2017 BMW Championship – Thursday, September 14th through Sunday, September 17th

Football is back and golf is by no means gone. This is often forgotten, but it’s really only the month of December that we are golf free. Which is great news for us at FanVice, as we continued to lay waste to everything at the Dell Technologies Championship. Anyway, third leg of the FedEx playoffs this week and we have a loaded field and some huge contests. Let’s get into it.

This week’s BMW Championship this week is to be played at Conway Farms Golf Club outside of Chicago. This course hosted the event in 2015 and 2013, but it does rotate so be careful of strict history. We are also right on Lake Michigan which may mean watch out for wind. Poor weather apparently had them playing LCP (lift, clean, place the ball due to bad weather related course deterioration) for part of the tournament in 2015, when almost every hole played easier than in 2013.

The shot distributions were actually fairly similar, with the only noticeable difference being 2% less 0-50 yard shots in 2015. This is presumably from the better lies on the second shots leading to fewer missed greens, as a 0-50 yard shot is a relatively uncommon approach. It did turn the value of distance off the tee up considerably as well, and I’m not sure that will continue this year with a clear weather forecast. I only count seven driving holes.

This is a pretty classic “test the whole bag” challenge, with second shots coming from a number of distances due to the variety of hole-lengths. There are THREE 350ish yard par 4s as well as a number that stretch over 450, so wedges and long irons will both come into play on the second shots. Three par 5s, none of which yielded many eagles without pretty strong wind at the back. The fairways are up there with Harbour Town and Copperhead for narrowest on tour. The rough was harder than tour average to play out of in 2013.

All in all this seems like a carbon copy of TPC Boston as far as what skills we’re going to want so if you liked a player at Dell Tech and they performed (and not just bailed themselves out on the greens) I don’t see any reason to back off. This is a no cut event, so almost like a four day weekend. There are going to be massive swings and you are going to need birdies. Also it’s a completely stacked field as we are down to the top 70 in FEC standings. Everyone here belongs. Well, except for Charles Howell.

Overall, OTT (off the tea) seems slightly less important than it has been lately, with an emphasis on the very long and very short iron shots. I am avoiding massive sprayers, although this is a club down type of course if you buy into that sort of thing. I plan on doing a project this offseason about which players actually perform better when taking driver out of their hands.

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Pricey (9.0+ DK):

Dustin Johnson-11.5/19.3: Just the best player, has every iron shot and has really improved with the putter the last year plus. I’m not necessarily inclined to spend all the way up but when I do this is going to be where.

Hideki Matsuyama-9.9/17.6: I think this is time to hop on Hideki with so many other options and a slightly cooler putter. He gained over five strokes on approach last week and is obviously one of the best iron players out there. Long enough, straight off of the tee. If he has an average week putting he should top 10 easily with winning upside.

Jason Day-9.6/17.2: Despite the two incredible finishes here (won 2015, 4th 2013) I don’t love the fit for him. I think he was probably a better player back then as well, with back injuries taking a toll. However, in a no cut event his birdie upside is insane, and he is still as good as it gets around and on the greens. As much of a lock as there is for a 65 round at some point.

 

Mid-range (7.4-8.9k DK):

Henrik Stenson-8.9/16.4: More or less the same argument as Hideki. Should fly under the radar, solid recent form, very nice price, premier iron player.

Sergio Garcia-8.7/14.9: Still underpriced and I still can’t quit. He was cruising last week until he broke his putter and completely fell back on Saturday. Hits over 300 and straight, another all-around iron player, just needs to make some putts.

Kevin Na-7.9/14.3: This actually stands out as an overprice and has me interested for tournaments. Na has quietly been crushing. Last week he was 2nd in the field in SG:APP, with a significant lead over #3 Jordan Spieth. The tee shots have let him down, which makes sense given his lack of length, but that should be mitigated some by this course layout. I like the fit a lot, and if you catch him when he’s hot on the greens look out.

 

Cheapies (below 7.4 DK):

It’s a no cut event, gotta jam in the original Birdman Phil Mickelson-7.3/14.2. Got it done everywhere last week, even somehow keeping the ball in the fairway for the most part. Presently just on the outside looking in for Eagle Lake next week, he’ll need to perform if he wants a chance to buy another private jet or whatever.

Gary Woodland-7.1/12.9: While I worry a little about the spraying and the around the green work, this is just an unfair price for someone with this upside. Had an unbelievable weekend at Dell, helping propel me to a second place finish in the $36 tournament. Great with super long irons.

The end of the year is a time to take one last shot with Hillbilly-7.0/12.0: He’ll shoot a 76 at some point, but without a cut we aren’t as worried and hope that he pulls out three 65s. At this price you aren’t relying on finishing points, so let those birdies fly.

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Go and get it everybody.

Find me on Twitter @andrewmbarron or in the FanVice Premium Slack @hotmajik if you wanna talk strat/make jokes/argue