The BMW Championship (Aug 15-18) is the second of the 2019 FedEx Cup playoff events and this year it is being played at the No.3 Course at Medinah Country Club.
Brooks Koepka remains at the head of the FedEx Cup Standings, but last week’s Northern Trust winner Patrick Reed is now hot on his tail in second. Other notable movers in the standings last week included Abraham Ancer, who’s up to eighth after finishing runner-up, and he also booked his place in the President’s Cup at the same time.
Harold Varner III was another big mover up from 102nd to 29th, whilst Jordan Spieth avoided the top-70 cut with his best Sunday score of the season to move him up from 69th to 44th.
But some big names failed to make it into the final 70 this week, including former FedEx Cup winner Henrik Stenson, as well as Sergio Garcia, Tyrell Hatton, and Bubba Watson. You also have to feel sorry for Adam Schenk, who finished 71st despite a decent showing at the Northern Trust which moved him up 13 places.
The BMW Championship heads to Medinah Country Club for the first time, but the number 3 course that will be hosting the event has plenty of history. It’s hosted three US Opens and two US PGA Championships. However, it’s most famous for hosting the 2012 Ryder Cup – where the European Team made the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history, forever immortalising it as the “Miracle of Medinah”.
The course itself was originally designed by Tom Bendelow and was modernized by Rees Jones to bring up to the current standard. From the gold tees, it plays as a Par 72 measuring 7,657 yards. It promises to provide a brilliant venue for the penultimate FedEx Cup Playoff event, but the problem for punters is there isn’t much recent course form to go on.
13 of the players that played in the 2012 Ryder Cup are still in this year’s FedEx Cup. Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Brandt Snedeker from the US team, and Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, and Ian Poulter from the European Team.
It was Ian Poulter’s week in 2012, as he won all four of the matches he played, whilst Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Rose all recorded three wins. Of course, it’s the Europeans that will have the best memories of Medinah after that amazing 14½ – 13½ victory.
Some of those Ryder Cup players also have some good form in this event at the different courses it’s been played at in recent seasons. Justin Rose tops that list with runner-up finishes in both of the last two years and the reigning FedEx champ looks sure to be trying to make a move up from 12th in the standings this week.
Rory McIlroy also knows what it takes to make a move at the right time in the FedEx Cup and a win and three other top-8 finishes in eight appearances in the BMW Championship tie in nicely with that past form at Medinah Country Club.
Ian Poulter has been less successful in the BMW Championship, as he’s without a top-10 in his last seven appearances, but it’s just possible that he’ll be absolutely buzzing on his return to Medinah. That means it could be worth chancing this venue will spark him into doing something special, even if this 7,600+ yards layout looks on the long side for him.
The distance should be no problem for Dustin Johnson, who’s won the BMW twice in the last nine years and posted another two top-7s. However, his tied 24th-place finish last week was disappointing considering he was leading after two rounds. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson also partnered each other to great success at Medinah in 2012, but both finished well down the field last week, whilst Bradley also has the pressure of defending the BMW Championship title he won last year.
None of the other market leaders are standouts for this event either, with Koepka yet to post a top-10, though Rahm did finish fifth in it in 2017. Beyond that, nobody else sticks out as a must bet, so I’m sticking with the theory that the memories of the Miracle of Medinah will act as a great motivation for McIlroy, Rose, and Poulter.