Power Rankings: BMW Championshiptext sizeSeptember 09, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
The only off week on the PGA TOUR schedule serves as a halftime. Two FedExCup Playoffs events are in the books; two remain.
On tap this week is the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. A field of 70 will descend on the northern suburb of Chicago to give Luke Donald's home track a spin. The Tom Fazio-design circa 1991 has served as host for of a number of prestigious amateur competitions, including the 1997 NCAA Championship, the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 2009 Western Amateur and the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur. It was also used as the site of a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in 2008.
Fazio's creation will play to a par of 35-36--71. Not long at a maximum of 7,149 yards, its primary defense is the wind, which is expected to blow a bit. Otherwise, precision off many tees is required to thread through fescue and heather grass. Greens average a relatively small 5,000 square feet and will be prepped to run 12 on the Stimpmeter.
The field of 70 won't encounter the first of the three par 5s until the 600-yard eighth hole. The remaining two par 5s at Nos. 14 and 18 sandwich the potential of a drivable, par-4 15th (334 yards). And don't rule out the par-3 17th at 207 yards as a difference-maker. Donald tweeted that he aced it last week.
With no cut and a new course (to the PGA TOUR) that should set up to encourage positive reviews from the world's elite, Conway Farms figures offer a blend of scoring opportunities with an appropriate amount of challenge. The top 30 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the BMW Championship will advance to next week's finale at East Lake.
In addition to moderate breezes, the air temperature will invoke many a reference to the advent of autumn after a cold front slides through midweek. After a seasonable temp in the mid-70s on Thursday, it may not reach 70 degrees again all week. A threat of rain and thunderstorms enters the picture on Sunday.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among recent winners of the BMW Championship, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The TOUR Report later in the week.
Power Rankings: BMW Championship Rank Player Comment Justin ROSE Under par in all eight rounds of the FedExCup Playoffs. Tied for second at The Barclays; posted a T16 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Second in total driving, 10th in GIR, fifth in proximity and third in adjusted scoring. Adam SCOTT Failed to capitalize on the fortune of his Barclays' title with a T53 at TPC Boston, his second-worst finish in nine appearances. Connected four top 15s on the PGA TOUR prior. Ranks 12th in greens hit and fourth in adjusted scoring. Matt KUCHAR Current form trumped history with a T4 for his first top 10 at TPC Boston in 10 tries. Eight top 10s in 2013 and currently fourth in FedExCup points. Owns a TOUR-high 25 consecutive cuts made. Sixth in adjusted scoring. Steve STRICKER With a solo second at TPC Boston, chalked up his third runner-up finish of the season in just 11 starts. Squared only four bogeys all week. Ranks first in par-4 scoring and second in greens hit, adjusted scoring and the all-around. Henrik STENSON The TOUR's leader in greens in regulation consummated a torrid summertime run with a victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, his fifth top-three finish in six starts. Also fourth in total driving and fifth in adjusted scoring. Keegan BRADLEY Shared 16th place at the Deutsche Bank Championship where he went bogey-free 10-under on the middle two rounds. It was his 13th top 25 of the season, seven of which are top 10s. Ranks 10th in adjusted scoring average. Graham DeLAET With a T2 at The Barclays and a solo third at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he solidified his position to compete in his first Presidents Cup. Carded a third-round 62 at TPC Boston. Ranks first in total driving and third in GIR. Tiger WOODS Slipped to second in the FedExCup with a T65 at the Deutsche Bank Championship where he struggled considerably post-cut. Ranked 70th in strokes gained-putting for the week. Still No. 1 in adjusted scoring and the all-around. Jason DUFNER Three top 10s in last four starts, including the breakthrough at the PGA Championship. Tied for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship where he ranked a season-best T3 in strokes gained-putting. Currently 13th in adjusted scoring. Zach JOHNSON A T27 at the Deutsche Bank Championship ended his streak of top 10s at five, but he co-led the field in fairways hit and ranked T7 in greens in regulation. Risen 53 spots to 48th in strokes gained-putting over his last six starts. Jim FURYK A closing 73 at the Deutsche Bank Championship thwarted his bid for a fifth consecutive top 10; he started the finale at TPC Boston at T9 on the leaderboard. Ranks third in fairways hit, 22nd in GIR and 19th in adjusted scoring. Jordan SPIETH It's been one goal achieved after another all year. After padding his résumé with a T4 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, got the nod as a captain's pick for The Presidents Cup. Ranks third in the all-around. Only 20 years of age! Phil MICKELSON Chased a T6 at The Barclays with a co-leading 63 in his opener at TPC Boston, but faded to finish T41. As a result, he slipped to sixth in the FedExCup standings. Second on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and first in par breakers. Hunter MAHAN Tied for 13th at the Deutsche Bank Championship, ranking T5 in greens in regulation. Suffered just four bogeys. Four top 10s and another 10 top 25s on the season. Inside the top 35 in fairways hit, GIR and strokes gained-putting. Jason DAY His T13 at the Deutsche Bank Championship was his 10th top 25 of the season, six of which are top 10s. Survived 23 consecutive cuts. Sits 47th in strokes gained-putting, 12th in adjusted scoring and 18th in the all-around ranking. Sergio GARCIA Captured his first top 25 in five starts with a share of fourth place at the Deutsche Bank Championship where he held outright possession of the 36- and 54-hole leads. Ranks T6 in strokes gained-putting and eighth in adjusted scoring. Webb SIMPSON A T53 at the Deutsche Bank Championship was his ninth consecutive cut made, but only one went for a top 10 (T5, Travelers). Could be buoyed after being chosen as a captain's pick for The Presidents Cup. Sits 14th in adjusted scoring. Ian POULTER Only of seven that crashed the top 70 in the FedExCup standings at the Deutsche Bank Championship represented in this feature. Jumped 25 spots with a share of ninth place at TPC Boston, where he led the field in proximity to the hole. Luke DONALD The timing of a home game is ideal. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, he's opened the Playoffs with a pair of T41s. Played his last 48 holes at TPC Boston in 10-under with just one bogey. Eighth in strokes gained-putting. Roberto CASTRO Climbed inside the top 30 in FedExCup points (25th) with a T9 at TPC Boston, his eighth top 25 since a T19 at THE PLAYERS where he held the 18-hole lead. He's shed nearly one full stroke in adjusted scoring during the stretch.