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BlogBMW PGA Preview and Picks

BMW PGA Championship

May 25th – 28th, 2017

Wentworth Club (West Course)

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,281

Purse: $7 Million

with $908,330 (last year) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Chris Wood

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 31 of the top 100 ranking players and 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with two from the top-ten, #5 Henrik Stenson and #9 Justin Rose. The others are; #13 Alex Noren, #16 Tyrrell Hatton, #22 Danny Willett, #24 Thomas Pieters, #26 Branden Grace, #28 Tommy Fleetwood, #30 Bernd Wiesberger, #31 Francesco Molinari, #34 Russell Knox, #41 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #47 Ross Fisher, #50 Martin Kaymer.

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

The field includes 18 of the Top 25 on this year’s European Tour Race to Dubai money list.  Those players include #2 Tommy Fleetwood, #4 Justin Rose, #5 Bernd Wiesberger, #6 Ross Fisher, #8 Thomas Pieters, #10 Fabrizio Zanotti, #12 Pablo Larrazabal,#4 David Lipsky, #16 Jeunghun Wang, #17 Francesco Molinari, #18 Dylan Frittelli, #19 Martin Kaymer, #20 Sam Brazel, #21 Tyrrell Hatton, #22 Paul Dune, #23 Brandon Stone, #24 Lee Westwood and #25 Dean Burmester.  The only 7 players missing, they are #1 Sergio Garcia, #3 Jon Rahm, #7 Charl Schwartzel, #9 Rory McIlory, #11 Alexander Levy, #13 Hideto Tanihara, #15 Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

The field includes five past champions: Chris Wood (2016), Byeong-Hun An (2015), Matteo Manassero (2013), Luke Donald (2012 & ’11) and David Howell (2006).

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 The Rocco Forte Open AT&T Byron Nelson Open de Portugal The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Volvo China Open Zurich Classic of New Orleans Shenzhen International Valero Texas Open Trophee Hassan II RBC Heritage Masters
Bernd Wiesberger
(203 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(57)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
Ian Poulter
(196.33 pts)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP T2
(150)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP
Alvaro Quiros
(160 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(146 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(90)
T24
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
T33
(11.33)
Matt Wallace
(144 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(134 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP
Byeong Hun An
(131.33 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
Pablo Larrazabal
(110.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP
Li Haotong
(109.33 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Zander Lombard
(108.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Matthieu Pavon
(98 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP
Ross Fisher
(91 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(6)
Branden Grace
(88.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(3)
DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T11
(26)
T27
(15.33)
James Morrison
(78.33 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP
Paul Dunne
(78 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Oliver Fisher
(76.33 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Sam Walker
(76 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Renato Paratore
(75 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(73.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(13.5)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Alex Noren
(72.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 10
(60)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Edoardo Molinari
(71.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP
Marcus Fraser
(70 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Scrivener
(66.67 pts)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
David Lipsky
(64 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Gregory Bourdy
(64 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player The Rocco Forte Open AT&T Byron Nelson Open de Portugal The Players Championship Wells Fargo Championship Volvo China Open Zurich Classic of New Orleans Shenzhen International Valero Texas Open Trophee Hassan II RBC Heritage Masters
Nino Bertasio
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Simon Dyson
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Nathan Holman
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Niclas Fasth
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
David Howell
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Adrian Otaegui
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP
Alexander Knappe
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(-20.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-7.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
Callum Shinkwin
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Florian Fritsch
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
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 had 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 is resting his ribs.  But the biggest missing star is Sergio Garcia who is playing at Colonial this week.  Sergio is not keen on playing in England, he has never liked the tax structure so has avoided the country.

Now the course has gone through another change with Ernie Els design and European Golf Design.  The difference they had Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley advise them with feedback and what they thought the players wanted to see.  One of the biggest problems that the players had was the condition of the greens which has been addressed with all 18 greens being reseeded and re-turfed.  Four greens were completely rebuilt, (8th, 11th, 14th & 16th) while five others (3rd, 4th, 5th, 12 & 15th) were partially redone.  The biggest change to the greens is that a SubAir system has been installed under all the greens which will help control the greens more.

Another problem that needs to be address is the weak schedule after Dubai the first week in February. The tour has had ten European Tour events, two World Golf Championships and the Masters.  But of the ten European events hitting Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, India, China, Morocco, Portugal and Sicily, Italy none of them could be considered “big” events.  Most of them had low purses and lot’s of travel, something that you wouldn’t see a Rory Mcilory doing.  Then you look at the standings of the Race to Dubai.  Sergio Garcia is leading and he has played in a “true” European Tour event once, at Dubai.  Jon Rahm is 3rd and still hasn’t played in a “true” European Tour event.  Justin Rose is 4th and still hasn’t played on the European Tour this year. #8 Thomas Pieters and #13 Hideto Tanihara have both played just one “true” European event.  So how has have they achieve such lofty heights as being so high on the Race To Dubai?  Because the two World Golf Championships and the Masters are included on the European Tour and those three events offer a lot of dollars (which is what Race to Dubai points are).  So if you don’t get to play in these events, you are way behind and have a big disadvantage.  If you look at those at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings you have to go down to the 11th player, Alexander Levy to find your first player at the top without playing in the Masters or WGC events.

The New European Tour website

After playing around with it for two days I frankly can’t find anything good about it.  Yes it’s more “flashy” with big pictures and meaningless charts, but most of the information that true golf fans got from it in the past is gone.  It’s also more limited in information, hard to maneuver and something that I can’t come close to giving a thumbs up on.  For fantasy golf players it’s completely useless, you can get player results but that is it.  No stats other than the Race to Dubai standings and that’s hard to get to, player bios have been replaced with a big picture of a player over his flag, his age, Race to Dubai standings and world rankings.  On Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s page there is a a three paragraph story on him that if you read carefully you can find out the three times in Europe he has won, but doesn’t tell you about his other wins outside of the European Tour.  Check out Sergio Garcia, again very limited information if you want to find out his 13 European Tour wins you better go to Wikipedia (or find it here on Golfstats) but the point I am trying to make is that you shouldn’t have to go off the European Tour website to find simple things like were he was born, year turned pro or anything else about Sergio.

