Horses for Courses: BMW Championship

The last time the pros saw Medinah No. 3 was during the 2012 Ryder Cup.

So yeah.

The race is on for the final 30 places at The TOUR Championship this week at Medinah Country Club in the Chicago Suburbs.

The field of 69 (Kevin Na WD – impending birth of child No. 2) will tackle Tom Bendelow’s “monster” course No. 3, a par-72 layout that can stretch to 7,613 yards.

The 007/1119 creeping bentgrass greens will roll perfectly between 11 and 12 feet and provide a decent test of accuracy. The inviting fairways will have only a four-foot intermediate cut before four inches of thick, dense Kentucky bluegrass, rye and fine fescue take care of the errant tee balls, providing the main defense this week. The parkland track will also have plenty, but not as many as 2012, of large oak trees to navigate as well.

Opening in 1924, course No. 3 was completed in 1929. After hosting the U.S. Open in 1949, 1975 and 1990, the PGA Championship was contested here in 1999 and 2006 with Tiger Woods winning each double-digits under-par.

Maybe it won’t be sweet home Chicago this week for members of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team. The “Miracle at Medinah” triumph for the Europeans should spike wonderful memories of those members playing again this week after their historical comeback in singles.

Medinah will be looking to create new history this year as it plays host to the second and penultimate FedExCup Playoff event in the new format. After the completion of 72 holes (no cut) the winner will take home $1.665 million of the $9.25 million prize pool and add 2,000 FedExCup points to the ledger.

This isn’t the week to be sightseeing, eating deep-dish pizza and hanging out in the jazz clubs for the pros. The top 30 in the FedExCup standings will advance to East Lake Golf Club outside Atlanta next week, where there will be $70 million in bonus money up for grabs including $15 million to the winner.

Need more Course Info? Check Rob Bolton’s Power RankingsThe First Look and Course Preview.

Recent Winners

2006 Tiger Woods (-18, 270)

Tied with Luke Donald after 54 holes, Woods bested the Northwestern product by six shots in the final group on Sunday and won by five. Playing at 7,561 yards it was anything but short and obviously that was in his favor. His clinic included leading (or co-leading) the field in Par-4 scoring, Bogey Avoidance, Scrambling and GIR. I’ll include his T6 in total driving Par-5 scoring (T4) didn’t hurt either.

Notables: Woods posted the low round of the week with 65 but Lucas Glover led after 18 holes after 66. … Adam Scott was T3 while Ryan Moore and Ian Poulter shared ninth. … Top eight were double-digits under-par while the top 40 were in the red. … The cut fell at 145 (+1). … Phil Mickelson (T16) and Jim Furyk (T29) are in the field again this week.

1999: Tiger Woods (-11, 277)

Playing “only” 7,401 before Rees Jones began renovations in 2001; Woods lurked in the final group Sunday tied with Mike Weir at 11-under. Weir and Donald playing in these final groups reflects that it’s not a bomber’s paradise only; but length rarely ever hurts. Only three players broke 70 on the final day and Woods’ 72 was good enough to hold off 19-year old Sergio Garcia by a shot.

Notables: Cut was 147 (+3). … Destroying Par-5 holes (No. 2 in scoring; No. 1 driving distance) and holing putts when finding GIR (No. 1), was Woods calling card last decade. … The top 20 players broke par but just Woods and Garcia reached double figures. … Jim Furyk (T8) and Phil Mickelson (T57) are the only two leftovers entered this week.

Key stat leaders

Golfers around the top 25 in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

 * – played in 2006 PGA Championship or 2012 Presidents Cup

Par-5 Scoring

1  Justin Thomas

2  Gary Woodland

3  Wyndham Clark

3  Adam Scott

5  *Matt Kuchar

7  Sungjae Im

9  Bryson DeChambeau

9  Troy Merritt

9  *Ian Poulter

9  *Paul Casey (MC)

15 Patrick Cantlay

15 Xander Schauffele

18 Webb Simpson

18 *Rory McIlroy

18 Hideki Matsuyama

18 Sung Kang

18 Brooks Koepka

18 Dylan Frittelli

26 Tony Finau

26 Jon Rahm

26 Adam Hadwin

26 Si Woo Kim

26 Luke List

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

 1  *Rory McIlroy

2  Justin Thomas

3  *Dustin Johnson

4  Adam Scott

5  Patrick Cantlay

6  *Paul Casey

7  Hideki Matsuyama

8  Byeong-Hun An

9  Brooks Koepka

9  Jon Rahm

11 Corey Conners

12 Gary Woodland

13 Tommy Fleetwood

14 *Webb Simpson

15 Jason Kokrak

16 Emiliano Grillo

17 *Matt Kuchar

18 Xander Schauffele

20 *Lucas Glover (T46)

23 *Jim Furyk

24 Joaquin Niemann

26 *Justin Rose

27 Sungjae Im

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

 1  *Rory McIlroy

2  *Justin Thomas

3  Patrick Cantlay

4  *Dustin Johnson

6  *Hideki Matsuyama

7  *Adam Scott

8  Byeong Hun An

9  Brooks Koepka

10 Corey Conners

11 Tommy Fleetwood

12 *Gary Woodland

13 Jon Rahm

14 *Webb Simpson

15 *Matt Kuchar

16 Xander Schauffele

17 Emiliano Grillo

18 *Jason Kokrak

19 *Sergio Garcia

20 *Lucas Glover

22 *Jim Furyk

23 *Kevin Streelman

25 *Justin Rose

Strokes Gained: Putting

2  *Justin Rose

3  Jordan Spieth

5  *Graeme McDowell

6  Andrew Putnam

7  Vaughn Taylor

8  Wyndham Clark

12 *Brandt Snedeker

13 *Webb Simpson

14 Billy Horschel

18 Patrick Cantlay

20 Rickie Fowler

21 Nate Lashley

22 *Rory McIlroy

23 *Ian Poulter

27 Bryson DeChambeau

31 Kevin Kisner

32 Jon Rahm

Connecting Dots

Last Week: Top-10 finishers

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

1  Abraham Ancer (2nd)

2  Harold Varner III (T3)

3  Louis Oosthuizen (T6)

4  Patrick Reed (WIN)

5  Ian Poulter (T10)

6  Ryan Moore (T18)

7  Adam Scott (5th)

8  Justin Thomas (T12)

9  Jason Kokrak (T12)

10 Jon Rahm (T3)

Par-5 Scoring

1  Sungjae Im (T38)

1  Jason Kokrak (T12)

3  Wyndham Clark (T18)

3  Andrew Putnam (T12)

3  Louis Oosthuizen (T6)

3  C.T. Pan (T24)

3  Rory Sabbatini (T43)

3  Justin Thomas (T12)

3  Sebastian Munoz (T43)

3  Billy Horschel (T21)

3  Patrick Cantlay (T12)

3  Gary Woodland (T52)

3  Rory McIlroy (T6)

3  Jon Rahm (T3)

Strokes Gained: Putting

 1  Billy Horschel (T21)

2  Jordan Spieth (T6)

3  Justin Rose (T10)

4  Andrew Landry (T30)

5  Troy Merritt (T12)

6  Brian Stuard (T52)

7  Andrew Putnam (T12)

8  Kevin Kisner (T12)

9  Patrick Cantlay (T12)

11 Wyndham Clark (T18)

12 Rory McIlroy (T6)

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