- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The PGA Tour is headed to the north shore and Luke Donald likes to think he played at least a small role in the move. Donald, a Northwestern alum and former top-ranked player in the world, is a member at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, which will play host to the BMW Championship from Sept. 12-15.
It is one of four events used to decide the season-ending FedEx Cup champion.
"I was extremely excited when I heard there was the possibility of coming here, and I pushed pretty hard with the tour to try to make that happen," said Donald, who has spent 55 weeks as the world's No. 1 player at various points of his career. "I don't know if I had a responsibility for that or not, but certainly I've always enjoyed my time here and Conway has always been gracious to the Northwestern program."
Donald has played many a round at Conway Farms, which is considered the home course of the Wildcats golf program. Now it will play host to the PGA tour's best. The BMW Championship will be the last event before the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The BMW Championship will whittle the FedEx Cup field from 70 players to the final 30 that will advance to the Tour Championship.
Donald, who lives in Northfield, and fellow tour pro Mark Wilson, an Elmhurst resident, helped promote the upcoming BMW Championship on Monday with a nine-hole skins game that also included the Chicago Bulls' Kirk Hinrich and new Northwestern men's basketball coach Chris Collins. Donald and Collins teamed to win the event five holes to four as $45,000 went to charity. Wilson, a Wisconsin native, missed a short putt on the final hole to give the Donald/Collins team the victory but figured that if he is still in contention once BMW Championships begin, he will feel right at home.
"There will probably be a few cheeseheads here, and not just the people with the hats, but actual cheeseheads," Wilson said. "(Former event host) Cog Hill is way south. People in Milwaukee probably don't have that on their radar, but now that it's over the border, no question they will come out."
The PGA Tour is headed to the north shore, and Luke Donald likes to think he played at least a small role in the move.