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It's the third week of the playoffs and we are all out of cuts. All 70 golfers will get to play four rounds this week so you can take a few more risks than normal with your lineup and be wary of players who are candidates for withdrawal (either with injuries or those safely into the Tour Championship field).
The BMW Championship likes to course hop from year to year generally staying in Illinois and Indian. The BWM returns to the 2012 location Crooked Stick Golf Club just outside Carmel, IN where Rory McIlroy won by two strokes over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.
The course plays as a par 72 at 7,516 yards up from 7,497 yards in 2012. The biggest changes are to the par 4 10th which increases 60 yards from 397 to 457 yards and the par 5 11th shrinking 39 yards from 595 to 556 yards. We have bentgrass on the greens yet again this week.
Crooked Stick was built by Pete and Alice Dye in 1964. Dye has a number of courses on regular rotation on Tour. Here is a list of some the Dye courses which have been used on Tour and some recent events held there.
Crooked Stick Golf Club –BMW Championship (2012 and 2016) - Par 72, 7,516 yards
Harbour Town Golf Links – RBC Heritage (1969 to present) - Par 71, 7,101 yards
Kiawah Island Ocean Course – PGA Championship (2012) – Par 72, 7,873 yards
TPC of Louisiana - Zurich Classic of New Orleans (2005, 2007 to present) – Par 72, 7,399 yards
TPC River Highlands – Travelers Championship (1984 to present) - Par 70, 6,841 yards
TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course - THE PLAYERS Championship (1982 to present) – Par 72, 7,215 yards
PGA West - CareerBuilder Challenge (2016) – Par 72, 7,300 yards
Whistling Straits - Straits Course – PGA Championship (2010 and 2015) – Par 72, 7,790 yards
As you can see, this week's venue is on the longer side of Dye courses so we'll focus a bit more on those who succeed on the longer layouts. That said, Dye uses the same type of visual chicanery on all of his courses so the ability to play a Dye course is valuable this week no matter the length.
Where should we focus our statistical microscope this week?
Par 5 Scoring Average (P5SA): With four par 5s, scoring will come from here as well. Three of the four are between 523 and 556 yards so we could focus on the range between 500 and 550 if we wanted to as well.
Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards (P4E450-500) – Seven of the ten par 4s are now between 454 and 497 yards with an eighth at 442 yards. We'll need golfers who can score on these holes as well as stay out of trouble.
Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green (SG:APP) – This is will be a second shot course again this week so we'll go with SG:APP again. Recall that SG:APP is a part of SG:T2G so there is a bit of double counting going on here.
Finally, we'll take a look at some other second shot stats as we focus on Efficiency from the Fairway > 200 yards (Eff>200:Fairway) and Efficiency from the Fairway between 175 and 200 yards (Eff175-200:Fairway). Thanks to one of our Twitter friends we see the importance those efficiency scores from 2012.
Our tiebreaker for the week is Performance on Pete Dye courses as provided by our friend Josh Culp. Not all Pete Dye courses are created equally, but there is something to be said for success on a Dye track.
And of course, we examine Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with more weight on SG:T2G again this week.
As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This week it looks like the weather will play a factor as thunderstorms are expected Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The wind will be up a little bit this week, but should still be manageable with the winds hovering between 10 to 15 mph each day except Sunday when conditions look calm. It's a small field so the tourney could play around with tee times to avoid any weather issues.
1. RORY MCILROY [YAHOO CLASS B] - WORLD RANKING: #4
Well, that will do nicely. Rory looked like the Rory of the past last week as he had his struggles, but ultimately overcame them, the course and the field to win. His putter looked to be back in order and if that's the case he's going to be dangerous again this week where he is the "defending" champ from 2012. He's 9th in my model this week, but it hardly matters if he continues his hot putting again this week (2nd in SG:T2G, 93rd in SG:P, 1st in P5SA, 6th in P4E:400-450, 3rd in P5E:500-550, 48th in SG:APP, 10th in Eff>200:Fairway and, 184th in Eff>200:Fairway).
2. DUSTIN JOHNSON [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #2
DJ finished T8 last week at the DBC and that was even with firing a Saturday 75 sandwiched around a Friday and Sunday 66s. He finished T6 here in 2012 and is eighth in my statistical profile for the week (3rd in SG:T2G, 43rd in SG:P, 10th in P5SA, 2nd in P4E:400-450, 9th in P5E:500-550, 27th in SG:APP, 77th in Eff>200:Fairway and, 161st in Eff>200:Fairway). He needs to be considered as one of the favorites this week.
3. ADAM SCOTT [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #7
The Aussie finished T6 at Crooked Stick in 2012 and looks primed for another top 10 run this week. He's been putting on a clinic from tee to green the last few weeks including back to back fourth place finishes. He is second in my stats model this week (1st in SG:T2G, 124th in SG:P, 10th in P5SA, 16th in P4E:400-450, 13th in P5E:500-550, 1st in SG:APP, 2nd in Eff>200:Fairway and, 8th in Eff>200:Fairway). The putter is a concern, but he was 24th in the field last week in SG:P and that will get it done for Scott with his excellent tee to green game.
4. PATRICK REED [YAHOO CLASS B] - WORLD RANKING: #14
Is Reed the hottest player on Tour? Sure seems that way as he's been in the top 25 in his last eight worldwide events with seven top 15s including a win and T5 in his last two. He did not play Crooked Stick in 2012, but he's 13th in my model for the week (22nd in SG:T2G, 47th in SG:P, 10th in P5SA, 83rd in P4E:400-450, 2nd in P5E:500-550, 68th in SG:APP, 21st in Eff>200:Fairway and, 65th in Eff>200:Fairway).
5. LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN [YAHOO CLASS C] - WORLD RANKING: #16
Oosty finished T16 at the 2012 BMW Championship and comes in playing well with four straight top 25 finishes on Tour and a T8 last week. He's 19th in the model, but I'm going to have him higher on my list (20th in SG:T2G, 122nd in SG:P, 92nd in P5SA, 38th in P4E:400-450, 57th in P5E:500-550, 45th in SG:APP, 8th in Eff>200:Fairway and, 18th in Eff>200:Fairway).