Fantasy preview: BMW Championship

September 05, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

This is the final fantasy preview of the season. My Power Rankings for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in two weeks will include all 30 qualifiers, and both the Yahoo! game and PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook conclude at East Lake. To stay in touch with my picks those games as well as my earnings in the one-and-done and duffer formats, please bookmark the Fantasy Mailbag. I'll be using it as a conduit for fantasy news and notes as we drift into the Fall Series.

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Power Rankings
Rob Bolton breaks down the field at this week's BMW Championship in our Power Rankings and provides five players who could surprise.

Taking a peek ahead, the offseason will be busy as usual. In what is one of my favorite features of the year, I'll revisit my 2012 full-membership fantasy projections at the conclusion of the Fall Series.

I'll also offer 2013 projections for Tour and Q-school graduates before kicking off the new season with the next edition of my full-membership fantasy projections. And you never know when a special feature or two beckons. A couple are already in the pipeline.

As always, thank you for your loyalty. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't enjoy engaging with you or doing your homework when you don't have time. Good luck in the last two tournaments. Stay in touch.

I rattled off a 4-1-0 record at the Deutsche Bank Championship in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook. That boosted me to 80-67-3 overall for 169 points. Last week's 1-2 punch of Austin Frank and Michael Flanagan also went 4-1-0, so Frank remains four points clear for the overall lead, 199-195. Three others share third place with 193 points. Long-time rabbit, Chris Stolle (3-2-0) sits T6 with 191.

My picks for the BMW Championship:

Rory McIlroy over Louis OosthuizenTiger Woods over Justin RoseDustin Johnson over Brandt SnedekerRobert Garrigus over Kyle Stanley • Vijay Singh over Padraig Harrington

Power Rankings Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... Steve Stricker (6); Luke Donald (7); Phil Mickelson (8); Keegan Bradley (9); Sergio Garcia (12); Nick Watney (13); Jim Furyk (14)

Group B ... Rory McIlroy (1); Dustin Johnson (2); Tiger Woods (3); Lee Westwood (4); Brandt Snedeker (11)

Group C ... Louis Oosthuizen (5); Jason Dufner (10); John Senden (15)

Sleepers Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... None

Group B ... Dicky Pride

Group C ... David Hearn; William McGirt; Jeff Overton; Kevin Stadler

On a Roll (Yahoo! Group; FedExCup ranking)

Adam Scott (A; 25th) ... En route to a T7 at TPC Boston, he was one of just four golfers with four rounds in the 60s. That's exactly the kind of proficiency we expect, but he hasn't treated us to it as often as he's projected. Currently 36th on TOUR in greens hit and sixth in adjusted scoring, so Yahoo! gamers shouldn't hesitate if they don't fancy any of the seven guys in Group A that cracked my Power Rankings.

Ryan Moore (B; 35th) ... Strong starts to both playoff events thus far have resulted in top 25s, including a T10 at TPC Boston. Quietly consistent throughout his bag, he's 25th in the all-around ranking despite sitting no better than 27th (birdie average) in any of the eight stats used for the formula.

Seung-yul Noh (C; 38th) ... Sixteen consecutive cuts made. Seven top 25s in his last 10 starts. His 62 to open last week's Deutsche Bank Championship is the low round of the FedExCup Playoffs thus far. Ranks inside the top 25 on TOUR in both distance off the tee and greens hit. Sits 33rd in adjusted scoring.

Tom Gillis (C; 42nd) ... He's competed in both playoff events in some jeopardy of being eliminated only to survive and advance. The 44-year-old started the postseason ranked 92nd in points, and then posted a T10 at The Barclays. After rising to 57th, he shared 26th place at the Deutsche Bank Championship to climb another 15 spots. However, he's outside the bubble to qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He plays aggressively, evidenced by ranking 28th in birdie average. It's that go-low-or-go-home attitude that could make all the difference at Crooked Stick.

Horses for Courses (Yahoo! Group; FedExCup ranking)

Bubba Watson (B; 10th) ... While he missed the cut at TPC Boston, he's earned the benefit of the doubt, having posted top 25s in all 14 cuts made in 17 starts this season. Given there is no cut this week, we already know how he'll fare (as long as he sticks with the trend). If Crooked Stick plays soft -- and it appears that it will, at least early -- he should feast.

