a year for the Tiger Woods Foundation and other charitable groups located in New England.
The tournament became part of the FedEx Cup playoffs three years ago. Players earn points at each event they compete in during the season and playoffs, with the top 125 on the FedEx Cup after end of the regular season earning the right to play in the initial playoff event, The Barclays, which will be played in Paramus, N.J.
The Deutsche Bank Championship is the second playoff event, with 100 players teeing it up following a reduction in the field based on points after the Barclays. Of that number, 30 players will be sent home when the points list is reset after the Deutsche Bank tourney to create a 70-player field for the BMW Championship, the final playoff event before the Tour Championship, at which only the top 30 players on the FedEx Cup points list will compete.
The Deutsche Bank Championship week features professional practice rounds Tuesday and Wednesday and the Championship Pro-Am on Thursday before the four-round, 72-hole event takes place Friday through Monday (Labor Day).
For tickets and other tournament information, visit www.deutschebankchampionship.com.
The number one handicap hole is the 542-yard fourth, a par-five that demands accuracy both off the tee and on the layup. The hole is made tougher by a pond that sits on the right side of the green.
Deutsche Bank Championship
Tournament Director, Eric Baldwin
Eric Baldwin serves as the Director for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which will be played Aug. 30 to Sept. 5 this year.Baldwin is also vice president of the IMG Golf Division, considered the world’s premier sports, entertainment and media company.
Under Baldwin’s leadership, the Deutsche Bank Championship became part of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup and has generated nearly $17 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation and other New England-based charities in its first seven years. The Deutsche Bank Championship is the second of the four PGA TOUR Playoff events. Baldwin has worked with the Deutsche Bank Championship since its inception in 2003. He served as the event’s Director of Operations for its first two years before assuming his current role in 2005.
GM: What new features have been added to The Deutsche Bank Championship this year?
EB: Once again, the Deutsche Bank Championship is a PGA Tour Playoff event and will have the top 100 players on the PGA Tour in our field. That said, we have added a few new options to enhance our spectator experience. The most notable is a new corporate hospitality structure located at the 17th tee called the Wedgwood Club. Corporations can entertain clients in a climate controlled setting that has great views of the 17th tee and 18th fairway and green.
College Colors Day will be new this year as well. On Friday, Sept. 2, our first round of competition, we are encouraging all fans and sponsors to wear their college colors and have fun at the Championship. This is a nationally recognized program and helps kick off the college sports season. Many of the PGA Tour players have embraced this program in the past and several have worn their college colors during the Championship.
Additionally, this will be the first year that all spectators are able to bring mobile devices to TPC Boston. Because of that, we’re working to create interactive social media applications to further increase the enjoyment for fans and make it easy to follow the action around the course on their mobile devices.
GM: Beyond the obvious (part of the FedEx Cup playoffs) what continues to make The Deutsche Bank one of the Tour’s best stops?
EB: I think there are a number of things that make our event special. One is the tremendous support we receive from our title sponsor Deutsche Bank. Their CEO Seth Waugh has been extremely involved in the planning and execution of this event since day one. He had a vision to create a very special, family-focused event during Labor Day weekend and in the first eight years the Deutsche Bank Championship has become exactly that. People look forward to this event every Labor Day weekend. It’s a true staple on the New England sports calendar.
GM: Given the economy and challenges other tournaments are facing, what must be done by you, your staff and others to make sure TPC Boston never loses such an important event?
EB: We recognize that both families and businesses are still struggling financially. Because of that, it is imperative to ensure that both our sponsors and our patrons feel that they receive significant value for their investment.
We work closely with our corporate partners to understand what they want to get out of such an investment and our staff works diligently to make sure that expectations are met.
For our fans, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve the experience. We work hard to make sure ticket prices are reasonable, that fans have flexibility in the ticket packages they purchase and once they arrive at TPC Boston, we make sure they have a first-class experience.
GM: Are there any course changes this year?
EB: There weren’t any significant changes to the course from last year but as with any course there are always little tweaks here and there. That said, the staff of TPC Boston have done a great job of preparing the course. It’s in great shape and I’m confident the players will love what they find come Labor Day weekend.
GM: Any surprises in store for fans this year?
EB: I think the one thing that we’ve learned since becoming a PGA Tour Playoff event is that when you assemble the top 100 players on the Tour in a single event, you’re always in for some great surprises.