It’s the penultimate PGA Tour event of the year, and golf bettors have their hands full with a tournament that never stays put.
TRIMMED TO 70
The Top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings duked it out in Memphis, and Will Zalatoris claimed an extremely overdue first win on Tour. From here, we’ve cut the fat, and we’re down to the top 70 for playoff event two of three, the BMW Championship. If you thought big moves had to be made last week to sneak into this field, an even more herculean effort is required for players to play their way into the season finale and cash windfall known as the Tour Championship at East Lake. Qualifying for the season finale not only yields a HEFTY bonus check in Atlanta but also opens up all sorts of exemptions and playing opportunities for your average tour pro that has their breakout year.
LIVE FROM…WILMINGTON DELAWARE?
As I mentioned at the outset, the BMW has become quite the moving target and is now shifting venues annually – what fun for handicapping! It was known for ages as the “Western Open” and generally held a home in the Chicago area at Cog Hill or Conway Farms. In the last several years, we’ve rotated in more Illinois tracks and stops in Pennsylvania and Maryland as well. This year the tournament lands in Wilmington, Delaware, and Wilmington Country Club – a completely new track to PGA Tour fans and players with zero history or pro golf on film. While this is undoubtedly a head-scratcher for most of us, don’t tell that to Delaware as they’re treating this like their Super Bowl. Strong galleries are expected in a sports-starved state that is often overlooked.
PICKING FOR THE BEEMER
The BMW field always presents an exciting yin and yang. There are top 30 guys like Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth that had their struggles last week at TPC Southwind, and there are also guys like JJ Spaun, Sepp Straka, and Lucas Glover that played their way in and have all of the juju going for them without much of the hype. This often leads to bettors falling into the trap of betting guys who played well last week, thinking it will roll over and they’ll keep rolling sevens at the table. Still, I’ve personally disproven that theory more often than I’ve proven it…especially at a brand new blank slate venue like Wilmington CC. I will pick a little chalkier than your average week as a result. There are a couple of names to watch that could stay hot for ONE more week, but a brand new track adds another variable to carrying any form in from last week’s event.
MAKING YOUR PICKS
I’m prefacing my weekly picks based on precisely what I value the most. With every play I make, I’m always taking into account these factors, and for the BMW Championship at a brand new track, I’m thinking the intangibles bring the cream to the top of this leaderboard, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a surprise or two from outside the top 70 to play well. Sprinkle your plays accordingly.
1. Who’s hot and trending
Recent high finishes, top 10 streaks, and consistent play are never bad.
2. Horses for courses
Players love specific courses, and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What do the numbers tell you this week
While I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
While this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just suitable for buying.
Last week in Memphis, my One-and-Done pick Scottie Scheffler utterly disappointed and slammed his trunk on Friday. Outside of that, four of six made the cut, and AT LAST, we were there collectively (at least I hope you were) for the Willy Z debut win. 25/1 odds on my pre-tournament pick (cash it!) and solid value in pool play. Last week’s picks were an A- only because of Scottie.
THE SIX-PACK OF PICKS
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Patrick Cantlay
Has a solid history with these “blank slate” first-time venues, and he’s been quietly putting together another stellar season that has him in the thick of FedEx Cup conversation.
2: Tony Finau
My podcast co-host and I can’t be more stunned at this run, but it’s time to hop on while the going is good. He’s found rare form and seems to be making up for mistakes around the greens now more than ever.
3: Matthew Fitzpatrick
The 2022 U.S. Open champ has followed the major with steady play, and this new venue should be good scenery for a bulldog-like Fitz.
4: Max Homa
Everyone’s favorite tweeter is due to come through and has the putting and scrambling numbers to put together a fantastic week to vault him into the FedEx Cup top 10 or even 5.
5: Seamus Power
A debut tour winner this season is outside the top 30 looking in. I’ve been on his team for months now, and this is a massive opportunity for him to qualify for the season finale.
6: Trey Mullinax
This is my one “ride the hot hand” pick. The guy whose last name resembles a cough syrup brand played his way into the BMW, and I’m betting on him cracking the top 30 come Sunday night.
My RYP One-and-Done Pick: Tony Finau
Where to watch: Golf Channel and NBC all weekend – get ready to learn about Delaware like you never have before.
Why watch: It’s playoff event two of three and positioning for East lake and the Top 30 is of utter importance this week.
What to eat: Crab in all forms please – steamed, fried or in cakes.
Purse: $15 million
Winner’s Share: $2.7 million