A case of ‘one down, two to go’ for the PGA Tour’s Fedex Cup Play Off’s as we move on to the BMW Championship. Meanwhile, the action returns on the European Tour, with the D&D Real Czech Masters, meaning we have two great events to get our teeth into.
This year’s host venue for the BMW Championship is Medinah Country Club, a 7,657 yard par 72.
Although Medinah played host to the PGA Championship in 1999 and 2006, which were both won by Tiger Woods, it is most famously remembered as the scene of a golfing miracle in 2012 when Europe incredibly snatched the Ryder Cup from under the USA’s noses, by overturning a 10-6 deficit going in to the final day.
Three of the European heroes from 2012 tee it up this week – Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy – with McIlroy vying with Brooks Koepka for favouritism. It is hard to split the pair.
However, as we saw in New Jersey with Patrick Reed, there are enough class acts in these fields to make single-figure favourites fairly unattractive in a tournament where Paddy is paying the first seven places before tee-off.
Just behind the front two in the market comes the in-form Jon Rahm and while tempting, on balance I prefer the chances at slightly bigger odds of Justin Thomas @ 12/1.
I’ve put him up a couple of times recently, but a cold putter again prevented the former Fedex Champion from getting right in the thick of things last weekend.
Tellingly however, Thomas once again striped his irons at Liberty National, finishing the week first for greens in regulation. This sort of approach game should be key on a course, which features smaller than average greens.
Finally with Medinah offering four, par-five opportunities Thomas also sits first on tour in the par-five-scoring averages.
That’s the clincher.
Alongside Thomas, the second player to reappear from last week’s team is Billy Horschel @ 50/1. Horschel comes alive at this time of year and it was only a slow start on Thursday at Liberty National that stopped him from him being right in the thick of things for us last Sunday.
I am happy to stick with him in an event that has brought him huge success recently.
For my final selection, let’s take a chance on a big hitter at a big price, namely Wyndham Clark at 175/1.
PGA Tour rookie Clark played his way in to this event with a great 18th place finish at Liberty National. He should arrive in Illinois thinking he’s playing with house money. Fourth on tour in driving distance and one of the best par-five performers, this is the sort of course on which he could do some damage.
Away from the BMW Championship and it is a return to the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, a par 72 measuring 7467 yards, for this year’s D&D Real Czech Masters.
We have plenty of historical data to look back at, with this being the sixth year running this venue has hosted the tournament,
The one player to catch my eye is Lee Slattery @ 45/1, who played very nicely recently in the lead up to the Open Championship and has finished fourth and second here on his last two visits.
I’ll also chance Edoardo Molinari @ 60/1 who has played very solidly of late and is long overdue a return to the winner’s enclosure in a tournament where Paddy’s paying 7 places each-way before tee-off.
* Prices correct at time of publication