Trust lost in New York weather
If tournaments were played over three rounds instead of four, we would have made a killing this season. Yet again, we had the third-round leader only to blow up in the final round and miss out on the win. The weather didn’t help, and you feel the day’s break did Rahm no favors as he appeared to lose momentum. However, overall it was still a good week for our fantasy picks. Rahm ended up finishing in third place, and our outside selection Keegan Bradley finished in 11th position. After a promising start, Daniel Berger finished back in a tie for 56th. The biggest disappointment was Collin Morikawa, who missed the cut.
This week the world’s best golfers head to the Caves Valley Golf Club for the BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedEx playoffs. Let’s see if we can build on last week’s performance and get over the line with a winning pick. We will begin, as always, by taking a look at the history of the tournament as we start to build this week’s BeerLife Sports profile.
This week, the PGA Tour’s postseason circus will shift from New Jersey to Maryland for the 15th annual BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club, located just outside of Baltimore. The BMW will feature the top-70 ranked players in the rankings, with just 30 gaining a trip to East Lake for the second of three FedExCup Playoff legs.
Jon Rahm will defend his title from 2020, even though he won at Olympia Fields and thus loses any home-field advantage. Sixty-nine other elite tour players will join the current world. No. 1, many of whom will be vying for a position in the big-money showdown next week in Atlanta.
The BMW Championship could be considered to have a brief or lengthy and famous history, depending on how it is perceived. The BMW Championship, as we know it today, is a FedExCup event that began in 2007 – the same year as the first postseason – and rotates between numerous Chicago-area courses and other places, especially in the Midwest.
Tiger Woods won the inaugural tournament, then won it again two years later at Cog Hill in an eight-stroke thrashing. Dustin Johnson won his second BMW in 2016, tying Tiger Woods for the most wins in the event’s history. Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, and Jon Rahm are other top-ranked golfers who have won BMW trophies.
The BMW Championship was a regular PGA Tour stop known as the Western Open before it became the punishing second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs. And that tournament, which was once considered a major before the advent of official majors, dates back to 1899, making it the PGA Tour’s third-oldest continuously running event, behind only the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
For most of its history, the Western Open was an elite event with noteworthy winners including Willie Anderson, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. He retains the distinction of winning both before and after it was renamed the BMW Championship.
Let’s turn our attention to the form of the previous five winners, analyze their rounds and see if we can find some crucial links to begin our BeerLife profile.
2020 Jon Rahm – 276 (-4) – Form 6/13/52/1
2019 Justin Thomas – 263 (-25) – Form 12/12/11/36
2018 Keegan Bradley – 260 (-20) – Form 49/34/42/4
2017 Marc Leishman – 261 (-23) – Form 3/CUT/13/41
2016 Dustin Johnson – 265 (-23) – Form 8/18/CUT/2
This week’s host facility is Caves Valley Golf Club, hosting its inaugural PGA TOUR event. They’ve already held LPGA and Champions Tour events, so this won’t be their first rodeo. Cal Ripken Jr. is one among its members, and he will serve as the tournament’s host. This Tom Fazio design, which opened in 1991, is a par 72 course that measures 7,542 yards. The nines have been reversed for tournament play in preparation for the BMW, and the course has been closed for three weeks.
On a hole-by-hole basis, the par 4s provide plenty of diversity. Six of the par fours are over 460 yards long, although three are under 370 yards. Although the tournament crew has sought to narrow the fairways ahead of this week’s event, golfers will see rather ample landing zones off the tee. The issue is that the new rough hasn’t settled in well, so missed fairways shouldn’t result in much of a penalty.
Most greens necessitate an aerial approach, which requires around-the-green play. If golfers get themselves into trouble after shot one, they won’t be able to run one up to the green, so they’ll either have to lay up and recover or try to land the green and end up in the greenside rough or bunkers. The average green size is under 5,200 square feet, and the bentgrass putting surfaces will be groomed at 12+ feet on the stimp for players.
The weather looks decent for the most part this week, although there could be some rain about on Saturday for the third round of the championship. Keep your eyes to the skies, just the same as if you were playing.
With the end of The Northern Trust, which determined the 70 players who qualified for the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the field for the 2021 BMW Championship has been finalized. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy lead the BMW Championship field. The Tour Championship in Atlanta is the second event in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoffs, with the top 30 in points after the BMW Championship moving on to the next leg of the three-event series.
