Tournament: BMW Championship, September 14-17, 2017
Course: Conway Farms Golf Club, 7,208 yards, par 71.
Defending Champ: Dustin Johnson did his best Dustin Johnson last year (at a different course: Crooked Stick in Indiana) by shooting a course record in the 2nd round, never shooting worse than 68, and a key eagle on the finishing holes to hold off runner-up Paul Casey.
Fun Fact: Supposedly this playoff event is tied to the old Western Open, which was a stalwart on the professional golf schedule in the United States for about a hundred years. But the Tour is now alternating this tournament site between Chicago in odd-numbered years and other cities in even-numbered years. Why they don’t just nail down a tourney in Chicao every freakin’ year is beyond me. What? No sports fans up there? No companies with headquarters in the area? Lake effect snow starting in September these days? Sheesh.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
Dawgs in the Field: (Four): Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Hudson Swafford, Russell Henley
This is the 3rd leg of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoffs. The first event was the top 125 in points, two weeks ago was the 2nd leg and that was the top 100 in points. The field has been narrowed further to only the top 70, and unfortunately that culled two former Bulldogs (Bubba Watson and Chris Kirk). Harris English was eliminated after the first playoff event, the Deutsche Bank championship in August. But we still have 4 in the field this week, and as Meat Loaf sang, 4 out of 70 ain’t bad.
There will be no cut this week, which means all 70 entrants will play all four rounds. Also means they will all cash checks too. And a smaller field with this pretty big purse means even last place is worth about $20,000 (35th place about $50k, 20th place about $100k, and winner being over $1.5M). So if everyone gets a check, what’s to play for?
Glad you asked: its all about moving on to next week’s Tour Championship. The top 30 in points get invited to a very exclusive field at East Lake in Atlanta. And a chance to make even more money. Though the points list is cumulative and season-long, the points in the playoffs are double so movement is volatile. Usually about 4-6 players move up enough (thus 4-6 players get bumped out). And this is important because...
UGA’s own Hudson Swafford is currently #33 on the list. Which means he needs to jump 3 players to land on #30 or higher. This is totally doable, but he first needs to place higher than those above him, then place high enough with the relative points to make sure he jumps them in the cumulative standings. If either of the three players beat him this week, he’s done.
Russell Henley is an almost sure bet to advance at #23. Though if he finishes very low, and the 7 or 8 guys behind him beat him by many places, it can be a touch and go. Brian Harman is at #15 and he can go ahead and lock in that Delta flight from O’Hare to Hartsfield. Same story for Kevin Kisner who is #14. A win or 2nd place from those two can really make things interesting for the $10 Million prize for FedEx Cup champion next week.
So if you don’t want to watch college football, or if you really liked NBC’s broadcast enough last week that you want to keep watching the peacock, flip it on over to watch ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls for big money.
And as always...