The BMW Championship preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
After a Labour Day weekend break the third of the play off series, the BMW Championship, heads to the Par 71, 7150 yards ish Conway Farms (was it ever a farm?) in Chicago.
Seventy line up for thirty spots at the Tour Championships next week at East Lake. Key to note there is no cut this week so time to recover after a poor start – see Daniel Berger.
Aside from the matter of this $8m plus event there is the chance to progress to the monster Fed Ex pot we can add in the raging battle for Player of the Year. Unless Dustbin picks up his game he would seem to have conceded that title to either Speith or Thomas. Unless Hideki comes over the top of them all this week and next its hard to envision a non major winner taking that crown.
Like last week we have some form for Conway Farms and what we know is it yields low numbers to great short games and great putting. Day and Donald are poles apart tee to green but once on it can roll their onion and have both posted 61’s here (-10). Jimmy the F..k posted a 59 here. Inevitably the place has been tweaked with a few yards here and there but Zach Johnson’s success suggests distance isn’t an issue. Relatively generous rolling fairways, severe bunkering and small greens place an emphasis on rock solid approach play and bang on putting.
Everything screams Jordan and if he were a thoroughbred he’d be odds on but he’s not…he’s a golfer… and while I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him win and expect him to contend his price has contracted to the point that he has to be death ridden.
The contenders all have solid credentials which is a given we are week three into the playoffs.
Jordan we know about. Justin came home hard on the steel for us at much bigger odds in the PGA so no thanks at 11’s. Dustbin looked off enough to be discouraged last week. Rahm is a hot prospect with a temperament to match. Hideki looks spent. Casey is super consistent but also consistently misses a slew of putts down the stretch others make. Can we really entertain the prospect that his pressure putting will come through this week at 20’s?
Of the top contenders that only leaves Rory and much as we love our adopted son he needs to go home. Forget poker tells – Rory just plain comes out with it – he’d rather not be here. Despite that the 25/1 is tempting given his mercurial nature. One spark and suddenly he’s bouncing so I wouldn’t put anyone off.
The field is littered with our brethren including wack jobs De Chambles, Grizzo and Patrick but as risky as it is we have to let (most of) them out to play on their own this week.
Our Picks? all with
Daniel Berger 1pt win at $75
Zach Johnson 1pt win at $90
Xander Schauffle 1pt win at $200
Emiliano Grillo 1pt win at $320
Daniel Burger….(from last week..) is a multiple tour winner, a winner this season and was stiffed by a freak show from Jordan (holed out of the bunker on 18 at the Travellers) to boot. A win, an unlucky 2nd, and another top 5 in his last eight starts looks about as solid as any player out there. Burger’s season has been built on solid approach play and putting. Any semblance of his peak form and he’s up there. …What’s changed in a week? A horror start last week is all where upon he battled back to make the cut. Plus he has from here finishing runner up in 2015. We can always forgive our stable one stinker.
Zach Johnson hasn’t had the greatest of years but he’s still a machine and has won here. Surprise, the man who won the Masters with imperious wedge play and putting has also won at Conway Farms and posted a 13th on his other outing. He’s not covered himself in glory recently but his last six starts still include a runners up, a 5th and a 14th. Experienced, competitive, and a double major winner no player has extracted more from his game in the power era.
Xander Schauffle is one of the surprise packages of the 2016/17 season with a breakthrough won at the old GGO and a tied fifth at the US Open. He not only has the chance to get to East Lake in his rookie year, sitting 32nd as he does in the rankings, but to secure the coveted Rookie of the Year Title. At the risk of contradiction he ranks lowly for SG around the green and SG approaching the green but this is his first season and we know at some points he has excelled so the pattern isn’t set in stone. It’s his all round game we are backing here and the fact he’s already a winner…and he’s 200/1!
Emiliano Grillo – what’s to say? He’s just birdied two of the last three at Boston last week to make the field here and been picked as a wild card by Nick Price for the Presidents Cup. He swings it like silk, is a winner, was Rookie of the Year last year and is trending in the right direction with a 29th and 22nd so far in the play offs.