This week players head to Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course in Olympia Fields, Illinois for the BMW Championship.
The 2nd stop in the 2020 FedEx Cup Playoffs will take place just outside of Chicago on a course the PGA hasn’t been to since 2003. However, Olympia fields is a classic track that has seen its fair share of big tournaments, hosting two US Opens and the 2015 US Amateur.
The playoffs’ 2nd leg brings with it the top 70 players from the FedEx Cup standings, including:
- Tiger Woods
- Justin Thomas
- Rory McIlroy
- John Rahm
- Xander Schauffele
- Collin Morikawa
- Jason Day
- Patrick Reed
- Bryson DeChambeau
After this no-cut event, the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings will move onto Eastlake Country club in Atlanta to battle it out for the $15 million first-place prize for finishing on top of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Onto Olympia Fields!
It is somewhat of a mystery to the industry as to how the 7300+ yard Par 70 will play this week. The PGA Tour hasn’t been here since 2003, and the course underwent some renovations in 2017.
As stated, Olympia Fields is no stranger to significant events, hosting two US Opens and the 2015 US Amateur, but it isn’t easy to take much from prior events and apply it to what we think we will see this week.
What is known is this, with only two Par 5s, scoring opportunities will be lower than what we would see on a par 72 course. One of the Par 5s, the opening hole, plays long but typically downwind, meaning players will be able to reach in two. The other is a mammoth 600-yard hold that requires an absolutely perfect tee shot from even the longest players if they are going to get home in two.
The rest of the course features 7 Par 4s that play over 450 yards, which still just means low irons into greens for most of these players. The Par 3s feature two rather short holes and two holes that will play as the most challenging tests on the course.
I think that this will be a little more of a test than players are accustomed to seeing on most PGA Tour stops. I’m looking at winning scores between 12 to 15 under but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was less than that.
Off The Tee
Without prior events to take anything from, it is difficult to assess the challenges that players will face this week. With that being said, I was lucky enough to be DM’ed by a member of the course who has kept me up to date with the setup. Anything I share here will be from that source, who could be completely messing with me. I very much doubt it, though.
Players will mostly be hitting drivers off the tee, but there are a few less than driver holes where water comes into play. Olympia Fields isn’t extremely tree-lined, nothing like what we saw last week at TPC Boston, but there are stretches where a wayward tree will block an errant shot.
The rough can be brutal just off the fairways, but the further you get, it lightens up so big misses may be rewarded. Regardless, players will need to find the fairway because getting spin on the ball will be necessary as the greens seem to be playing extremely firm.
On The Greens
The greens at Olympia Fields feature a Poa/Bentgrass mix that is somewhat common on the Tour. For these events, it plays more similar to pure Bentgrass than the Poa we see out West.
These greens do not feature crazy undulation, as they were flattened during the 2017 remodel, but there are subtle breaks that make them more challenging than the TPC courses we have seen lately.
Olympia Field’s most effective defense this week will be how firm these greens get. Early indicators suggest organizers are going to give players a challenge this week. In practice rounds, wedges were releasing, a far cry from the massive spin backs we see week to week, and seven irons were rolling out 10 to 15 feet.
If this holds, Olympia Fields will feature the best counter to the extremely low scores we see week to week: fast and frim conditions.
Onto the Plays!
This Week’s Statististics
I kept it very simple this week. Approach is always the feature stat. I combined strokes gained off the tee and fairways gained in an effort to find those players who are not only long but always fairway finders.
Finally, I gave credence to those who will be able to get up and down from the undoubtedly severe conditions and added scrambling to pinpoint those short game masters.
Onto the Plays!
The BMW Championship Outright Plays
⛳ BMW CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYS ⛳
|Total Units Invested:
The BMW Championship Full Tournament Head To Head
|HEAD TO HEAD MYBOOKIE.AG
⛳ BMW CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYS ⛳
|Hubbard o Streel
|Oostie o Fitz
|JT o Rahm
|JT -1.5 o DJ
|Kokrak o Conners
Daniel Berger +2224 At BetOnline.ag
Daniel Berger has been the best player from strokes gained perspective since the suspension was lifted and play on the PGA Tour resumed. It hasn’t even been remotely close.
Over his last 24 rounds (22 of which have come post-suspension), Berger has gained 58 total strokes on the field. Over that same timeframe, the next best player is DJ, who has gained 48 strokes total on the field. Ten less!
What I love about Berger this week, especially on a course that looks like it will test all facets of a player’s game, is that he gets it done in every aspect.
He Is Blowing Away Top Players
Over his last ten tournaments, he is averaging over a full stroke gained each week in each of the four major strokes gained categories; off the tee, approach, around the greens, and putting.
He actually isn’t first over that timeframe in any category, but he is blowing away this list of elite players when you put them all together.
I price Berger here with the favorites at roughly +1200. I rarely have much value this high on the board, but the market isn’t giving Daniel the respect he deserves, and I will gladly take him at 20/1.
Jason Day +2829 At BetOnline.ag
It was one week ago today that I was staring at Jason Day’s number for the Northern Trust and wondering how I could justify betting him less than 20/1. I couldn’t, it was simply too short even for a player who was showing Day’s form.
My how things have changed in a week. After a missed cut last week Day’s number has moved substantially and I love backing players when the market has overreacted to a small 4 round sample.
Let’s get this out of the way. Jason Day sucked last week and it was behind losing over 6 strokes on approach in 2 rounds. That is incredibly hard to do.
I’m more focused on what he had done for a month prior. For 4 weeks he gained strokes in every major category outside of hitting some errant drives at the Memorial.
World Class Short Game
This is the kind of form we saw from Day when he ascended to World Number 1 a few years back. Day’s short game has always been world-class, but the sky is truly the limit for him when he is flagging irons.
I especially like him on more challenging tracks where that aforementioned short game can shine. If players are going to have a difficult time holding greens, a high ball hitter like Day can gain an advantage, especially if he finds himself off the green and can put his magical chipping game in play.
Market overreactions are what builds bankrolls, and we have the quintessential situation here with Jason Day. Back him at 28/1 and above.
That is it for this week’s write up. Thank you for reading! I am free all week for any questions and be sure to check out the FORE! Profit Podcast, my full card on Wednesday Afternoon and my live Q and A Wednesday Evening. All of my weekly content is available via @jmazzjd on Twitter.