Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

BMW Championships heat up-inside and outside Crooked Stick

FootballBo Van PeltTiger WoodsKen DilgerJeff OvertonRory McIlroy

INDIANAPOLIS - After rain washed away some of the opening festivities, the first major PGA Golf tournament in Central Indiana in two decades is finally coming together.

On Monday a number of players began to get onto the Crooked Stick's course for the first time to prepare for the BMW Championships, which pits the best 70 players on the tour against each other in pursuit of the Fed Ex Cup. 

Tiger Woods was among those who got onto the course on Tuesday afternoon spending some time on the practice range and then a few holes on the course. 

This weekend's tournament marks the first time that the best in the world of golf return to Crooked Stick since 1991 when the club hosted the PGA Championship. In that tournament it was upstart John Daly who rocked the galleries with his long drives to pull out a surprise victory. 

Like it was over 20 years ago, the ability to get some length on the drives could prove to be a key to victory.

"I really think a longer player, like when John Daly won, I think a longer guy is going to have a big advantage out here," said Jeff Overton when discussing the course on Tuesday. 

Long drives were also on the mind of Richmond native Bo Van Pelt that afternoon but at a venue of a different kind. 

As part of a promotion leading up to the tournament, Van Pelt along with former Colts tight end Ken Dilger and ALMS driver Joey Hand attempted to hit a ball into a target across the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A large banner with a hole in the middle was place at the north end of the stadium behind the goalpost with the players hitting from the opposite end zone. Despite each player having three tries at it, no one was able to hit it in the target to raise $100,000 for the Evans Scholars program.

"Definitely a highlight for me," said Van Pelt of his golf experience at Lucas Oil Stadium. "I grew up in a football family-my dad played football and my brother-in-law played. So to get to hit a shot inside a stadium is a chance of a lifetime."

The same could be said about the opportunity to play in a major tournament within his home state, a first since Van Pelt turned pro in 1998.

"It was a special feeling landing here last night. I grew up here, have such great memories of the Hoosier state," said Van Pelt. "My family still lives back here, I'm representing Cassidy Turley this week, which is a local company.

"It means a lot. This is where I fell in love with the game."

Van Pelt will tee off on Thursday at 11:37 A.M. on Tee #1. Phil Mickelson will start at the same time on hole 10. Woods will be on Tee #10 to start the tournament at 11:48 AM along with current Fed Ex Cup points leader Rory McIlroy.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun