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The first PGA Tour event coming to Baltimore in decades sees major spike in advance ticket sales

With more than two months until the best golfers in the world gather at the Caves Valley Golf Club for the BMW Championship, organizers are already expecting a solid turnout.

According to Western Golf Association, which runs the BMW Championship, there has been a 40% increase in ticket sales from the 2019 tournament at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. The 2019 BMW Championship featured more than 130,000 people from 44 states and three countries.

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“It’s been an incredible response from the golf fans of Baltimore,” said Vince Pellegrino, the senior vice president of tournaments for the Western Golf Association . “To not have a PGA Tour event on a regular basis in the town is attributing to the success so far.”

Baltimore hasn’t hosted a PGA Tour event in nearly 60 years. In 1962, Doug Ford won the last East Open Invitational at Mt. Pleasant Municipal Golf Club. Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer won the tournament six years prior.

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“[Baltimore] is certainly a golf starved market and an incredible sports town,” Pellegrino said. “We can’t wait for Baltimore fans to join us in a few short months and to experience the incredible golf and excitement of this major playoff event for themselves.”

The BMW Championship is scheduled to take place from Aug. 24-29.

According to the tournament’s website, the BMW Championship has filled 2,000 volunteer spots. Pellegrino called the volunteer turnout a testament to the sports fans in Baltimore.

“We’ve been able to fill up that many spots in such a short period of time,” Pellegrino said. “We’ve never received this kind of support from our volunteer base in the history of the championship.”

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Pellegrino said the tournament’s COVID safety protocols are not set in stone at the moment. The Western Golf Association will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and work with Baltimore City and state health officials on ever-evolving guidelines.

“It is our hope to have as close to a full fan experience as possible for this year’s BMW Championship,” Pellegrino said. “While our attendance plan is fluid at the moment, we’ve drawn up to 30,000 guests a day to the BMW Championship in past years.”

Baltimore County, where Caves Valley Golf Club is located, is currently aligned with the state of Maryland’s reopening actions and face covering requirements. In May, the state lifted all capacity restrictions on outdoor entertainment, art, and sport venues and indoor entertainment venues and conventions.

The BMW Championship, one of three FedEXCup playoff events, will feature the top 70 golfers on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods has won the tournament five times. Rory Mcllory, Dustin Johnson, and Jason Day are other notable winners. John Rahm won the 2020 BMW Championship, while Johnson was runner-up.

The money earned from the tournament will go toward the Evans Scholars Foundation’s mission of awarding full tuition and college housing scholarships to caddies. The BMW Championship has contributed more than $36 million to the Evan Scholars Foundation since 2007, according to the foundation’s website.

“Whether you are a volunteer or a ticket buyer, you are supporting a worthy cause by giving kids an opportunity to attend college that might not otherwise have that opportunity,” Pellegrino said.

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