PGA Tour: FedEx Cup Playoffs: BMW Championship:
This is the third leg of the playoff series and the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings all feature, with the top 30 after this tournament playing in the Tour Championship finale next week, when,in addition to the prize money on offer, all will earn a share of $35m in bonus money. Remember, it is the top 30 in the FedEx standings and not the top 30 in this event who will qualify to play next week, some have already secured their place, but even those guys will be looking to improve their position on the leaderboard ahead of the trip to Atlanta.
You can view the scenarios required and target positions for those currently outside the top 30 on this page of the PGA website. There is also the battle for the #1 golf ranking between Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth with Jason Day moving up fast on the outside, with these three aged 26,22 and 27 respectively and still some way short of what is normally considered prime golfing years, this is a battle that could thrill and excite for another decade plus.
Rory has just returned from injury and might still be a little rusty, Day has had an incredible two months winning three times, including his breakthrough major, but there were signs last time out that he had peaked and whilst the two week break might have done him good, it is also a momentum breaker, which was kind of what Spieth needed, a let down was always on the cards after his grand slam hopes were narrowly dashed at the Open Championship, but back to back missed cuts at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank were a bit too much and I suspect, although he has said differently, a blow to his pride. He felt he was striking the ball well in the latter and seemed relaxed and was talking up a good game in interview this week :"My game is in a solid state right now. It's in a state where I can certainly shoot into double digits under par, and I believe that."Everything feels normal, everything is on point. I just had two bad weeks."Just leave it at that. "You're just not going to make every single cut. "You're going to have two bad days in a row every now and then."I feel very confident about where I'm at right this second. I rested a lot. I got a lot of work in this past week, took some time off."It's just a matter of getting it rolling, get into a groove and starting to see some putts go in and get an under-par round started so that I can settle in a little easier."
Spieth will get to play four rounds regardless this week and is not really under any pressure to perform as he has already achieved more than any other golfer has this season and more than most will in their entire career. Spieth has usually bounced back well from a missed cut, finishing second next time out on three of the last six occasions, before missing out at the first two playoff events and I expect him to go close this week on a course he played well at in 2013, the last time it was held at the Conway Farms Golf Club . Just 20 yo then, he shot two very low rounds, one in poor conditions and if he can start solidly this week, the first 5-6 holes are very important, I expect him to go close and for once, we get a good price about him, so I am going to start with .....
Jordan Spieth to win outright 12.0-13.0 general quote.
We have spoken many times over recent years about how consistent a golfer Jim Furyk is and he always seems to come good at this time of year and loves the playoff format.Furyk got that monkey off his back in April at the RBC Heritage recording his first win in five years, but the 17th of his lucrative career (closing in on $70m of prize money) and he has finished top 4 in three of his last five starts. He played very solidly at the first two playoff events and will love that this event is returning to the Conway Farms Golf Club where he shot a 59 in Round 2 in 2013. That is the magical score in golf, the holy grail for professionals and that Furyk did it here, in a major event, but more importantly in poor conditions, with players like Woods, Mickelson and Kuchar shooting 13-15 strokes more was miraculous and must go down as one the best single rounds on Tour in recent memory. He was only the 6th man in PGA history to shoot 59 on Tour and conditions that day were described as " temperatures in the low 60s, a breeze blowing 10 to 15 mph and gusting to 20 out of the north-northeast and with the greens icy fast." It was possible to shoot low, by which I mean 66-68 but 59 was the last thing on anyone's mind. The wind might well factor again this week, maybe today and certainly on Saturday (and again from NNE) looking at current forecasts.
Back in March , a month or so before he won, I spoke about how well he had be playing, at least until the back nine on Sunday ......"However, in terms of consistency, especially through three (and a half ?) rounds there are few better golfers and since finishing T6 in this last year, so we are talking about a full 12 month period, he has played 20 tournaments and finished inside the top 23 in 18 ( 90%) , top 10 in 11 (55%), top 5 in 7 (35%) and second in 4 (20% of the time ) ! That is simply stunning form, included in that sequence are all four majors through which he has finished T14-T12-4-T5 and despite not be able to buy a win, if you had to pick any golfer to finish top 20 in a tournament for your life, you would have to look long and hard for a better candidate than Gentleman Jim."
He seens to be putting a similar run together now and on a course which suits and in likely conditions which he will handle better than most, he has to go well. Furyk is currently in 9th on the FedEx Cup list and will be looking to get himself in contention to play for #1 next week at East Lake, a course that he has won at previously. Two more things, Furyk's home course is a Tom Fazio design like this one and he described them as very similar in layout, he hit 32 fairways in a row here in 2013 and secondly, his record in Ilinois, where in 16 starts, he has never finished lower than 29th, has avergaged 9.94 and posted 11 top 8 finishes !
Jim Furyk to finish top 10 at a general quote of 2.50-2.625.