After taking the week off to allow players to recharge their batteries, the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs resume on Thursday at Cog Hill outside Chicago for the playoffs’ penultimate event: the BMW Championship.
The Top 70 players in the FedEx Cup points advanced from the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Top 30 after this tournament will move on the Tour Championship in Atlanta next week for a shot at the $10 million grand prize and, potentially, PGA Tour Player of the Year honors because that race is very much up for grabs as well.
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According to the PGA Tour Web site, based on last year's points needed to reach East Lake, the Top 21 in points going into this year's BMW Championship should be safe to maintain their positions inside the Top 30. (The BMW is a no-cut tournament). Anyone ranked 7th or better can potentially over take the No. 1 spot in FedEx Cup points by winning the BMW. Anyone in the field can potentially move inside the Top 5 by winning the BMW. Anyone ranked 27th or better will likely move inside the Top 5 with a second or better finish.
Defending FedEx Cup points champion – and last year’s Player of the Year – Jim Furyk is currently 35th in the points. The site projects Furyk would need a finish of no worse than 11th this week to be able to defend his championship next week. Everyone from No. 47 on down, which includes big names like Sergio Garcia (53rd), Ernie Els (68th) and Geoff Ogilvy (69th), would need a finish anywhere from Top 5 to Top 3 to move on.
There is also one other thing at stake this week: a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team. The Top 10 on the U.S. Presidents Cup points list after this tournament automatically qualify for the team. And there’s only one wild-card spot available for non-qualifiers because U.S. captain Fred Couples already has promised one to Tiger Woods. The main bubble guy right now is David Toms as No. 10. His lead over Brandt Snedeker (No. 11) is a mere $28,000.
PGA Tour Odds: BMW Championship Favorites
I’m not sure how Webb Simpson isn’t the Bodog favorite this week, as he is listed at 18/1. He has won two of his past three tournaments, including the Deutsche Bank, to take the FedEx Cup lead. It’s not like this guy is a fluke, either. He's played in 22 events this year and has finished 25th or better in all but five of them. His nine Top-10 finishes rank second only to world No. 1 Luke Donald, and he leads the Englishman on the Tour money list by more than $250,000. Simpson is No. 3 in scoring average. He has only played this tournament once, finishing 61st two years ago.
Donald is the favorite at 10/1. He has 11 Top 10s on the PGA Tour, but just that one win, coming way back in February at the Match Play. Donald will have home-field advantage in a way as even though he’s from England he also attended nearby Northwestern and has a home in Chicago. Donald has two Top 10s in nine tries at this tournament, with a T37 a year ago.
Dustin Johnson is the third-favorite at 16/1. Last year Johnson shot two-under 69 on the final day and nine-under total was enough to hold off Paul Casey by a shot. Another win this year, with Johnson entering as No. 2 in the FedEx standings, would make him the overwhelming favorite to capture the $10 million bonus. Johnson won the playoff-opening Barclays and was 42nd at the Deutsche Bank.
PGA Tour Odds: BMW Championship Interesting Long Shots and Pick
Furyk seems like good value at 28/1. He has Top-10 finishes in two of his past three starts. He returns to a course where he has eight Top 10s, including a win in 2005 and a runner-up in 2009.
Els also is solid value at 66/1. He’s been grinding all season and hasn’t come close to a win with no Top-10 finishes. But he was T16 at the Deutsche Bank and has three Top-20 finishes in his past four in this tournament.
But the best value has to be Aussie Marc Leishman at 100/1. He seems to like Cog Hill as he finished second in 2009 and posted a T-11 last year. He’s such a long shot because he hasn’t had a Top-10 finish since Arnie’s tournament in late March.