BMW decides the fate of many
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 BMW Championship | Preview | 13 Sep 2011
The PGA Tour seldom gets a one week break during their congested schedule these days but with the introduction of a week off in the middle of the FedEx Cup Playoffs this year the 70 players remaining in the race for Fed Ex Cup glory and riches head for Chicago this week with their batteries recharged.
The BMW Championship is again played at the Dubsdread layout at the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, designed and built originally in 1964 but significantly remodeled by Rees Jones in 2008. The venue has played host to this event or its equivalent since 1991, the only exception coming in 2008 when the tournament was moved to St Louis during its remodeling.
The revised layout has received its share of criticism although much of that may well have been because of the condition of the course in 2010. There has also been criticism of the changes made to the layout however.
This is likely to be the final occasion the event will be played at Cog Hill in the foreseeable future as the BMW is schedule to be played at Crooked Stick in Indianapolis in 2012 ahead of the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson has already won a Playoff event this year when winning the Barclays Classic in New Jersey three weeks ago and he gets another great opportunity this week when he pursues a repeat of the title he won last year over Paul Casey.
Johnson currently stands in second position behind Webb Simpson in the Fed Ex Cup standings and a successful defense this week would go a long way to securing the US$10 million bonus money he would earn as the winner of the overall FedEx Cup.
Webb Simpson leads the series at present as a result of his two recent victories in Greensboro and at the Deutsche Bank in Boston. An indication on just how far Simpson has come in 2011 is that he did not even make it to this event last year having been knocked out of the FedEx Cup at the Deutsche Bank.
Matt Kuchar at three in FedEx Cup standings and Luke Donald at four have had their moments at Cog Hill although overall Kuchar has done better. He finished 3rd last year and 10th in 2009 while Donald’s best finish has been 3rd in 2004 and 10th in 2009.
Both Donald and Kuchar have been in amazingly consistent form in 2011 and must surely do well this week.
Seven Australians remain in the FedEx Cup. Jason Day (6th), Adam Scott (16th), Aaron Baddeley (25th), John Senden (55th), Robert Allenby (62nd), Marc Leishman (65th) and Geoff Ogilvy (69th) all get their chance to advance their cause and for one or two the chance to challenge for the lead in the series before next week’s Tour Championship.
Allenby has won this event previously and Baddeley and Leishman have finished runner-up but there is a significant difference between the layout on which Allenby and Baddeley performed so well and that which exists today. Leishman finished runner-up in 2009 after the course had been remodeled.
Day has been only average in his two visits to Cog Hill but he is such an improved player in 2011 that he could still do well.
Scott has played well on occasions at Cog Hill including when 4th in 2007.
In order to make the top 30 who will graduate to the Tour Championship in Atlanta next week then all but Day and Scott have a lot of work to do.
Allenby, Ogilvy and Baddeley are amongst that group and they have the added incentive of the Presidents Cup International Team being finalised in two weeks time following the Tour Championship.
If they don’t make it to that event they might not make it to Melbourne.
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