It’s a first in The First State. The PGA TOUR is making its debut in Delaware.
This week’s BMW Championship will be contested on the South Course of Wilmington Country Club in Delaware. It’s as neutral a site as any to host a FedExCup Playoffs event. For analysis of the course, how the winner and contenders should be defined, and more, continue reading beneath the expanded ranking.
POWER RANKINGS: BMW CHAMPIONSHIP
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 20 Lucas Glover 19 Max Homa 18 Sam Burns 17 Cam Davis 16 Jordan Spieth 15 Adam Scott 14 Joaquin Niemann 13 Tom Kim 12 Viktor Hovland 11 Xander Schauffele 10 Sungjae Im 9 Patrick Cantlay 8 Scottie Scheffler 7 Justin Thomas 6 Jon Rahm 5 Rory McIlroy 4 Matt Fitzpatrick 3 Tony Finau 2 Will Zalatoris 1 Collin Morikawa
Draws and Fades will include reviews of notables including Hideki Matsuyama, Billy Horschel, Corey Conners and Cameron Young.
The middle leg of the Playoffs reserves room for 70 golfers, the top 30 of whom at its conclusion will advance to the season-ending TOUR Championship in Atlanta. However, Cameron Smith has withdrawn due to an injured hip and Tommy Fleetwood (personal) didn’t commit, so the field in Wilmington is 68 deep. At third in the FedExCup, Smith will survive to compete in the finale, but Fleetwood’s season officially is over. He’s currently 56th in points.
Robert Trent Jones, Sr., designed the South Course over 60 years ago. Today, it’s a par 71 capable of stretching 7,534 yards. How it routes for the BMW Championship differs from the walk experienced by members. This yields an uncommon par-5-3-5-3 stretch on holes 12-15.
The Palmer Cup was staged here in 2013. Justin Thomas is the only qualifier of the BMW Championship who competed in that amateur team competition, but that’s nine years ago and the course has undergone significant renovations since, anyway. Therefore, consider that there is no useful competitive experience in play this week.
When a new challenge is presented, ball-strikers are benefited. Seeing targets and hitting targets plays everywhere, but greens require experience to master with the putter. The surfaces at Wilmington CC average of 8,000 square feet, but they protected firmly and fairly by commensurately sized bunkers. With fairways resembling ribbons in places and primary rough beginning at four inches high, the tee-to-green game plays up.
Within a day or two, and depending on hole locations, the field will find the pulse of the bentgrass greens, and because of their size, guys who rely on the flat stick will enter the chat. Speeds will touch 12½ feet on the Stimpmeter.
There is no cut, so everyone who tees it up is promised 72 holes. This makes it more difficult to advance to the finale, but it’s never impossible. In the previous two editions of the current points structure (2019, 2021), five golfers have risen into the top 30 with strong performances at the BMW Championship.
Aside from a threat of rain on the weekend, the weather should cooperate for all. Seasonably warm and dry conditions will extend into Saturday. Daytime temperatures will reach into the mid-80s. Wind should be a non-factor.
Other than a chance to be crowned the 16th FedExCup champion at East Lake next week, everyone positioned inside the top 30 at the conclusion of the BMW Championship is poised to earn exemptions into the 2023 editions of the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship. Those are traditional benefits for generating the best seasons on the PGA TOUR and timely performances in the Playoffs.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Draws & Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ’Em Preview
SUNDAY: Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Rookie Ranking
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.