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BlogBMW PGA Preview and Picks

BMW PGA Championship

May 21st – 24th, 2015

Wentworth Club (West Course)

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.7 million

with $712,427 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 15 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with two from the top-ten, #1 Rory McIlroy and #6 Justin Rose. The three between 11 and 25 are #18 Martin Kaymer, #19 Luke Donald #22 Brooks Koepka. The remaining ten players from 26 to 50 are #27 Lee Westwood, #29 Victor Dubuisson, #30 Jamie Donaldson, #35 Graeme McDowell, #37 Graeme McDowell, #37 Danny Willett, #39 Branden Grace, #41 Anirban Lahiri, #44 Bernd Wiesberger, #45 Stephen Gallacher  and #46 Joost Luiten.

Last year there was 18 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 20 of the Top 25 on this year’s European Tour Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #1 Rory McIlroy, #2 Danny Willett, #3 Justin Rose, #5 Branden Grace, #6 Ross Fisher, #7 Anirban Lahiri, #8 Bernd Wiesberger, #9 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #10 George Coetzee, #11 David Howell, #12 Tommy Fleetwood, #14 Andy Sullivan, #15 Gary Stal, #16 Marc Warren, #19 Lee Westwood, #20 Thongchai Jaidee, #21 Alex Noren, #22 Miguel A. Jimenez, #24 Martin Kaymer and #25 Emiliano Grillo.  The only five players missing are #4 Louis Oosthuizen, #13 Henrik Stenson, #17 Ashun Wu, #18 Charl Schwartzel and #23 Ian Poulter.

The field includes ten past champions: Rory McIlroy (2014), Matteo Manassero (2013), Luke Donald (2012 & ’11), Simon Khan (2010), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008), Anders Hansen (2007 & ’02), David Howell (2006), Scott Drummond (2004), Ignacio Gerardo (2003) and Anders Hansen (2002).

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

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

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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 de Espana Wells Fargo The Players Mauritius Open Cadillac Match Play Shenzhen Intern. Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Trophee Hassan Valero Texas
Rory McIlroy
(511.67 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T8
(75)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(106.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(260.17 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP
David Howell
(227.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP
George Coetzee
(211.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(186.33 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(105)
3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(153.67 pts)
6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP
James Morrison
(146.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP T70
(0)
DNP
Richie Ramsay
(141.67 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP 7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(137.17 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(75)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(22.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP 3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(16)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(122.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
Miguel A. Jimenez
(110.67 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(109.5 pts)
DNP DNP T42
(12)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
Thomas Aiken
(108 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hao-tong Li
(106.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP 6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(95.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-5)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Thorbjorn Olesen
(90 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(86.67 pts)
69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Julien Quesne
(85.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP
Scott Hend
(83.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 72
(0)
DNP
Wade Ormsby
(79.33 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP
Gregory Bourdy
(78.67 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP
Romain Wattel
(78.33 pts)
T49
(1)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Y.E. Yang
(75.33 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Alexander Levy
(73.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Open de Espana Wells Fargo The Players Mauritius Open Cadillac Match Play Shenzhen Intern. Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Masters Shell Houston Trophee Hassan Valero Texas
Thomas Bjorn
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Sam Hutsby
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Mark Tullo
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Daniel Brooks
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Peter Hanson
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nicolas Colsaerts
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Oliver Fisher
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
DNP
Chris Doak
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Damien McGrane
(-21.67 pts)
DQ
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Hennie Otto
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 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.  The only marquee European not in the field is Paul Casey, who decided to play this week at the Colonial.

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.

