Quick look at the BMW Championship
August 14, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
BMW Championship preview
Here we are, having hit the aptly named BMW Championship in the meat of the FedExCup Playoffs. Aptly named because it is time to put the accelerator to the floor if you want to survive or thrive in these Playoffs. Those who already know they’ll be part of the top 30 going to the TOUR Championship are playing for their head start at East Lake. The others, well, its go hard or go home. With just 69 players (Kevin Na withdrew) and no cut, you can expect plenty of pin-hunting at Medinah Country Club.
This tournament could turn on the wind over Lake Kadijah. The penultimate hole at Medinah’s No. 3 course – the par-3 17th – has seen plenty of drama. At 193 yards, it is all water carry. Bail out long? Well, if you’re long and left, you might find making par very difficult. Making a long birdie putt isn’t completely out of the question… just ask Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson.
You might be extra familiar with the par-4 16th hole at Medinah without even realizing it. It was here a 19-year-old Sergio Garcia ripped a long iron from behind the trunk of a tree with his eyes closed as he made a surge towards Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship. A tricky dogleg left that requires accuracy off the tee to ensure a clear shot to an elevated green awaits those in the field. It was the most difficult hole at the 2006 PGA Championship, playing to a 4.331 average. Garcia was one of just a handful of players who made par after missing the fairway. And he won’t be back this time around, so it remains to be seen if someone else is bounding up that impressive hill come Sunday.
Forecast by TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson: Dry conditions are likely under high pressure on Thursday, although an isolated shower may develop along the lake breeze in the afternoon. Forecast confidence becomes lower Friday through the weekend as a series of upper level disturbances will set off complexes of showers and thunderstorms across the Midwest. The first of these disturbances will bring a risk for scattered showers and thunderstorms late Friday morning through Friday afternoon. A complex of showers and thunderstorms should emerge out of Iowa Saturday morning, bringing another round of rain and storms late Saturday morning into Saturday afternoon. Rain and thunderstorm chances will continue on Sunday ahead of a cold front pushing across Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.
For the latest weather news from Medinah, Illinois, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
Sound CheckIt's a long golf course. There's a lot of doglegs that the longer guys can take advantage of and hit it over corners, so I think someone that plays the game the way I do, I've got a bit of an advantage around here.
By The Numbers
30 – The number of players who will survive to East Lake and the TOUR Championship after this week. On average over the FedExCup years, three players play their way from the outside in, meaning three players also drop out. Andrew Putnam is the guy in 30th spot right now.
73 – The number of spots biggest mover from last week Harold Varner III made. Starting at 102nd, Varner gave Patrick Reed a run for his money at THE NORTHERN TRUST before settling for third place. It sent him to 29th in the FedExCup and gives him a great chance to make his first TOUR Championship.
2 – Number of victories Tiger Woods has at Medinah Country Club. Both victories came at the PGA Championshop (1999, 2006).
22 – Number of players in the 69-man field (Kevin Na is a WD) who have top-level experience at Medinah in either the 1999 or 2006 PGA Championship or the 2012 Ryder Cup.
- There are five PGA TOUR rookies still alive in the FedExCup. Only Sungjae Im (26th) will start the BMW Championship inside the top 30. Winners Collin Morikawa (57th), Cameron Champ (58th) and Adam Long (65th), plus Wyndham Clark (68th), are all still alive and fighting for Rookie of the Year honors. Another rookie winner – Matthew Wolff - was eliminated last week.
- This is the last week for automatic qualifiers to make their case for the Presidents Cup. The top eight on both the U.S. and International teams at the end of the week will be given a ticket to play at Royal Melbourne December 12-15. Captains Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will then add four captains picks in a few months’ time. Currently, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay sit in the top eight U.S. slots. Only four players are close enough to potentially force their way in – Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed. On the International side, the current top eight are Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith and C.T. Pan. Several players have ways to play their way in. They include Jason Day, Jazz Janewattananond, Justin Harding, Sungjae Im, Sung Kang, Byeong Hun An, Si Woo Kim, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Emiliano Grillo and Dylan Frittelli.
- Tiger Woods is far from certain to make it back to East Lake, where he had his famous victory a year ago. Woods produced one of sports' great highlights of 2018 when he won the TOUR Championship with massive crowds breaking containment. But at 38th in the FedExCup after his WD last week, Woods needs to be somewhere inside the top 11 at Medinah to have a real shot at moving on. The 2007 and 2009 FedExCup champion is still no certainty to even play in Chicago, but he intends to give it a go. A win would be his 82nd PGA TOUR victory and tie Sam Snead for most all-time.
- Brooks Koepka currently sits in the top spot in the FedExCup and is in line to start the TOUR Championship at -10. But there are no less than 42 players within 2000 points of his total who theoretically have a chance to jump over him into first place. The FedExCup leader heading to the TOUR Championship will start at 10-under, second place at 8-under, third 7-under, fourth 6-under with fifth at 5-under. Players ranked 6-10 will start at 4-under, 11-15 at 3-under, 16-20 at 2-under, 21-25 at 1-under and 26-30 at even par.