Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Driving to the Finish
Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?! Yes indeed, event two of three in the PGA Tour’s postseason is here, and one day we’re going to settle on where to put the BMW Championship. The penultimate Fedex Cup playoff event has volleyed between Chicago area courses, but Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and even Colorado have played host to this event in the past decade. Needless to say, there’s very little course consistency with this event and this year, It’s back at Olympia Fields Country Club for the first time since 2020. We’ve now trimmed the playoff field from 70 to just 50, and this week twenty more golfers will be cut before the season-ending Tour Championship.
The playoffs started off at TPC Southwind in Memphis, where Lucas Glover continued his heater and won for the second week in a row. Is there a three-peat in the cards for the unlikely hottest golfer in the world? Will a big name bounce back after an auspicious start last week? Let’s get into the deets to see where this week’s money is moving on Tour:
Now with a trimmed field to fifty, they shift their attention to Olympia Fields GC which has hosted this event since before in 2020. It’s situated just south of Downtown Chicago and the true golf diehards may remember it as host of the 2003 U.S. Open won by Jim Furyk. It’s a medium-length course that’s of the parkland variety, and it’s got over 100 years of history and a badass clubhouse to boot. If 2020’s event is any indicator it could be a brute, with Jon Rahm winning at just a -4 total for the week.
With the full field of the world’s best, the betting pick is once again led by Rory, Scottie, and Rahm…in that exact order. Patrick Cantlay is getting more sportsbook love at 10-1 and creeping up into the lead pack, while the guys who always seem to play decently in 22023 but win much like Hovland, Fleetwood, and Schauffele round out the chasing pack of favorites at 16-1 odds to win. We’re down to just fifty golfers so in theory, it’s mathematically a lot easier to find the winner this week than your standard 156-man field. Let’s do just that.
Forecasting The BMW
This week’s event shouldn’t be marred by any unusual Chicago weather, so it’s a fairly clean slate that we haven’t seen in three years. When it was last hosting a Tour event -4 won the week, so we’re looking at some grinders and players that are smart to win with pars and the occasional birdie. The greens will be slick, to say the least, and the best putter should show up on the board.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What 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.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding a player that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
The picks to start off the playoffs in Memphis were pedestrian and that’s not a word I like to use during the playoffs. Hovland hit the first page of the board, but my Jon Rahm dream yielded no results in reality so we’re going to play this coming week by the book. It’s another C for the pick grade last week.
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1: Patrick Cantlay – There’s no number or stat to back at it but the man thrives during these specific weeks. He played decently enough here in 2020 at Olympia Fields for me to back him here again.
2: Tyrrell Hatton – The analytics nerds have him forecasted wll here and he seems due for a big week on Tour – been striking it really nicely in recent weeks.
3: Hideki Matsuyama – Another ball striker that should like the “par is your friend” mentality here. Finished top 10 last time they played the BMW at this course.
4: Justin Rose – A bit of a dark horse, Rosey has a knack for playing well on demanding golf courses – this fits his game very nicely and he needs a good week to make it to Atlanta.
5: Eric Cole – Likely the rookie of the year, I have a feeling he’ll cement that with a solid week in Chicago and a trip to East Lake.
6: Denny McCarthy – After a hot spring he cooled off as of late, but is still a great outsider that should enjoy the challenge of these greens.
RYP One and Done Pick: Patrick Cantlay
Where to watch: The Golf Channel and CBS continue their new run of FedEx Cup postseason PGA Tour coverage, and there will be a zillion Chicago references painted on the broadcast all week – brace yourself.
Why to watch: We’re down to fifty and the chase for the grand prize at the dn of the playoffs is intensifying,
What to eat: Chicago Dog or Italian Beef? The beefs are easier to duplicate in the crock pot these days so I’ll go for two of those – dipped.
Purse: $20 million
Winner’s Share: $3.6 million
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