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BlogBMW PGA Preview and Picks

BMW PGA Championship

May 26th – 29th, 2016

Wentworth Club (West Course)

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.45 million

with $950,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Byeong-Hun An

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

 The field includes 34 of the top 100 ranking players and 13 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with one from the top-ten, #9 Danny Willett. The others are; #23 Russell Knox, #26 Byeong Hun An, #28 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #35 Lee Westwood, #36 Shane Lowry, #37 Andy Sullivan, #40 Soren Kjeldsen, #44 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #45 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #46 Bernd Wiesberger, #48 Thongchai Jaidee and #50 David Lingmerth.

Last year there was 13 top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 19 of the Top 25 on this year’s European Tour Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #1 Danny Willett, #3 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #4 Rory McIlroy, #7 Lee Westwood, #8 Joost Luiten, #10 Soomin Lee, #11 Soren Kjeldsen, #12 Chris Wood, #13, Jeunghun Wang, #14 Scott Hend, #15 Marcus Fraser, #17 Andy Sullivan, #18 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #19 Andrew Johnston, #20 Brandon Stone, #21 Thomas Pieters, #22 Haotong Li, #24 Nathan Holman and #25 Thorbjorn Olesen.  The only six players missing are #2 Rory McIlroy, #2 Louis Oosthuizen, #5 Henrik Stenson, #6 Branden Grace, #9 Charl Schwartzel, #16 Byeong Hun An and #23 Sergio Garcia.

The field includes seven past champions: Byeong-Hun An (2015), Matteo Manassero (2013), Luke Donald (2012 & ’11), Simon Khan (2010), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008), David Howell (2006) and Scott Drummond (2004).

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.

**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 AT&T Nelson Irish Open The Players Mauritius Open Wells Fargo Trophee Hassan Zurich Classic Volvo China Valero Texas Shenzhen RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Jeunghun Wang
(247.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(206.5 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
T19
(46.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Bradley Dredge
(170.67 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP 7
(36.67)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(136.17 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
T39
(16.5)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
T49
(0.67)
Richard Bland
(133.67 pts)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP
Nicolas Colsaerts
(133.67 pts)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Soren Kjeldsen
(131.5 pts)
DNP T19
(31)
T43
(10.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
T7
(36.67)
Nacho Elvira
(128.67 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP
Joost Luiten
(127.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(124.17 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP
Matthew Southgate
(123 pts)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP T50
(1)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(120 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP 12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(117.33 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP
Scott Hend
(114.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Brandon Stone
(110 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Lee Westwood
(106.67 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
Haotong Li
(103.33 pts)
DNP 18
(32)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Alexander Levy
(103 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Danny Willett
(100 pts)
DNP T23
(27)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
Jason Scrivener
(99 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Johnston
(97 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
James Morrison
(94.67 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP
Gregory Bourdy
(92.67 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP
Rikard Karlberg
(92.67 pts)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Callum Shinkwin
(85.33 pts)
DNP T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP 13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP 67
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player AT&T Nelson Irish Open The Players Mauritius Open Wells Fargo Trophee Hassan Zurich Classic Volvo China Valero Texas Shenzhen RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Edouard Espana
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Andrew Mcarthur
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Matthew Baldwin
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
James Busby
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DQ
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Soren Hansen
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Michael Hoey
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Chris Paisley
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Robert Karlsson
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Ben Evans
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP
Scott Jamieson
(-30 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
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. This year it’s missing it’s biggest draw, Rory McIlroy who decided to take a pass and not play.  He did play in three straight Wells Fargo, The Players and the Irish Open.  He wants to play at the Memorial so he had to choose a tournament not to play and this was it.

This event is at a cross roads right now.  It’s biggest problem is the venue and the folks that run Wentworth.  It was bought by a Chinese firm last year and they have come in and want to seriously restructure the membership and the amount people are paying.  The community of Wentworth is one of the richest in England and is on par to Beverly Hills, California.  The people who live in Wentworth and are members have deep pockets and don’t complain about what something is costing, but they are all hitting the roof over the price hikes and what is becoming of Wentworth.

In a way the organization in the middle is the European Tour. They have their offices next to the clubhouse and have been there since they first started.  In a way they feel of Wentworth like the PGA Tour does toward TPC Sawgrass.  The big difference is the PGA Tour owns and runs TPC Sawgrass and can do whatever they want with it.  But the European Tour has no say at Wentworth and to be frank the relationship isn’t the best.  The club started making changes to the course five years ago that didn’t go very well, players didn’t like it and a lot of players haven’t played in this event like Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington and Justin Rose.

Is there a solution to all of the problems with Wentworth, probably not.  One of the biggest complaints from the players was the redesign and the greens, after this year’s tournament both of those problems will be addressed  I don’t know the structure of the contract between Wentworth and the European Tour on how long the BMW PGA is to be played on the course, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the European Tour going elsewhere in the near future.  Nobody knows where, but this is the plum jewel of the European Tour and they need a special course and probably one in London.  Lot’s of candidates, the area has a dozen of the greatest courses in the world, but to get one that can hold a big tournament that is tough.

But I don’t see the future anymore of this event sticking at Wentworth with all of it’s problems.