Sorry to say this is what consultants, people that probably have never played golf, have told them is the best way to get more eyeballs.  Instead of being the website of record for the European Tour, it’s nothing more than a site trying to attract younger viewers, a real shame.  I know that the European Tour has been great with me, helping us out a lot with things to make Golfstats better, so I am pained in telling you this news.  I want nothing more but more and easier access for people to get out of the site, but it’s just not there.

With all of these problems Golfstats will do more previews from the European Tour and try to get the kind of information you need. The problem, it’s now hard for me to get stuff even to the point of getting a field list together is a challenge. Know that a lot of you are from England and have said you want more European Tour coverage.

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

Key stat for the winner:

  • Wentworth 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 Chris Wood who was T-4th in greens hit.  Even better is what Byeong-Hun An did in 2015, 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, 98% of 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, Byeong-Hun An was 3 under on the par 4s in 2015 and Chris Wood was 2 under on them last year..
  • On top of new greens a lot of other things have been done to Wentworth.  29 bunkers were completely removed as ever bunker on the course was redesigned and rebuilt.  So now it’s going to be a lot tougher if you hit it into one of them.  Hopefully with these changes and the ones a couple of years ago it will be more appealing to the players.
  • Weather will be good for everyday with temperatures between 77 and 80 degrees.  Winds will be light and it should be a great week for golf.

 

Who to watch for at the BMW PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Justin Rose

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T38 25 T50 T2 CUT T10 CUT 2

Has not played since the Masters so he will be fresh, hopefully not rusty. Has been runner-up twice, he has the game to play well this week, weather will help him.

Alex Noren

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T43 T8 WD T32 T21 CUT T74 T21 T6 CUT

Has played well on tough courses, has a t-8th finish in 2015 and T-6th in 2008 think he will improve on that this week.

Francesco Molinari

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T55 5 T7 T9 T7 T50 T17 T35 CUT T30 CUT

Has played ok on the PGA Tour with six top-tens in his last eight starts, have a feeling about him has played well at Wentworth and think he will be super this week.

Best of the rest:

Byeong Hun An

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 Win

Has played well in his last two events on the PGA Tour, past winner he knows how to win at Wentworth.

Bernd Wiesberger

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T15 CUT T46 T12 T53 CUT

Normally he would be in my top-three but Bernd has struggled in his six events at Wentworth. He is playing great right now and maybe that with the changes will help him do better.

Martin Kaymer

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T18 T12 T50 T15 T31 CUT T11 T16 T30

Watch him, plays well at Wentworth and has done well in big tournaments this year including a T-16th at the Masters.

Tommy Fleetwood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
69 T6 CUT T24 T49

Is playing very well right now including a win in Abu Dhabi and runner-ups in Mexico and China. Was T-6th in this event in 2015.

Pablo Larrazabal

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T12 CUT T7 T12 T65 CUT CUT T48

Has played well of late and has had some good finishes at Wentworth last year and in 2014.

Ross Fisher

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT T32 CUT T39 T10 2 T68 T39 T41

Take a gamble on him, yes has missed the cut at Wentworth the last three years but was runner-up in 2009. On the European Tour has played great.

Solid contenders

Branden Grace

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T11 T61 T24 5

Has been consistent on the PGA Tour this year, he has also played well at Wentworth.

Chris Wood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win 4 T21 WD T49 CUT T6

Game is coming around, has been 28 under in his last ten rounds at Wentworth.

Luke Donald

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T27 T38 T3 CUT Win Win T2 T35 T3 7 T25 T18

After finishing 2nd at the RBC Heritage, missed his next three cuts. But he has a special relationship with Wentworth with five finishes of winning, being runner-up and third.

Alvaro Quiros

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T46 T57 T32 T10 T18 CUT T16 CUT

Found his game in Sicily, he played well at Wentworth in 2012 so you never know.

Tyrrell Hatton

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 T46 T38

Has struggled of late on the PGA Tour, he had a good week last year and could do it again.

Long shots that could come through:

Li Haotong

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T27 CUT

He is very good and could be the sleeper of the week, has played six rounds at Wentworth and seems to improve every time he plays it.

Rikard Karlberg

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
2

Was runner-up last year, has struggled a bit of late but maybe Wentworth will bring the best out of him again.

Dylan Frittelli

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Playing at Wentworth for the first time, he hasn’t been higher than 29th in his last six starts so is playing well.

Julien Quesne

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 T8 CUT 68 T21 CUT

Seems to play well at Wentworth, he has struggled this year but maybe this week will turn things around.

Comments

  1. Sal, completely agree about the new European Tour website! As a regular follower of the European Tour I used to spent a lot of time on the previous version but have now given up even trying to read the news articles as it is so slow and clunky. Its so disappointing that they appear to have gone down the ‘social media route’….bring back the stats I say!
    As for this week what do you think about Thomas Aiken? Wentworth has always been about GIR and from memory he is always up near the top of this stat…….I say from memory as I cannot find the GIR stat on the new Europeantour website (!), maybe you can add these types of stats to GolfStats?

  2. alex munro says:

    dead right about the euro your website , its a complete and utter mess , no info on stats, who wants to wade through every player, no previous years winners and results of tournaments , its an embarrassing shambles completely of no use to a golf punter like myself.

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