2019: BMW Championship Preview

The ultimate driving machine?

He’s close but my money is on another…

FedExCup Playoffs – BMW Championship

Medinah Country Club

Course No. 3

Medinah, Illinois

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,613
Par: 72 (36-36); NO CUT EVENT
Greens: 007-1119 Creeping Bentgrass; 6,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter: 11-12′
Rough: First cut is 1.25″ and stretches four feet off the fairway; Dense Kentucky bluegrass/rye/fine fescue rough at 4″ beyond that.
Bunkers: 71
Water Hazards: 2
Architects: Tom Bendelow (1929); Rees Jones (2001-present).
Purse: $9.25/$1.665 winner/2000 FEC Points.
Defending Champion (course): N/A; first Playoff event as host.
Defending Champion (event): Keegan Bradley (Aronimink).
Fact of the Week: The only No. 1 seed to win the FedExCup Playoffs is back in the field this week after an early WD at Liberty National.
Fact of the Week II: Medinah No. 3 has hosted three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and the 2012 Ryder Cup.
Missing Man: Kevin Na (baby).

Previous Winners at Course No. 3:

Year Winner Score Comment
       
2006 Tiger Woods -18 Posted the low round of the week with 65; won PGA Championship by five.
1999 Tiger Woods -11 Co-led after 54 holes and won by a shot over Sergio Garcia (DNQ).

 

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods
RBC Heritage C.T. Pan**
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Ryan Palmer & Jon Rahm (2)
Wells Fargo Championship Max Homa**
AT&T Byron Nelson Sung Kang**
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Charles Schwab Challenge Kevin Na
Memorial Patrick Cantlay
RBC Canadian Open Rory McIlroy (2)
United States Open Gary Woodland
Travelers Championship Chez Reavie
Rocket Mortgage Classic Nate Lashley**
3M Open Matt Wolff**
John Deer Classic Dylan Frittelli**
The Open Championship Shane Lowry
WGC-SJCI Brooks Koepka (3)
Wyndham Championship J.T. Poston**
THE NORTHERN TRUST Patrick Reed

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record (course): 270; Woods (2006).
Course Record: 65; Woods (2006).
Defending Champions (entered): NO PLAYER HAS EVER DEFENDED A FEDEXCUP PLAYOFF EVENT.
Multiple FedExCup Event winners: Woods, McIlroy and Dustin Johnson (4); DeChambeau, Jason Day, Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed (2).
First TOUR win (FEC): Camilo Villegas, BMW (2008).
First win in first appearance: No rookie has won a FEC Playoff event.
Notes: Only Vijay Singh has won the first FedExCup event and gone on to win the FedExCup.
Notes II: There have been eight players who have won twice during the FEC Playoffs. Only four have gone on to win the FedExCup.
Notes III: Winners of a major and FEC Playoff event in the same year: Justin Thomas (2017 PGA, DBC)

Dustin Johnson (2016 US Open, BMW)

Jordan Spieth (2015 Masters & US Open, TOUR Championship)

Jason Day (2015 PGA,TNT)

Adam Scott (2013 Masters, TNT)

Rory McIlroy (2012 PGA, DBC, BMW)

Tiger Woods (2007 PGA, BMW, TOUR Championship).

 

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Thoughts

It couldn’t get any easier for gamers this week!

The FedExCup Playoffs tee it up a course that hasn’t been seen by anyone on TOUR since the 2012 Ryder Cup “Miracle at Medinah”. Without any course history, minus Woods, Furyk and Mickelson from their previous lives, the decision-making process should be relatively simple:

Find the hot ones who rake tee-to-green and have some pop in their bats.

It’s a big track but it’s not even the size of Torrey South so let’s not get carried away. With four Par-5 holes, and three stretching 578, 609 and 617 yards, those with the big bats will have scoring opportunities. The Par-3 holes are no joke either as three will have forced carries over water and stretch from 192 and up. Make par and get out.

