BMW Championship preview
September 12, 2015
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- September 12, 2015
- After missing cuts in the first two Playoffs events, Jordan Spieth hopes to get back on track at Conway Farms. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Conway Farms Golf Club, 7,198 yards, par 71. Carved out of farmland in Chicago’s North Shore outskirts, the Tom Fazio design takes its second turn at hosting the FedExCup’s penultimate stop. Conway Farms opened in 1991 and first made gained prominence on the amateur stage, starting with the 1997 NCAA Division I championship and 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur. Later came the 2009 Western Amateur and 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur before the PGA TOUR arrived two years ago, an event highlighted by Jim Furyk’s 59 in the second round. Conway Farms membership includes former world No.1 Luke Donald, who played a key role in bringing the club and TOUR together.
What you need to know ahead of the third leg of the FedExCup Playoffs:
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,000 points.
• CHARITY: The Evans Scholars Foundation, an arm of the Western Golf Association which awards college scholarships to caddies across the country with limited financial means. The foundation currently supports more than 800 caddies attending college.
• FIELD WATCH: Rickie Fowler, new Deutsche Bank Championship winner, joins FedExCup leader Jason Day and No.2 Jordan Spieth at the forefront of the 70-man field heading to the Playoffs’ second half. … Sergio Garcia, who sat out each of the first two Playoffs events, rejoins the chase in hopes of a strong final two weeks. The Spaniard now stands 54th in the points race, after ending the regular season at No.31. … Rookies Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger and Zac Blair remain alive in the FedExCup postseason, the most since four made the 2012 BMW. However, each needs to climb the standings to reach the finale. … All 12 members of the U.S. Presidents Cup team are entered, but only six from the International squad. Among the Internationals already eliminated: Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Tiger Woods (2007 at Cog Hill G&CC).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 59, Jim Furyk (2nd round, 2013 at Conway Farms GC).
• LAST YEAR: Billy Horschel atoned for squandered opportunity one week earlier, fighting off challenges from Ryan Palmer and Garcia to emerge with a two-shot triumph at Cherry Hills. Horschel closed with a 1-under-par 69, making par on each of his final 11 holes to give his pursuers little opening. It was a reversal of his finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, when a chunked approach on the 72nd hole scuttled his chance at forcing extra holes against Chris Kirk. Palmer presented the biggest challenge at Cherry Hills, drawing even with Horschel until shanking his ball into a creek at No.13 on the way to double bogey. Garcia cut a seven-shot deficit to two before a triple bogey at No.17.
• STORYLINES: While Day and Spieth are guaranteed top-five positions at East Lake, putting their FedExCup hopes into their own hands, the race is on to see who will join them. Though Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson have separated themselves from No.6 Charley Hoffman, there’s a chance two could get bumped. … The spotlight also falls on No.30, where Louis Oosthuizen is on the bubble to advance. In each of the past three years, two men have played their way to East Lake after starting the BMW outside the top 30. … Hunter Mahan, whose tie for fourth in Boston preserved his perfect FedExCup attendance record, needs a similar week to punch a ninth consecutive trip to East Lake. He arrives 245 points behind Oosthuizen, likely needing a top-10 finish to earn a 36th Playoffs start.
• SHORT CHIPS: The BMW Championship has its roots in the old Western Open, which dates back to 1899. That ranks as the third-longest running event in professional golf, behind only the British Open (1860) and U.S. Open (1885). … Not only does the TOUR Championship await the top 30 in FedExCup points after Sunday, but automatic entry to all four majors in 2016. … Next year takes the tournament back to Indiana’s Crooked Stick GC, part of an ongoing plan to alternate the event between Chicago and other venues. Crooked Stick previously hosted the 2012 edition, won by Rory McIlroy.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, noon-3:30 p.m. (NBC), 3:30-6 p.m. (GC). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
• PGA TOUR LIVE ...
Thursday/Friday: Featured Groups 11:30 a.m. ET. Featured Holes 3-6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information.
Saturday/Sunday: Featured Holes 8:15 a.m.-5:45 p.m. ET.
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).