Expect Jordan Spieth to Respond Under Pressure at BMW Championship
Your In-Depth Preview and Top DFS Picks for the 2018 BMW Championship
Yardage: 7,237 - Par 70
Purse : $ 8.75 million
Field: Top 70 players in FedEx Cup points to date
Recent BMW Championship Winners
Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Jon Rahm all had their time as the PGA Tour’s “IT” kid. Each of the previously mentioned burst onto the scene in their early 20s as golf pundits dubbed them the closest thing we’ve seen to early Tiger Wood. Bryson DeChambeau’s latest win at the Dell Technologies made it two wins in two weeks for him, and at FedEx Cup Playoff events, no less. With the hype train in full force, it’s DeChambeau’s turn to be the Tour’s “IT” kid. The sophomore Tour player’s amazing talent has been on display for a few years now. In 2015, DeChambeau already put himself alongside the greats by becoming the fifth player in history to win the NCAA Division I Championship and the U.S Amateur in the same year. The other four players were Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Ryan Moore. DeChambeau’s win at the Dell has put him inside the world’s Top 10 for the first time in his career, as he sits in seventh. With the Ryder Cup selections set to be made today, DeChambeau is now a shoo-in to play for the United States in France next month.
We’re now halfway through the FedEx Cup playoffs with just 70 of the PGA’s best players from this year still alive. With last week’s field of 100 being trimmed down to 70 we lost a handful of solid golfers. Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell, and Branden Grace all saw their seasons come to an end on Labor Day in Boston. With some big names already off the board, this week will undoubtedly deliver a large amount of starpower hit the rail at week’s end. Only 30 of the 70 will make it to the Tour Championship at East Lake, which means that 40 of the players in this week’s field won’t make it to the final stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Louie Oosthuizen (69th), Henrik Stenson (60th), Zach Johnson (59th), Alex Noren (50th), Adam Scott (48th), Xander Schauffele (41st), Kevin Kisner (39th) and Rafa Cabrera-Bello (38th) all must have big weeks to keep their Tour Championship hopes alive. There were also four players that moved from outside the Top 30 to inside the week’s conclusion. Hideki Matsuyama moved up 30 spots from 58th to 28th, Emiliano Grillo moved up from 48th to 29th, Gary Woodland moved from 37th to 30th, and Jordan Spieth moved from 33rd to 27th.
There is no cut this week. With just 70 golfers in the field, everyone will be playing four rounds of golf barring a withdrawal. Also for you DFS golf players, remember that after this week there will be a week off in between the BMW and the Tour Championship.
The BMW Championship will be held at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. While this isn’t the first time this course will host a Tour event, the last time it hosted a PGA event was the AT&T National in 2011 and that was pre-renovation. Aronimink has undergone a $4 million renovation to gear up for hosting today’s Tour players. A total of 176 brand new bunkers were constructed, and the fairways were widened, the greens have been enlarged, and there are 18 new tee boxes. Gil Hanse (in charge of the renovation) said that the larger fairways and greens will add a strategy element. Players need to think out their shots off-the-tee at Aronimink because an improper angle could easily mean bogey. So find players who are strong in strokes gained: off-the-tee, and strong in strokes gained: approach.
The larger greens will allow for more tricky pin locations, so you’ll need players whose approach game is working on all cylinders lately. The course plays out to 7,237 yards and is a Par 70, so you’ll need Par 4 scorers to have success this week, only two Par 5s and 12 par 4s. With the course being new to all of the golfers, I like players who are good putters (strokes gained: putting) and good scramblers. New green complexes, and new humps and bumps around the golf course means that golfers will get unexpected hops here and there. Good green reading/putting and scrambling are good combatants to a new course with some unfamiliar bounces.