Medinah’s biggest defense is the rough, which after a wet spring and recent thunderstorms will be thick and bushy. The oaks lining the fairways aren’t as plentiful as they once were but still will provide a framing of this parkland track.

The Creeping Bentgrass is capable of sub-air so they should have them exactly where they want them for pace. Nothing rolls truer than Bentgrass and that will favor the true putters.

Patrick Reed was a “surprise” winner last week at 50-1. Not bad for a Masters champion, FedExCup Playoff winner at Bethpage Black and “Captain America” from the 2017 Presidents Cup on that same track. Looks like it will be Justin Rose who wins this week then if we’re using those metrics!

Right?

The Chalk

Rory McIlroy: 62 in Memphis, 65 to open last week are clues. There’s nobody better tee-to-green and four Par-5 holes will be to his advantage.

Jon Rahm: After having the lead on Sunday and not converting I would suggest he’ll be right back into the mix. I’ve seen his work at Torrey as well. It’s not a coincidence that the two guys on the top have driver as their main weapon. He’s opened 62-64 in his last two events.

Justin Rose: Loves the Chicago area, the event and should have some great memories from Medinah. No player has ever defended the FedEx title but a big week can put him back into that conversation next week at East Lake, a track he feasts upon.

Justin Thomas: He won his PGA on a monster at Quail Hollow so not much this week is going to bother him. I’m like you, just waiting for it all to come together for four rounds.

Adam Scott: Solo fifth at Liberty National adds to his total of top-10 paychecks this year. Another power player who hits plenty of GIR and makes tons of birdies.

Dustin Johnson: Did a sweet Jordan Spieth impersonation last week by opening 63-67 and closing 74-73. Perfect week for a reset on a new track where his strength and length should be an advantage.

Patrick Reed: I don’t think he’ll be bothered that he won last week. This stretch of very solid golf stretches all the way back to the final round at Pebble Beach during the U.S. Open.

Webb Simpson: Churning along, Simpson hasn’t finished outside of T30 since WGC-Match Play. Of his last 12 rounds eight have been 67 or better.

Brooks Koepka: I mean, yeah, whatever. Maybe the dust up with DeChambeau about slow play will be his igniter this week. Maybe it won’t be. You just stick him in here to be smart, safe but he’s not sticking up big finishes on courses he hasn’t seen.

Patrick Cantlay: Led the field in birdies last week and finished T12. I’ll try that again and hope he doesn’t shank a bunker shot into the water and make triple this week as well.

Ian Poulter: T9 in 2006 and birdied every hole he played at the 2012 Ryder Cup so he’s familiar here. He’s also coming off back-to-back top 10s.

Paul Casey: Took last week off to recharge the battery. Returns this week in a no-cut event so even if he needs a round to bust the rust, he’ll have three more chances to play catch-up. Speaking of ketchup, ask people in Chicago if they should put ketchup on a hotdog and let the fun begin.

Jason Kokrak: Of his last eight rounds four are 66 or better resulting in paydays of T6 and T12. All of the stats point in his direction as well but sometimes Lucy takes away the football as Charlie Brown attempts to kick it. Youngsters can go look this one up.

Brandt Snedeker: He should have a great week because I have no idea. His best finish after a top 10 in 2019 is T30 so I’m looking to buck the trend after T6 last week.

Xander Schauffele: He can’t hit it THAT crooked if he’s 14th in scoring average this season. Just tell him it’s Erin Hills with trees. Top 45 in all the major SG categories.

Billy Horschel: Led the field in SG: Putting last week and only made five bogeys. Now, about those doubles…

Just Missed

Tommy Fleetwood: I’m angry about last week. So whatever.

Tony Finau: Just swing as hard as possible and try to catch a hot week with the putter.

Louis Oosthuizen: Many are leaning on Oosthuizen after a very steady run of play. I can’t remember the last time he fulfilled our expectations outside of 2015 at St. Andrews.

Jordan Spieth: That’s better! No links-ish holes this week to absolve poor tee shots but perfect greens will get his attention.

