BMW Championship ⏤ Picks & Analysis

Fantasy Golf

Olympia Fields1

The Fedex Cup Playoffs roll on this week to Olympia Fields Country Club for the BMW Championship just outside of Chicago, IL. The course is playing host to its first PGA TOUR event in some time, but the venue is no stranger to high-quality competition. The USGA has come to Olympia Fields a number of times with the two most recent trips including the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship (won by Bryson Dechambeau) and the 2003 U.S. Open Championship (won by Jim Furyk). 

This Willie Park original design is old-school with narrow fairways flanked largely on both sides by trees. The venue is likely to play a bit friendlier than how we saw it setup by the USGA (just four players finished under par), but we'd still forecast a far more brutish test than the 30-under par winner we saw last week at TPC Boston. Players will need to find fairways to generate the spin required to hold the ball near the flags positioned in the corners of these table-top greens.

Dustin Johnson predictably enters the week as the betting favorite (+800) in the wake of his dominant performance at the Northern Trust. He flirted with one of the best rounds in the history of the PGA TOUR on Friday, running up a total of 11-under through his first eleven holes before "settling" for pars on the way in to shoot a "disappointing" round of 60. The next round of favorites include Jon Rahm (+1000), Bryson Dechambeau (+1200) and Justin Thomas (+1200). 

Group A

There are a lot of heavy hitters in this group, but our choice among them is going to be to ride the hot hand from last week and stick with Dustin Johnson. While DJ had some bumps in the road earlier this summer, it's certainly starting to look like those rounds around 80 at the Memorial and the 3M Open were injury-related blips and not systemic issues with his game. Since he withdrew from the 3M Open after an opening-round 78, he's shot twelve straight rounds in the 60s en route to a T12 finish at the Fedex St. Jude, a T2 finish at the PGA Championship and then a dominant eleven-shot win at the Northern Trust last week.

Bryson Dechambeau is another viable option as he's been one of the hottest players on the planet since the COVID reboot and he's got a history of success at this golf course having won the U.S. Amateur here back in 2015. The only reason why we passed on him this week is that the consistency he showed earlier this summer seems to have eroded of late. He won the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but then missed the cut in his next start at the Memorial. He finished 4th at the PGA Championship, but then missed the cut last week at the Northern Trust. This week is a no-cut event so the downside exposure isn't quite as high as it might be other weeks, but even still we're going to opt out of spinning the wheel with Bryson this week and go with the best player in the world these last few weeks.

Group B

We never know if we're letting the wish be the father of the thought when we pick him, but our pick from Group B this week is going to be none other than the greatest player of all-time himself...Tiger Woods. While he's been plagued by inconsistency in his few post-COVID starts, his game looked as sharp as ever on Sunday at the Northern Trust when he shot what appeared to be an awfully easy 66 in the final round. That round easily could have been in the low sixties and if its a sign of what's to come we expect big things from the Big Cat this week.

Jason Day was on a pretty good heater going into the opening round of the Playoffs, but the enthusiasm we had for him last week  dissipated in the wake of the 70-75 he shot en route to a missed cut at the Northern Trust. While eventual winner Dustin Johnson was shooting rounds of 67-60 to open his tournament, Day finished near the back of the pack eighteen strokes behind. Gary Woodland has had some brief moments of promise (5th at the Workday Charity Open, 9th at the Charles Schwab Challenge) but the missed cut last week was emblematic of the trouble he's had with his game in the last few weeks. Adam Scott hasn't done much in his few post-COVID appearances and Patrick Cantlay seems to be a better fit at more difficult golf courses. Webb Simpson has struggled to regain the form he showed early in the summer and we hear he might withdraw from this event to prepare for the TOUR Championship.

If there were more promising other options in this group, we might not be so inclined to take a flyer on Tiger. However, with the rest of Group B creating plenty of cause for concern, we can think of worse ideas than taking the 15-time major champion.

Group C

While the two younger Englishmen (Fitzpatrick and Hatton) have a lot more promise as far as their future careers, our pick from Group C for this week is going to be the veteran South African Louis Oosthuizen. Quietly, Louis has had a pretty decent season and when his putter has cooperated the former Open Champion can put up results like those we've seen pop up in the past few weeks. A final round 73 dropped Oosthuizen down the board this past Sunday at the Northern Trust, but he found himself in the final grouping after three solid rounds of 65-65-68 to open the tournament. He played reasonably well at the PGA Championship (33rd) and posted four rounds in the sixties at the Fedex St. Jude to finish T6. He's shown just enough form these past few weeks and between that and the golf course fit we see here we think he's a solid choice.

Group D

There are a number of strong players in this group, but we think the no-brainer choice here is Daniel Berger. He finished 3rd last week at the Northern Trust and added that top-five to the three others (including a win at Charles Schwab Challenge) that he's posted since the return from the COVID pause. He's quietly been one of the best players in the world since the PGA TOUR got going again and while he may not be the most accomplished of the bunch in Group D he certainly is the one who comes in showing the best form.

A case could certainly be made for PGA Champion Collin Morikawa, but we're of the mind that the past few weeks leading up to and including his win at that major championship are likely to have worn Morikawa out. He showed signs of that last week with his worst performance of the year in the wake of his win and the burdens on his time since he won aren't very likely to have left him a ton of time to work on his game. He's the most promising player in this group as far as future performance, but we're going to pass on him this week and wait for him to catch his breath after notching such a huge win at TPC Harding Park.

Group E

This is following a familiar pattern, but we're going to opt out of taking the more accomplished players in this group (including a Fedex Cup champion, two-time major champion and two of the biggest ATMs in PGA TOUR history) to select Kevin Kisner. We always favor form over resume when it comes to daily fantasy picks and quietly the Kiz has posted extremely impressive results over the past three weeks. He started with a pair of solid top-25 finishes at the Fedex St. Jude and the PGA Championship before finishing 3rd at the Wyndham Championship and then 4th last week at the Northern Trust. His putter is a tremendous asset and when his ball striking gets hot like it appears to have been lately he's a definite threat at the top of the leaderboard.

Group F

To our minds, the choice in this group of young guns comes down to Viktor Hovland against our pick of Scottie Scheffler. Scottie shot one of the few 59s in PGA TOUR history on Friday of last week and managed somehow to do it under the radar thanks to the incredible performance of Dustin Johnson that very same day. The fourth-place finish he notched at the Northern Trust was his second consecutive top-five (he also finished 4th at the PGA Championship) and his previous two starts to those two were top-25 finishes at the difficult Memorial Tournament and the Fedex St. Jude Invitational. Viktor Hovland had a great start to the post-COVID part of the season, but his performance has slacked off a bit over the past few weeks. We're going to ride the hotter hand here and select Scheffler.