For PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf gamers in pursuit of a league leader, there isn’t a better example to test your mettle than the penultimate tournament of the season. It happens to be this week’s BMW Championship.
With no cut in the 50-man field on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club and quadrupled FedExCup bonus points for your starters in the final round, how you play this week will determine if you’re going to have a shot at your league title at next week’s TOUR Championship.
Depending on your situation, there are at least a couple of schools of thought to consider. Curiously, and fortunately for the timely focus of this space, it seems that Sean Martin has examined both.
When Expert Picks published on Tuesday, his LINEUP (i.e., “STARTERS”) matched mine, but his BENCH consisted of Lucas Glover and Max Homa. However, at last check of EXPERT PICKS on the game’s home page, he’s modified his BENCH to match mine of Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele. So, save some wild finale during which either he or I has holstered the eventual winner who has come from way behind to prevail, while the other hasn’t, he’s all but guaranteed to enter the TOUR Championship at a deficit.
Assuming the absence of that outlier and that he sticks with his decision, he knows that he stays alive for the slingshot at the finish line. (It also encourages me to stand pat to play the stymie, although changes that I make to my lineup after Expert Picks publishes almost always are dictated by weather or concerning news, such as a withdrawal from the Wednesday pro-am.) Sure, Glover or Homa could win the BMW Championship, but so could Hovland or Schauffele. If either of the latter two connect without Sean on board, he’s pretty much toast.
The additional variable to Sean’s calculus is the fact that Glass is nipping on his heels, so playing it conservatively by drafting me serves the primary purpose, but it also opens a lane for Glass to capitalize with his deviations of Homa and Collin Morikawa. (This assumes Glass makes no changes before the opening round, of course.) Only 140 points separate the three of us, so even though I project strength in starts for all of the current top nine in the FedExCup standings, I can’t play all of them. Christian remains mathematically alive in fourth, but he needs to win both of the last two outright and get help to eliminate his current deficit of 454 points. None of his six should match any of golfers that Sean, Glass and I are rostering, but only Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose are unique.
The last critical component is the five-year-old format of FedExCup Starting Strokes that establishes the opening leaderboard at East Lake Golf Club. With positioning leveraged, gamers are wise to load up on the guys at the top of the standings at the conclusion of the BMW Championship. Because final leaderboard position in the finale determines FedEx bonus points (and not only aggregate scoring across the 72-hole competition), front-runners will be investing hard in those atop the opening leaderboard. So, chasers not only are going to be targeting gaps but also edges amid weighted scoring.
Put it all together and it’s possible that more leagues will be won this week than next. Connect with me on X, formally Twitter, if you want to review your situation and possibilities.
POWER RANKINGS WILD CARD
Collin Morikawa (+150 = Top 10) … Just as Cam Davis proved in this week’s Sleepers that I don’t discriminate from consecutive appearances in that franchise despite personal decisions to spread the love, Morikawa is going back-to-back as the Wild Card in the Playoffs. But hey, that’s what happens when a guy is as compelling as he is. A frenetic year has him positioned 22nd in the FedExCup, so he’s battling more for his opening position at East Lake Golf Club than a tee time. And while he required one shot more than a top 10 would have paid at TPC Southwind (see Recap below), lean in again on the same prop at Olympia Fields. When his tee-to-green game is on, it’s among the best out there, and the course will reward it handsomely. He placed T20 here in 2020.
Odds were sourced on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 3:30 a.m. ET. For live odds, visit BetMGM.
NOTE: These are notables who are not included in my Power Rankings or Sleepers. Connect with me on Twitter if you want analysis, insight and opinion for anyone else.
Rickie Fowler (-105 = Top 20) … At 12th in the FedExCup, he’s headed back to the TOUR Championship for the first time in four years. It’s paid off the commitment but it ain’t over yet. Since winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the 34-year-old hasn’t made any noise, yet the board still respects him. As it should. So, his best fit is for chasers in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf who need a relatively cool star either to spell a start for a highly owned notable and/or to serve as a well-timed zag. Yes, he still needs to deliver, but the promise of 72 holes feeds into the long game of the season of galloping through the tape.
Tyrrell Hatton (-160 = Top 20) … He’s 26th in the FedExCup, so it’d be upset if he doesn’t hang on to play the TOUR Championship for the second time (2020). He’s been so consistent and reliable all season, and he finished T16 at Olympia Fields in 2020. However, with that paltry kickback, slot him as a complementary piece in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf where consistent and reliable contributors are gold in battling the chalk.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+110 = Top 20) … It’s a limited board, so take what it gives you. It’s not the board’s fault. I just wouldn’t multiply the units for the Brit right now. He’s a far cry from the T6 that he registered at Olympia Fields in 2020. All that said, he’s the speculative bettor’s dream because of his cachet. You do you.
NOTE: Not everything needs a setup. For a variety of reasons, these lines are too enticing to ignore.
Corey Conners (+450 = Lowest Score Over 72 Holes – Group D)
Corey Conners (+140 = Top Canadian)
Si Woo Kim (+125 = Top 20)
Kurt Kitayama (+260 = Top 20)
Adam Schenk (+210 = Top 20)
Cameron Young (+100 = Top 20)
RETURNING TO COMPETITION
RECAP – FedEx St. Jude Championship
Power Ranking Golfer = Result
1 Jon Rahm = T37
2 Scottie Scheffler = T31
3 Rory McIlroy = T3
4 Rickie Fowler = T58
5 Patrick Cantlay = P2
6 Viktor Hovland = T13
7 Brian Harman = T31
8 Lucas Glover = Win
9 J.T. Poston = T24
10 Tommy Fleetwood = T3
11 Tony Finau = 64th
12 Xander Schauffele = T24
13 Emiliano Grillo = T20
14 Russell Henley = T6
15 Byeong Hun An = T37
* – For the recommendations below, an asterisk represents a bet that won.
Golfer (recommended bet) = Result
*Cam Davis (+170 = Top 20) = T6
Thomas Detry (-250 = Top 40) = T61
*Hideki Matsuyama (+115 = Top 20) = T16
Alex Smalley (-175 = Top 40) = 65th
*J.J. Spaun (-200 = Top 40) = T24
Team (recommended bet) = Result
Wild Card: Collin Morikawa (+200 = Top 10) = T13
Also Starring: Wyndham Clark (-105 = Top 20) = T66
Also Starring: Tyrrell Hatton (+200 = Top 10) = T43
Also Starring: Jason Day (+350 = Lowest Score Over 72 Holes – Group D) = T52 (Jordan Spieth = T6)
*Also Starring: Jordan Spieth (-105 = Top 20) = T6
*Tap-in: Corey Conners (+160 = Top Canadian) = T6
*Tommy Fleetwood (+250 = Top English) = T3
*Sungjae Im (+120 = Top 20) = T6
Hideki Matsuyama (+333 = Top Asian) = T16 (Sungjae Im = T6)
*Rory McIlroy (+150 = Top Brit and Irish) = T3
*Brandon Wu (-125 = Top 40) = T37
Returning: Tom Kim (-105 = Top 20) = T24
Source : PGA Tour