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BlogBMW PGA Preview and Picks

BMW PGA Championship

May 22 – 25, 2014

Wentworth Club (West Course)

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,302

Purse: $6.1 million

with $1,011,860 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matteo Manassero

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

 The field includes 18 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with four from the top-ten, #3 Henrik Stenson, #7 Sergio Garcia, #8 Justin Rose and #10 Rory McIlroy. The five between 11 and 25 are #18 Charl Schwartzel, #19 Luke Donald #20 Ian Poulter, #23 Victor Dubuisson and #25 Miguel Angel Jimenez. The remaining nine players from 26 to 50 are #27 Lee Westwood, #28 Martin Kaymer, #30 Jamie Donaldson, #32 Thomas Bjorn, #35 Jonas Blixt, #40 Stephen Gallacher, #43 Francesco Molinari, #46 Joost Luiten and #49 Ernie Els.

The field includes 23 of the Top 25 on this year’s European Tour Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #1 Thomas Bjorn, #2 Jamie Donaldson, #4 Sergio Garcia, #5 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #6 Victor Dubuisson, #7 Jonas Blixt, #8 Charl Schwartzel, #9 Stephen Gallacher, #10 Lee Westwood, #11 Henrik Stenson, #12 Joost Luiten, #13 George Coetzee, #14 Branden Grace, #15 Rory McIlroy, #16 Tommy Fleetwood, #18 Ernie Els, #19 Alexander Levy, #20 Pablo Larrazabal, #21 Thongchai Jaidee, #22 Alejandro Canizares, #23 Thomas Aiken, Mikko Ilonen and #25 Ross Fisher.  The only two players missing are #3 Louis Oosthuizen and #17 Richard Sterne.

The field includes eight past champions: Matteo Manassero (2013), Luke Donald (2012 & ’11), Simon Khan (2010), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008), Anders Hansen (2007 & ’02), David Howell (2006), Scott Drummond (2004) and Jose Maria Olazabal (1994).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the BMW PGA Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the BMW PGA Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the BMW PGA Championship.

A a good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the BMW PGA Championship

Player Open Espana Byron Nelson The Players Madeira Island Laguna National Wells Fargo Volvo China Zurich Classic Maybank Malaysian RBC Heritage Masters NH Collection Shell Houston
Martin Kaymer
(291 pts)
DNP T29
(21)
Win
(198)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
T31
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Rose
(271.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(120)
DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T14
(48)
DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(252.33 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP 7
(73.33)
DNP T17
(11)
Miguel A. Jimenez
(238.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(106.67)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(225 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(90)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(66.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
Felipe Aguilar
(207.67 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(182 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP 50
(1.33)
DNP DNP
Sergio Garcia
(163.67 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP 3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP 3
(30)
Anders Hansen
(136.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Daniel Brooks
(128.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP
Thomas Pieters
(125 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Alexander Levy
(124 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(26)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(10)
DNP
Jonas Blixt
(120 pts)
DNP DNP T75
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Henrik Stenson
(118.67 pts)
DNP DNP T34
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(48)
DNP T54
(0)
Chris Wood
(115 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Joost Luiten
(112 pts)
4
(80)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(32)
DNP DNP
Richard Green
(100 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(100 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(99 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richie Ramsay
(98.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Gregory Bourdy
(92 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Maximilian Kieffer
(90 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Julien Quesne
(89.33 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(87.33 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Raphael Jacquelin
(86.67 pts)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the BMW PGA Championship

Player Open Espana Byron Nelson The Players Madeira Island Laguna National Wells Fargo Volvo China Zurich Classic Maybank Malaysian RBC Heritage Masters NH Collection Shell Houston
Peter Uihlein
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Ricardo Gonzalez
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richard Finch
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matthew Baldwin
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thomas Levet
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP
Peter Whiteford
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Soren Hansen
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme Storm
(-25 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP
Jeev Milkha Singh
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jin Jeong
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This is the most prestige event on the European Tour.  It’s played on a classic old course Wentworth, about 20 miles west of London.  Over the years it’s been a tough time getting a top-notch field as some European Tour members took passes to play on the PGA Tour instead of it’s tours premiere events.  But that has changed as more marquee players are realizing how important this event is.  With this being a Ryder Cup year the only European player of note not playing is Graeme McDowell who was a last minute withdrawal because he needed to spend some time with his wife Kristin who is expecting the couples first child later in the summer.

I can only wish that more American players would venture to London to play in this event, I would like to see a deal made with the PGA Tour in which money won in this event would be official money on the PGA Tour.  If that could happen, this event would have a star-studded field.  Now realistically the odds on this happening are slim and none because the folks at Ponte Vedra would have a tough time selling the week to a sponsor of an event held in the States.  I have to think that maybe in the future the PGA Tour could figure out some ways of taking events like the BMW PGA Championship and possibly the Australian Open and make them part of the PGA Tour.  Many including a lot of tour stops would probably not like that because it could cost them marquee players, a bit like what the WGC has done to many of the Tour stops on the PGA Tour.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the BMW PGA Championship.