 

Fantasy Golf – In the United States we have Draft Kings, or should I say must of us that don’t live in states like New York, Arizona, Nevado and Washington that bans the games.  I love the challenge, a bit like playing a lottery but you have more control of the game.  But till last week the only game in town was the PGA Tour.  Over in England they have legalize gambling and you can bet on the outcome of the tournament or certain match-ups.  But there was no fantasy games like Draft Kings until last week.  A British company has done a deal with the European Tour and last week did the first fantasy game in the United Kingdom.  That company is Playon.com and there game is the same as Draftkings with one change, you draft seven players instead of six.  I can’t legally play Playon.com, because of gambling laws in the United States the company won’t let me have an account.  Now I was able to play in their “free-game” in which I finished 2nd and won a whopping two pounds and ten cents.  It was nice playing a different tour and the problems associated with that.  The good news is that now Draft Kings is starting a European Tour game so we can now play that tour.

I have played Draft Kings games for about a year and have found a way to win, a lot has to do with what game you chose.  Of course if you pick the big games with the biggest payouts, you have to contend with several hundred thousands of players and then it’s nothing more than a lottery because it’s hard to chose six good players.  But if you go with the lesser games, looking for a finish that will earn you $40 or $50, your way ahead.

After I finish this preview I will have a short Draft King blog on my picks and explain a bit further some of the secrets I have learned in playing Draft Kings games.

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.  But the key to playing well is to hit lot’s of greens like last year’s winner Byeong-Hun An did, he only missed 11 greens all week leading the field in greens hit.  To show how important it is to hit greens, going back to 2009 all of champions but Rory McIlroy were in the top-ten of greens hit.

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 four years, those that made the cut have played the par 4s in 5.8 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, Rory McIlroy played the par 4s in 1 under in 2014 and Byeong-Hun An was 3 under on the par 4s last year.

Experience has always been a key to winning as you see the list of champions including Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. Last year Byeong-Hun An won at 23 years old and evne though he wasn’t well know, he did with the U.S. Open in 2009 at the age of 17.  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.

Now for those that don’t like backing “Seniors” you will change your mind with Miguel Angel Jimenez.  In 2014 he became the first over 50 to win on the European Tour at the Spanish Open, he followed it up with a win in Hong Kong.  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 in 2014 got re-married so maybe that is the reason for his great play.

Weather will be good for Thursday and Friday’s round.  But the weekend looks a bit dicey as Thunderstorms and showers could plague the tournament.

 

Who to watch for at the BMW PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Shane Lowry

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 2 T12 T68 T4 T65

His game has been up and down since his Bridgestone win nine months ago. But he seems to be better now, was T-23rd last week in Ireland. His driving has been solid all year and he’s ok in hitting greens, his big problem is putting. On the PGA Tour he ranks in the bottom 15% in putting stats so the bottom line is that if he can get the putter going, he can win. Has a great record at Wentworth, only been over par twice in last 12 rounds in which he has been 26 under.

Russell Knox

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Want a good dark horse for this week, Knox is your guy. He has not played at Wentworth, but his game should be perfect since he leads the PGA Tour in greens hit and was T-2nd last week and four weeks ago at the Heritage.

Lee Westwood

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 T35 T9 T33 2 T10 CUT WD T12 CUT T27 CUT

Have to think that other than a major, would love to win this event. In 22 starts does have five top-tens including two runner-up spots. Is playing well, he could be a big surprise this week.

Best of the rest:

Danny Willett

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 T63 T32 T43 CUT 5

All eyes will be watching him, he did finish 5th in 2010 at Wentworth but hasn’t played well since. Played well in Ireland until a bad weekend held him back.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT T16 CUT T15 CUT T17 CUT

Guy has been on a run since March and he is going to win one of these weeks and it could be this week.

Francesco Molinari

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
5 T7 T9 T7 T50 T17 T35 CUT T30 CUT

This guy plays great at Wentworth and has played well the last two months.

Byeong-Hun An

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win

The defender has a weird record, only made one cut in last four starts but that was a T-2nd at Zurich.

Jamie Donaldson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T18 T30 T37 T53 T7 T34 T32 T53 CUT T8

Been a long year in which things are getting better, does have a couple of top-tens in this event.

Solid contenders

Martin Kaymer

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T18 T12 T50 T15 T31 CUT T11 T16 T30

Guy is strong with his play into the greens, so it’s a bit of a mystery why his best finish in the BMW PGA is T-11th in nine tries. Have to think that he is playing well again and could run away with this.

Luke Donald

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T38 T3 CUT Win Win T2 T35 T3 7 T25 T18

Great record at Wentworth, he has been trying the last couple of years to get back at the level he was at five years ago. did finish 2nd at Heritage last month.

Nicolas Colsaerts

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T22 T71 T24 CUT CUT 78 T35 T58

Another guy that has the potential (5th on European Tour greens hit table) but has struggled at this event. But he is a year wiser, playing greet and it could be his time.

Miguel A. Jimenez

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T2 T35 T4 T39 CUT CUT T43 Win T5 3 T56 T8

Yes he is 52 but still knows how to play well and win, has a great record at Wentworth.

Chris Wood

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
4 T21 WD T49 CUT T6

Played well last year, hasn’t played that great in 2016 but has made a lot of cuts.

Long shots that could come through:

Jamie Lovemark

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

A great dark horse, talking time off from the PGA Tour to play here. He’s an average tee to green player but scores around the greens, is T-4th in scrambling and T-9th in total birdies on the PGA Tour.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time, he can surprise a lot of folks

Matthew Southgate

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Played well last week in Ireland

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