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.
After the Deutsche Bank Championship, Steve Stricker has taken the lead in the battle for the FedEx Cup and he’ll be looking to hold on to that position despite having a Tiger snapping at his heals.
Woods has won four times at Cog Hill and he’ll feed off those good memories this week as he vies to become the first man to win the FedEx Cup on multiple occasions.
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 returns to the circuit this season after a $5 million renovation by Rees Jones. All 18 greens have been rebuilt and feature the high-tech SubAir system to promote optimum growing conditions and faster drainage. New tees have been constructed and bunkering shifted to place more of an emphasis on strategy from the tees. The layout can now be stretched to 7,616 yards though it’s not expected to play that long in the BMW Championship.
In last year’s BMW Championship, Colombia’s Camilo Villegas secured a wire-to-wire victory at Bellerive GC in St Louis. He finished two shots clear of Dudley Hart. Despite finishing back in 44th spot, Vijay Singh amassed enough points to secure the FedEx Cup and the winning prize of $10 million. That won’t be repeated in 2009. For one, Vijay Singh has not made it into the field for the BMW and, secondly, the FedEx Cup can’t be won this year until the Tour Championship.

Venue: Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Illinois
Date: September 10-13
Course stats: par 71, 7,386 yards
Purse: $7,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending Champion: Camilo Villegas (-15)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 10 – Live on British Eurosport from 8pm
Friday 11 – Live on British Eurosport from 8pm
Saturday 12 – Live on British Eurosport from 8pm
Sunday 13 – Live on British Eurosport from 7pm

Player Watch:
Tiger Woods – He’ll be desperate to regain his position at the head of the FedEx Cup table. Tiger doesn’t like playing second fiddle to anyone.
Angel Cabrera – The Argentine has climbed to 22nd in the FedEx Cup rankings and will be looking to continue the form he displayed at the Deutsche Bank last week.
Retief Goosen – The South African is on the verge of re-finding his best form. The fact he ranks so high in the putting stats should aid him on Cog Hill’s revamped, tricky greens. He’ll also look to feed off a good finish last week.

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.

Where next?

European Tour: Mercedes-Benz Championship preview