Key stat for the winner:

  • The course is a classic shotmaker course, that is why those that hit lot’s of greens like Luke Donald have done well at Wentworth.  Having a short game is also important because for those that miss the greens, getting it up and down is tough as there are a lot of bumps and knolls around these greens.  Even last year’s winner Matteo Manassero handed the shots to the greens hitting 53 of 72 which ranked T4th.
  • Experience has always been a key to winning as you see the list of champions including Luke Donald, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. Even at 21-years-old, Matteo Manassero has tons of experience as he had already won three times before his Wentworth victory. But others with very little experience like Simon Khan, Scott Drummond and Ignacio Garrido have won.  Still have to go with the player with lot’s of experience, even though guys like Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington have yet to grace the winner’s circle at the BMW PGA.
  •  It’s interesting to note that Ernie Els has won the Match Play and other events at Wentworth.  But he never won the BMW PGA Championship.  Could he finally break that jinx?  He has a home at Wentworth and has help redesign the course so if there isn’t a person with more “home field advantage” I can’t think of any.
  • Look for lot’s of excitement as the course finishes with a pair of par 5s.  Two years ago Ernie Els made some changes to the 18th by putting the body of water in front of the green.  This brought the scoring average up on the hole, but defeated the purpose of having a player attack the hole in order to win.  The hole has been redone since, and it’s now a gambling hole and one that is getting to be better. Look for more excitement in the finish this year.
  • Now for those that don’t like backing “Seniors” you will change your mind with Miguel Angel Jimenez.  Last week he became the first over 50 to win on the European Tour at the Spanish Open, and you have to think that he can win this week.  He is a past champion but if you watch Jimenez he acts more like a player in his late 30s.  He also loves his vices like Cuban cigars, big steaks and red wine and just a couple of weeks ago got married so maybe that is the reason for his great play.
  • Weather will play a factor this week as the forecast has 70% chance of rain on Thursday, going down to 20% for Friday, but back up to 60% on Saturday and 30% on Sunday.  It’s not going to be warm either as it will be in the mid-60s, but look for some wind all four days around 15 mph.  London has experienced a very wet winter so the players will have a very lush course with very healthy rough.

Who to watch for at the BMW PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Ernie Els

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 T7 T16 T34 T21 CUT T24 T19 T39 7 4

I know that he has one big win left in him and he would love to do it at Wentworth, which he has a second home at and has won many Match Play Championships at this course. Yes his season hasn’t been that great, but Wentworth does something to him.

Lee Westwood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T33 2 T10 CUT WD T12 CUT T27 CUT CUT CUT

Watch him, he has been indifferent at Wentworth, but have that feeling that this could be a good year for him.

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T24 T48 5 CUT

Yes he has missed the cut the last two years, but I think he has a better attitude coming into this week.

UPDATE: I guess we now know why his game hasn’t been very sharp the last couple of months.  With his announcement on Wednesday morning that he has called off his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki, I would be very cautious on any consideration on not only him winning but having a good week.  Afraid that it may be another missed cut at Wentworth as he tends to his personal problems.  Still on the other end maybe him breaking off the engagement will take a lot of the pressure off his mind that has been building up and he will play well.  No matter you make up your mind, for me I treat him as an injured golfer that won’t play well this week.

Best of the rest:

Anders Hansen

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T37 CUT T18 T71 T21 T40 Win CUT CUT T4 T53 Win

Watch him closely, was T2nd in Singapore and has great history winning not once but twice at Wentworth.

Justin Rose

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T50 T2 CUT T10 CUT 2 T11 T32 CUT

If he can win a U.S. Open he can win a event at Wentworth. Has the Open trophy with him, maybe it will spur him on.

Henrik Stenson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T61 CUT T40 T8 T19 T49 CUT T40 CUT

As we said at the Players his game is starting to come around.

Luke Donald

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT Win Win T2 T35 T3 7 T25 T18

Yes he did miss the cut last year but was flawless in the years before including winning this event in 2011 and ’12.

Sergio Garcia

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T19

Don’t think that Wentworth is his favorite course, but he could find himself in the winners circle

Solid contenders

Miguel A. Jimenez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T4 T39 CUT CUT T43 Win T5 3 T56 T8 CUT CUT

He is simply a wonder and he could very easily win again. Has a good record at Wentworth including a win.

Martin Kaymer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T50 T15 T31 CUT T11 T16 T30

Would love to be the only person to win both the Players and the BMW PGA Championship.

Francesco Molinari

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T7 T50 T17 T35 CUT T30 CUT

Has been in the top-ten the last two years at Wentworth.

Peter Ulhlein

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Finished T12th last year, looking for a much better finish this year.

Chris Wood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD T49 CUT T6

Was T6th at Wentworth in 2010, also his last two European Tour starts have been T7th in Spain and 5th in Singapore.

Long shots that could come through:

Felipe Aguilar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT CUT T13 CUT CUT T16

Watch him because he finished T-7th last week, won in Singapore three weeks ago and was T4th at the end of March. He has missed the last two cuts at Wentworth, but did finish T13th in 2012.

Ross Fisher

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T32 CUT T39 T10 2 T68 T39 T41

A good long shot, he was runner–up at Wentworth in 2009

Simon Khan

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T2 T27 CUT Win CUT T10 T24 2 CUT T24

Never give up on this guy, he won this event in 2010 and was runner-up last year.

Richard Green

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T65 CUT T48 T21 T6 T8 T14 T33 T20 CUT T61

Was runner-up last week in Spain, also has a 5th place finish at Wentworth, he could be worth a pound or two.

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