While we are talking about American’s playing in this event, one American that was suppose to play this event was Patrick Reed.  He not only committed to play in this week’s event, but also was suppose to be in Ireland for next week’s event.  For some odd reason we first wondered about him when we saw his name pop up at the Colonial last Friday.  Even strange was a number of British writers, one in general Derek Lawerenson made a big deal about him playing in his Daily Mail column.  He went out of his way to tell folks how big of a deal it was for a great American player like Reed to show up.  Now we have know Reed to be a different type of guy and I’m not saying this in a faltering way.  In the next week or two a major book is coming out that has tales of him cheating and honestly we don’t know if it’s true or not other than it was written by a well respected author, the publisher is still coming out with it so there has to be some true to this.  So Reed doesn’t have a stellar reputation and it’s going to take a hit with his excuse of that he has “family reasons” for not playing in Europe.  Sorry if he had those problems he shouldn’t be playing at Colonial this week and the Byron Nelson next.  Of course the truth will come out, probably Reed thought he had some financial helping that never came through.  The European Tour does allow tournaments to pay top players to show up but the BMW PGA doesn’t pay anyone.  As for the Irish Open next week, it’s holding together on a string and it’s getting a great field because Rory McIlroy is calling in some favors of top players to show up.  Did McIlroy have contact with Reed is something that he has to answer.  The bottom line is that Reed is not going to be welcomed with open arms when he shows up the next time in Europe.  Hopefully Reed will come out with a better story than “family reasons” but I doubt it.

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.
  • Since major work was done on Wentworth in 2011, the par 4s are really tough, some of the hardest on the European Tour with five of the 12 playing over 449 yards.  In the last three years, those that made the cut have played the par 4s in 5.4 over par so you can see how Luke Donald won in 2012 when he played the 4s in 3 under, Matteo Manassero was 1 over in his ’13 win while Rory McIlroy played the par 4s in 1 under last year.
  • 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 not play a factor in this year’s event as it will be nice every day, with a 30% chance of rain Sunday afternoon.  Temperatures with be in the mid-60s so it should be nice.

 

Who to watch for at the BMW PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Justin Rose

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
25 T50 T2 CUT T10 CUT 2 T11 T32

19 under par in his last 32 played at Wentworth, he won just a month ago in New Orleans and was 2nd at Wentworth just three years ago.

David Howell

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT CUT T39 T61 T72 T63 Win 4 T47 CUT

Past champion, in his last three European starts he has been T-2nd, 4th and T-2nd.

Luke Donald

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 CUT Win Win T2 T35 T3 7 T25 T18

His game hasn’t come close to the way it was three years ago, but Wentworth is a course that he owns. Been over par just once in last 21 rounds at Wentworth, in those rounds he won twice, was runner-up once and third once.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win CUT CUT T24 T48 5 CUT

Hottest player in golf who comes to this event as the defending champion. Sorry to put water on this fire but other than his win last year, McIlroy hasn’t played very well at Wentworth. Also think he may show some fatigue this week, he has played some great golf over the last three weeks. He also got off a private jet from Charlotte (more partying than sleep on the plane) and went straight to a Nike outing. Sorry just think he may be out of juice this week.

Francesco Molinari

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T7 T9 T7 T50 T17 T35 CUT T30 CUT

T-2nd last week in Spain but more importunely he has played well at Wentworth finishing T-7th last year, T-9th in 2013 and T-7th in 2012.

Miguel A. Jimenez

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T35 T4 T39 CUT CUT T43 Win T5 3 T56 T8 CUT

He hasn’t played very well in 2015 until last week when he finished T2nd in Spain. He has a good past at Wentworth and you know he will play well.

Martin Kaymer

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12 T50 T15 T31 CUT T11 T16 T30

Still looking for his game but has had a good record at Wentworth.

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Shane Lowry

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
2 T12 T68 T4 T65

Almost won last year, has a T-4th in 2011. Hasn’t played well of late, but hasn’t really played that much.

Thomas Bjorn

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 T40 T43 CUT T16 CUT T39 CUT T22 T18 CUT

Always a good choice, hasn’t played that great at Wentworth but you never know.

George Coetzee

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T30 T24 T21

Of the regulars on the European Tour he has played the most consistent.

Stephen Gallacher

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 CUT CUT CUT 4 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT T20 CUT

Another consistent player, he was T-5th last year at Wentworth.

Long shots that could come through:

Marc Warren

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T16 T2 T27 CUT T21 T22 T30 WD

Finished T-16th last year and T-2nd last year. Started the season strong and looking to regain that good forum.

Emiliano Grillo

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT

Been in the top-11 of his last three European Tour stops including 6th in Spain. Hasn’t play well at Wentworth, but could turn that around.

Eddie Pepperell

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T21 T6

A good longshot, did finish T-6th in 2013 and was 4th at Qatar back in Janaury.

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