The top-70 players on the FedEx Cup rankings head for Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Chicago this week to contest the BMW Championship – the third leg of the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs. Dustin Johnson defends the title.
After his victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship, Webb Simpson heads the FedEx Cup standings with Barclays winner Dustin Johnson in second place. Matt Kuchar currently sits third and Luke Donald fourth.
Home to the PGA Tour’s Western Open from 1991 to 2006, then host to the BMW Championship in 2007, Cog Hill Golf and Country Club underwent a $5 million renovation by Rees Jones in 2008. All 18 greens were rebuilt and now feature the high-tech SubAir system to promote optimum growing conditions and faster drainage. New tees were constructed and bunkering shifted to place more of an emphasis on strategy from the tees.
Many players grumbled about the condition of the course in 2010 but more favourable weather conditions in the lead up to this event have left the layout in far better shape. Chicago resident Luke Donald tweeted at the start of the week that “players will enjoy the much better conditions.”
Donald, currently fourth on the FedEx Cup standings, will be looking for a victory here to give him a shot at taking the overall FedEx Cup title but, for many others in the field, the objective will be to secure a place in the top-30 on the standings so as to guarantee a start at next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake. Kyle Stanley is currently right on the mark in 30th place with Scotland’s Martin Laird just outside at 31st. Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els are all outside the top-30 going into this event.
Last year Dustin Johnson took the title at Cog Hill with a one-stroke victory over Paul Casey.
Venue: Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Illinois
Date: Sep 15-18
Course stats: par 71, 7,386 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson (-9)
Thursday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 5pm
Sunday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 5pm
Dustin Johnson – Last year’s champion will surely contend again this week. He’s already a Playoff winner after he secured victory in the Barclays, a win here would put him in a great position to take the FedEx Cup overall.
Vijay Singh – The veteran Fijian may have missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank but he placed in the top five in his last two starts prior to that event. He seems to be returning to form and could be a surprise winner this week.
Rickie Fowler – The young Californian just missed out on the Tour Championship last year and he’ll be desperate to ensure it doesn’t happen again this time. He’s currently 37th on the standings and needs to finish 10th or better to guarantee a start at East Lake.
Key hole: 18th. A testing par 4 of 480 yards, both the fairway and green slope towards a pond on the left hand side. Expect to see a number of players’ hopes sink in this hazard.
Skills required: Strategy. Rees Jones’ alterations to the course are designed to place greater emphasis on the need for a strategic approach both off the tee and on approaches.
Amateurs – GB&I win Walker Cup