Rob's Yahoo! lineup
Group A: Luke Donald (2); Phil Mickelson (6)
Group B: Dustin Johnson (2); Bubba Watson (4); Lee Westwood (3); Tiger Woods (1)
Group C: Seung-Yul Noh (9); Louis Oosthuizen (6)
YAHOO! STATS: 5,294 points; 4,371st place
SUMMER: 2,010 points (175th)
ONE-AND-DONE: Nick Watney
2012 EARNINGS: $6,584,873.00
DUFFER: Charl Schwartzel
2012 EARNINGS: $407,395.50
*(starts left)

Bud Cauley (C; 33rd) ... Four top 10s in his last six starts. He's also rapidly developing a reputation as a fearless iron player. He's 48th on TOUR in greens hit but 10th in scrambling, which helps explain why he can afford to fire at flagsticks.

J.B. Holmes (A; 52nd) ... He's been knocking on the door, but inconsistent putting has prevented him from busting through it. To further emphasize the point, he posted sub-70s in two rounds in each of the first two events of the postseason, finishing T19 and T39, respectively. If Crooked Stick plays into the hands of the bombers, then his value rises.

Graham DeLaet (C; 60th) ... After three top 25s in four starts, he cooled at TPC Boston, missing the cut by three. The positive spin is that he'll begin anew and a little more rested than the majority of his competition at Crooked Stick. More importantly, his power and precision tee-to-green fits the profile this week.

Leaking Oil (Yahoo! Group; FedExCup ranking)

Zach Johnson (A; 8th) ... Since sharing ninth place at the British Open, he's failed to record a top 35 in four starts. He's broken par just three times in eight rounds in the Playoffs.

Matt Kuchar (A; 13th) ... Arrives at Crooked Stick having finished outside the top 30 in his last three starts. Prior to that, he had only three finishes all year outside the top 30, and that included a first-round knockout at the WGC-Match Play.

Justin Rose (B; 22nd) ... Evidenced in a T46 at the Barclays and missed cut at TPC Boston, he hasn't been able to shed the one bad round, and that means that he's a toxic investment in Yahoo!

Johnson Wagner (C; 34th) ... Despite shaving his moustache following a missed cut at The Barclays, he settled for a share of 51st place at TPC Boston, thus extending his drought without a top 30 to 15 straight starts.

Mark Wilson (B; 44th) ... One top 25 among 10 cuts made in his last 17 starts; no top 40s in his last 11.

Martin Laird (C; 50th) ... In his last 72 holes (last two rounds at Bethpage State Park; only two rounds at TPC Boston), he's hit only 38 greens in regulation and still needed 124 putts. That averages out to 9.5 GIR and 31 putts per round.

Ben Curtis (C; 47th), Charlie Wi (C; 61st) and Ben Crane (C; 67th) ... The only three to go 0-for-2 thus far in the FedExCup Playoffs and advance to the BMW Championship.

Danger (Yahoo! Group; FedExCup ranking)

Hunter Mahan (B; 14th) ... Struggled with his putting again last week en route to a T39, which is his best finish in his last five starts.

Bill Haas (B; 28th) ... While he's the first FedExCup champion to enter the BMW Championship the following year inside the top 30, no reigning champ has qualified for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. With history working against him and the fact that this is the first time all year that he's competing for a sixth consecutive week, he's a calculated fade. Missed the cut at The Barclays, and then finished T35 at the Deutsche Bank.

Robert Garrigus (A; 31st) ... He hasn't delivered since showcasing his confidence at the RBC Canadian Open, a direct result of a regression to his below-average accuracy off the tee and consistently below-average putting. Worth a flier in non-Yahoo! formats (such as PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook) given his power and irons.

Graeme McDowell (C; 41st) ... In six rounds in the Playoffs, he's yet to break 70. Chased a missed cut at The Barclays with a T74 at TPC Boston, where he survived the cut on the number.

Charl Schwartzel (C; 68th) ... At the conclusion of his final round at TPC Boston on Monday, he stated that he was "50-50" and "doubtful" to tee it up at Crooked Stick due to a return of discomfort in a muscle in his abdomen.