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Strokes Gained: Approach
Par 4 Scoring
Strokes Gained : Putting
BMW Championship DraftKings Selections
Brooks Koepka ($10,500): I’m aware that three quarters of Koepka’s wins are at majors, but that stigma can only hold up for so long. Koepka proved at Bellerive that he can bomb it around with his driver no matter how the hole sets up. Koepka will shorten this medium-lengthed course dramatically while also finding the proper spots on the fairway to attack from. Koepka ranks seventh in par 4 scoring, sixth in strokes gained: off-the tee, and fifth in scrambling. The strength of the field in the next two events may give Koepka major championship vibes, so don’t be surprised if the three-time major champion goes all Bryson DeChambeau on everybody and wins the final two events of the year.
Jordan Spieth ($9,400): At $9,400 this is the cheapest we’ve seen Spieth all year. While it’s been a down year for him, he’s starting to show some positive signs. Over his last three events Spieth has finished 12th, 25th, and 12th. Despite the relative struggles, Spieth is one of the best Par 4 players this year with a 3.97 scoring average (fourth). That’s extremely useful on a course where two-thirds of the holes are Par 4s. Spieth’s Par 4 statistics and recent form are nice, but here’s the real reason you should take him: His clutch factor. Spieth currently sits at 27th in the FedEx Cup Standings just inside of the Top 30 Tour Championship bubble. If he doesn’t come out and play well, he’ll be heading home early before the Ryder Cup. Think about some of the amazing things this young man has done when his back was up against the wall. Outside of Tiger Woods, Spieth may be the most clutch golfer we’ve seen in the last 20 years. He has to play well this week and will be well worth the $9,400 pricetag.
Tommy Fleetwood ($8,600): I went with Fleetwood last week, and it appeared he was going to be an incredible value after starting the first two rounds at eight-under. Then the weekend came and Tommy stumbled, shooting one-over for the weekend. He still finished a respectable 24th, despite an incredibly disappointing weekend. Fleetwood’s ceiling is roughly as high as a 10K type of player, he just hasn’t been converting his hot starts into Top 10s recently. Despite the quasi-lull in his game, I like Fleetwood again this week. He’s controlled style of play should work well at Aronimink, and if it wasn’t for a poor weekend in Boston, he’d most likely cost $1,000 more. Fleetwood comes in as the 13th best value play this week according to DailyRoto’s value optimizer.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,400): Grillo was part of a ton of winning lineups last week after finishing seventh. You can still roster the Argentinian for a very reasonable price, and I have no reason to believe he won’t impress again. Grillo ranks inside the Top 30 in all five of my key categories this week including 11th on Tour in strokes gained: putting. Grillo has finished inside the Top 10 in seven tournaments this year. That’s more on par with players in the mid 8K range than the 7K range. Grillo continues to be underpriced by $500-$1000 due to his age (25) and relative lack of name power.
Zach Johnson ($7,100): Zach Johnson won this tournament in 2013 when it was held at Conway Farms. While this isn’t the same course, Aronimink like Conway Farms is not set up for bombers to overpower it. Zach is one of the shortest hitters on Tour, so a course where long-hitters advantage is neutralized is always a positive for him. Johnson is another one of the best Par 4 players on Tour (7th), and he ranks inside the Top 40 in strokes gained: approach, and scrambling. Johnson comes in as the fourth best value play of the week. Two mediocre/poor weeks at the Northern Trust and Dell Technologies have resulted in him having a deflated price tag this week. Before the playoffs began Johnson was coming off of six straight Top 20 finishes. He’ll need a Top 10 finish if he wants any chance of teeing it up at East Lake.
Pat Perez ($6,800): Pat Perez had a rough week on the golf course, but it all ended well for him. Perez withdrew after the third round to be with his wife who was in labor. After giving birth to a baby girl, Perez is ready to return to the links as a father. With the weight of his wife’s labor off his shoulders I think Perez will be swinging free and easy. He’s another player who needs a big week in order to advance, so with nothing to lose, Perez will be swinging for the fences chasing birdies and Tour Championship dreams.
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