Kevin Kisner: Might have just a bit too much chicken on this bone but he’s been playing too consistently to ignore or fade. Best payday on his own ball since his match play win was last week T12.

Ryan Moore: Plays down the sprinkler line and that was good enough for T9 in 2006. After taking almost a month off he returned with three excellent rounds and T18 at Liberty National.

Joaquin Niemann: Last man in can work it tee-to-green and should be ecstatic this is the venue. Carve it up, kid!

Rory Sabbatini: Not as valuable without a cut but an excellent season regardless.

Lucas Glover: Led after the first round here in 2006 with 66. The longer and harder, the more I like him.

Sungjae Im: Imagine if he had won this year with his record? He’s an afterthought with Wolff and Morikawa winning. He shouldn’t be.

Not This Week

Tiger Woods: Nope. Nope. Nope.

Rickie Fowler: Like my fantasy season, plenty of close calls but mainly a pile of inconsistency.

Phil Mickelson: If the defense this week is the rough, I don’t like his chances.

Cameron Champ: I’ll let you ride that T21 from last week. I’m more concerned about 181st in fairways and 131st in scoring average.

Longer Shots

Kevin Tway: Plays well on tree-lined Bentgrass (Safeway, Colonial) and closed with 65 last Sunday.

Jason Day: The Steve Williams experiment is over. Day is currently No. 50 and will need a top, top finish to qualify for next week. He’s stuck pal and former PGA TOUR member David Lutterus on the back for this go-for-broke week. I’m interested to see if this frees him up or is the pressure on because he’s not qualified for the Presidents Cup team? Lots of moving parts here but form is temporary while class is permanent.

J.B. Holmes: Sometimes just being forced to lash it and not think is an excellent tonic. Two bad rounds in his last 16 have stuck out more than the rest. Contrarians need to stick him in.

Nate Lashley: Straight metrics play; use in case of an emergency.

Collin Morikawa: This is his first free roll of the year. Nobody will be asking him about winning the week prior. Nobody will be asking him about his first FedExCup Playoff event. He’ll just get a chance to play.

Ben An: #NappyFactor plus usually plays difficult courses well. This qualifies.

Vaughn Taylor: His streak of making the cut will run to 10 this week.

Wyndham Clark: Smashes it and can really putt (top 10 in both) so that means taking advantage of his length and the Par-5 holes.

The Bubble

Only the top 30 get the invite to the final cash grab, er, event of the season. Making it to The TOUR Championship comes with plenty of perks like WGC events, majors and well, that’s about it. Oh, and splitting up a SEVENTY MILLION DOLLAR BONUS POOL. Don’t panic, boys!

25 – Shane Lowry

Like he cares. He’s set for life. Maybe that will free him up or his hangover finally settles in THIS week. Too much for me to sort.

26 – Sungjae Im

He hasn’t felt any pressure all year so I doubt he starts thinking about it THIS week.

27 – Corey Conners

I like his Tee-to-Green numbers. I don’t like his putting on pure Bent.

28 – Louis Oosthuizen

Should be the class of these first four. Now watch him WD.

29 – Harold Varner III

Cinderella wears Jordan Brand? Who knew! Massive week for him for next year’s scheduling purposes.

30 – Andrew Putnam

His best finish this spring/summer was T3 at Colonial on creeping bent.

31 – Ryan Palmer

Makes a ton of par breakers and has plenty of power to take advantage of the Par-5 holes.

32 – Jason Kokrak

See above.

33 – Hideki Matsuyama

It’s blasphemous to fade him but he’s backed me into this corner. If he doesn’t watch out, Sean Martin is going to leave him for Wolff or Morikawa.

34 – Francesco Molinari

Nothing better than 69 in his rust-buster last week doesn’t inspire. Since I’m not using him in OAD this week I would expect nothing short of a podium finish. Luckily I don’t believe in unicorns and all that.

35 – Scott Piercy

Hits plenty of fairways and even more greens. No wonder why he’s cashed 20 of 23.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com

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