The BMW Championship tees off Thursday morning.
This week’s PGA Tour stop is the BMW Championship, at Medinah in Chicago, the site of many majors and the 2012 Ryder Cup matches that the United States team somehow found a way to blow on the final day. This is the second leg of the three-pronged FedEx Cup playoffs, which have been shortened from four events this year in large part so it doesn’t run into the start of the NFL season. Which means it’s also the next-to-last tournament of the 2018-19 schedule. But don’t worry. The Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, in West Virginia, will kick off another season starting on Sept. 12. Even though nobody will really care too much until at least the Tournament of Champions in the first week of January. Or, dare we say, maybe even The Players Championship in mid-March.
But bettors always have reasons to care. So here we go.
The favorite is none other than World No. 1 Brooks Koepka, who’s 15-2 even though he didn’t play well last week (tie for 30th) and hasn’t played very well at this tourney (19th or worse three of last four appearances). He’s also never won a FedEx event. Of course he’s won four majors, which more than makes up for that. And for whatever it’s worth, I have him next week in that yearlong pool that I have to pick back in December. And I’m often a week too late or too early. Just throwing it out there.
Rory McIlroy is 8-1. Jon Rahm, who was leading last week’s Northern Trust on the final nine, is 11-1. Nobody has played any better over the last few months. Still, he has little to show for it. Dustin Johnson, who can’t putt, is 14-1. As is Justin Thomas, who hasn’t done much in awhile but always seems capable. Patrick Reed, who did win last week, is 20-1. Adam Scott, who also has a tough time on the greens, is 22-1, along with Patrick Cantlay. Tommy Fleetwood and Webb Simpson, who’s been on a decent run of late, are 25-1.
Hideki Matsuyama, who started out with a pair of 68s a week ago before tying for 30th, is 33-1. So is Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth, who’s coming off a really good effort. And when was the last time Fowler and Spieth were both 33-1? Just thinking out loud. Tony Finau, Louis Oosthuizen and Xander Shauffele are 40-1. Tiger Woods is 41-1. He won the PGA Championship here in 1999. And 2006. But would you touch him right now? Bryson DeChambeau, he of the slow-play controversy, is 45-1.
Jason Day, who I do have in my pool, is 50-1. He just split with caddie Stevie Williams after two months following a missed cut. Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter are 50-1 as well. Poulter was the star of the European Ryder Cup team seven years ago, going unbeaten. But that’s a different game. Gary Woodland is 65-1, Brandt Snedeker, who played well last week, is 70-1. And Ryan Moore is 80-1. For whatever reasons, some folks are looking at Corey Conners at 150-1. Maybe I should too.
OK, enough already. Time to make the doughnuts. I could go a bunch of different ways, which is usually the problem. I’m going to back both Rory McIlroy at 8-1 and Jon Rahm at 11-1, because I think they’re both going to be in the hunt. And that’s half the battle, getting to Sunday afternoon. For my middle of the road kind of guy I’ll take Hideki Matsuyama, who I’ve taken before this year with little to show for it. But at 33-1 I’ll take my chances. And because I can, I’ll also take Xander Schauffele at 40-1. For mostly laughs, I would even toss a few bucks on that Conners bloke, just in case those people are right. Maybe even just to finish in the top 10 or so, since you could probably still get a decent payout if he does that.
The one guy I was thinking about but didn’t pull the trigger on was Jordan Spieth at 33-1. Which of course means you should probably do yourself a favor and go that way at least a little bit, since you know that kind of stuff tends to come back to haunt me. Just duly noting. Remember, I’m on your side in all this.
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