Six players made the top 70 at The Northern Trust: Alex Noren, Erik van Rooyen, Tom Hoge, Harold Varner III, Keith Mitchell, and Harry Higgs. Players who cannot participate in the event, such as Patrick Reed, are not replaced on the field.
We run each player in the field through our BeerLife Sports profile analysis to come up with our selections. This is what we are looking for this week:
Canadian Connection – The best tournament form lines sit with the RBC Canadian Open as two of the last five winners have finished inside the top four at that event.
2019 RBC Canadian Open
- Rory McIlroy
- Shane Lowry
- Webb Simpson
- Matt Kuchar
- Brandt Snedeker
Super Saturday – There has been a clear third-round bias for the previous five winners of this tournament. This could be even more important given the poor weather conditions expected on day three.
Round 3 Scoring Average
- Rory McIlroy
- Adam Long
- Sergio Garcia
- Satoshi Kodaira
- Webb Simpson
Score on Four – With such variety in length (either very long or very short) surrounding the par fours this week, the way these holes are played could be the key to victory.
Par 4 Birdie or Better Leaders
- Sam Burns
- Scottie Scheffler
- Justin Thomas
- Viktor Hovland
- Rory Sabbatini
The Safe Approach – As per the rule on betting on golf tournaments on new golf courses, the safest option is to focus on strokes gained from tee to green.
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Jon Rahm
- Collin Morikawa
- Patrick Cantlay
- Justin Thomas
- Keegan Bradley
Missing Fairway Bunkers – To carry many of the fairway bunkers, you will need a lot of strength. Players shouldn’t be afraid to open up around here as the rough isn’t very punishing at all.
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Rory McIlroy
- Cameron Champ
- Matthew Wolff
- Will Gordon
After looking at the above data and running the field through our BeerLife Sports profile builder, we have selected the following picks.
Must-Have Players – These players may cost a bit more but are sure to be worth it.
|Odds To Win +3500|
|Draft Kings $9,400|
|If ever Rory was going to get back to winning ways, it has to be this week as he has perfect conditions to suit his game. He currently sits 28th in the FedEx standings, so he will want a good showing this week to ensure he qualifies for next week's finale. He has been playing poorly recently by his high standards, with only one top-ten finish in the last few weeks, which came in Tokyo at the Olympic Games. However, he has an excellent record in this tournament and was the winner back in 2012. |
He is still hitting the ball well this season and has made one of the highest amounts of birdies on Tour. He needs to cut out the errors in his game, and if he can do that, he will undoubtedly be challenging this week. I think a lot of the mistakes creeping into his game have to do with his game management. Although I like to see attacking players, I think he is taking too many risky shots and trying to force the issue. It must be said that although we are talking about Rory not playing well as of late, he has still made seven consecutive cuts in a row, so he is still a reliable option. Plus, I can't remember when McIlroy had such generous odds like he has this week.
Steady Eddies – These guys should give a good account of themselves but won’t always break the bank to add them to your line-up.
|Odds To Win +4000|
|Draft Kings $8,500|
|Although Simpson has had a decent season, he still finds himself down in the 52nd spot in the FedEx Cup rankings and therefore has a lot of work to do to qualify for the finals. He has two top-ten finishes in his previous three BMW Championship's, so he has the game and, perhaps even more vital, the mental strength to do well in this event. He is ranked first for driving efficiency this season and third for sand saves, so he should have no trouble recovering on the odd occasions he may find the fairway bunkers. |
His approach game hasn't been the best this season, but thankfully his recovery play has been second to none, so he can get out of a tough spot. If he can get his putter going, he should be able to maintain his
|Odds To win +2000|
|Draft Kings $10,600|
|JT, currently ranked fifth in the FedEx standings, has a real shot at claiming the Tour title this year. A good week here will see him in a prime position to lift the prestigious trophy. He had been coasting along for a short while before a superb fourth-place finish at the Northern Trust last week has set him up for a grandstand finish. He won this tournament in 2019, and although his form was slightly better than it is now, it still wasn't breathtaking. However, this shows he can turn it on when he needs to. |
When I look at Justin Thomas' game, I see minimal flaws. He's a solid, fearless player who has excellent finesse with his irons. He has made 28 consecutive greens in regulation, and if he brings that form here this week, he is destined for greatness.