The top-70 players on the FedEx Cup rankings head for Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana this week to contest the BMW Championship where Justin Rose will defend the title.

After his victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship, World Number 1 Rory McIlroy holds the FedEx Cup lead coming into this event. Nick Watney, winner of The Barclays is in second with Tiger Woods in third. Louis Oosthuizen has climbed to fifth place, just behind Brandt Snedeker.

Up until 2007, this event was known as the Western Open and it has a long, distinguished history. The first Western Open was contested in 1899 and was won by Willie Smith. Since then, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nick Price and Tiger Woods have all been champions.

In last year’s event England’s Justin Rose produced a superb opening round of 63 and he held on through the remaining three rounds to record a two-stroke victory over Australia’s John Senden.

Rose has made the top-70 once again and will defend his BMW title. There will be strong representation from Britain and Ireland with Brian Davis, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Martin Laird, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood all in the field.

There’s a new venue for this year’s tournament. The last three editions were held at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Illinois, but this season the tournament heads for Indiana and Crooked Stick.

Built in the mid 1960s, Crooked Stick was Pete Dye’s first significant course design. He drew on influences from Donald Ross and Alister MacKenzie to transform a swathe of Indiana farmland into a highly challenging and complex layout.

It’s a course that has witnessed a number of significant events including the Solheim Cup of 2005 won by the USA. Back in 1991, John Daly won the USPGA Championshp at Crooked Stick.

Venue: Crooked Stick GC, Carmel, Indiana
Date: September 6-9
Course stats: par 72, 7,516 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Justin Rose (-13)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 6 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 7 – Live on Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 8 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 5pm
Sunday 9 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 5pm

Player Watch:
Jeff Overton – The Indiana native made it into this event with a sound tied seventh place finish last week at TPC Boston. He’ll be looking for a solid performance in front of home fans to try and move into the top-30 and earn a spot in the Tour Championship.

Tiger Woods – He produced four solid rounds last week and looked ominously close to returning to his best form. He holed a number of clutch putts and that’s always been the key to his game. If he can keep it going at Crooked Stick we could see him take another title.

Rory McIlroy – The World Number 1 looks in a class of his own at the moment. He won last week without even playing that well. If he does play well, as at the USPGA Championship, he could leave the field for dust.

Key hole: 18th. A great par 4 of 457 yards. A lake runs down the entire right side of the hole and a deep valley along the left. The green is large and sloping and protected by three challenging pot bunkers. This is a very daunting prospect for a player needing a par to take the title.

Where next?
European Tour –
KLM Open preview