The FedEx Cup switches to the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club (No. 3 course) in Chicago this week for the penultimate leg of the playoffs. Previously the BMW Championship was the third of four stops in the playoff run but is now the second of three. There are still 69 players (Kevin Na withdrew from the field of 70) and no alternate list. For the first time, however, it takes place at historic Medinah, which has hosted three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup.
What is now the BMW Championship was originally the Western Open, which dated back to 1899 and finished up in 2006. The next year its name was altered to the BMW, and it became part of the playoffs. Though Chicago has been its primary home base, the BMW has been staged at other noted venues, such as Bellerive near St. Louis, Crooked Stick just outside of Indianapolis and Aronimink in the Philadelphia area.
As for the Chicago area, the BMW has been staged at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest and at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, the latter of which hosted the Western Open from 1991 until 2006. Next year the BMW will be held at Chicago’s Olympia Fields, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2003.
Club selection, conditions key at Medinah
The Medinah course this week is a par of 72 and at a hefty total of 7,613 yards. Perhaps the most picturesque holes are the second, 13th and 17th, each of which is a par 3 requiring water carries over Lake Kadijah. Club selection on these holes could prove pivotal when all is said and done, particularly if it gets windy.
Medinah is looking pure. 💯 pic.twitter.com/saqdEaUzs5
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 14, 2019
Tiger has history on his side, but Rose is the pick
With so few tournaments and matches contested here, Tiger Woods is the only proven horse for course. He won the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships at Medinah. He is the only player in the field with any stroke-play victories on the course.
PGA Championship Moments: Tiger’s duel with a Sergio at Medinah was one for the ages. pic.twitter.com/TtG6m12JhU
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) August 11, 2018
Ten players from the 2012 Ryder Cup— five on the American side and an equal number from that victorious European team—return for this BMW, so the faces of golf at the elite level change in just a short time.
With that being said, I will lean on Justin Rose (+1600) for top honors. The Englishman captured the BMW at Cog Hill back in 2011 and played well in the “Miracle at Medinah” Ryder Cup seven years ago, when he earned a pivotal late singles victory over Phil Mickelson. Rose is second on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting and sixth in strokes gained total. He’s worth a play to win the tournament and in all of his matchups. The defending Olympic gold medalist also rarely puts in a bad showing.
Another player I can definitely envision contending is another Englishman—Ian Poulter. He finished tied for ninth in the 2006 PGA at Medinah. At the 2012 Ryder Cup on this same course, Poulter was phenomenal, with four wins in as many matches. He’s clearly comfortable here and merits a look at +5000. Though he hasn’t won much in his career, Poulter is definitely worthy of each-way and any match wagering.