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BlogBMW PGA Championship Preview and Picks

BMW PGA Championship

May 24th – 27th, 2018

Wentworth Club (West Course)

Virginia Water, Surrey, England

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,284

Purse: $7 million

with $1,166,660 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Alex Noren

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

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, #8 Rory McIlroy and #10 Paul Casey. The others are; #12 Tommy Fleetwood, #19 Alex Noren, #21 Tyrrell Hatton, #24 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #28 Ian Poulter, #31 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #32 Francesco Molinari, #33 Branden Grace, #40 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #44 Ross Fisher, #46 Haotong Li, #47 Alexander Levy

Last year there were 14 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 #3 Tommy Fleetwood, #4 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #6 Rory McIlroy, #7 Tyrrell Hatton, #7 Alexander Levy, #9 Alexander Bjork, #11 Jorge Campillo, #12 Alex Noren, #13 Rafael Cabera-Bello,#14 Adrian Otaegui, #15 Haetong Li, #16 Joost Luiten, #17 Dylan Frittelli, #18 Matt Wallace, #19 Chris Paisley #22 Paul Casey,  #23 Rose Fisher, #25 Wade Ormsby.  The only 7 players missing, they are #1 Patrick Reed, #2 Shubhankar Sharma,#5 Jon Rahm, #10 Cameron Smith, #20 Henrik Stenson, #21 Louis Oosthuizen and #24 Sergio Garcia.

The field includes seven past champions: Alex Noren (2017), Chris Wood (2016), Byeong-Hun An (2015), Rory McIlroy (2014), Matteo Manassero (2013), Paul Casey (2009) 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 the 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.

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

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

Player Belgian Knockout Byron Nelson The Players Sicilian Open Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Trophee Hassan II Valero Texas RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Adrian Otaegui
(244.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP
Joakim Lagergren
(194 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Jorge Campillo
(179.33 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP
Mike Lorenzo-vera
(160.67 pts)
8
(50)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T62
(0)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP
Alexander Bjork
(155.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(147.83 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
Andy Sullivan
(146 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP
Andrea Pavan
(140.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP
Benjamin Hebert
(118 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(117.83 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T44
(4)
Branden Grace
(113.33 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
T46
(6)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
Julien Guerrier
(103.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP
Lucas Bjerregaard
(103.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP DNP 6
(40)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Nacho Elvira
(102.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP
Alexander Levy
(97 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Paul Dunne
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP
Paul Casey
(86.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T15
(23.33)
Mikko Ilonen
(84 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jeff Winther
(73 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP
Paul Waring
(69 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP
David Drysdale
(66.67 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Rory McIlroy
(65.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
James Heath
(63.33 pts)
4
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Harold Varner III
(62.5 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(82.5)
DNP T55
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Matteo Manassero
(60 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Belgian Knockout Byron Nelson The Players Sicilian Open Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China Trophee Hassan II Valero Texas RBC Heritage Open de Espana Masters
Bradley Neil
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Adrien Saddier
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Richard Bland
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Matthieu Pavon
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Danny Willett
(-28.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Daniel Im
(-28 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Daniel Brooks
(-21.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Clement Sordet
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Carlos Pigem
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Ross Fisher
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP 71
(0)
DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

This is the most prestigious 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 its tours premiere events. This year it’s missing it’s biggest draw, Sergio Garcia who hasn’t played in this event since 2014.  Another person taking the week off is Henrik Stenson.  Along with Stenson Jon Rahm decided to play at Colonial instead of playing in England and Justin Rose is also at Colonial.  Rose wanted to be at Wentworth but because of a PGA Tour rule that states a player must enter an event which he hasn’t played in the previous four years, Since Rose is doing this late in the season, he was down to three choices.  One was the Wyndham the week before the FedEx Cup playoffs and he was worried about getting worn down with the Ryder Cup the week after the playoffs.  His second choice was the John Deere, which was the week before the British Open and Rose wanted to play that week at the Scottish Open.  So he chose his third choice the Colonial, meaning he would miss Wentworth for only the 2nd time in 8 years.

The good news, playing the BMW PGA in May has always been a problem.  Over the years it’s been the same week as the Memorial and many Europeans wanted to play that event.  The European Tour moved it up, but attendance has been spotty at best.  So with the new PGA Tour schedule in 2019, which ends the season on Labor Day, the first week of September the European Tour thought that by moving the BMW PGA to mid September it would not only allow marquee players to participate but also get some American’s to come over, even join the European Tour and play in the lucrative playoff events that end with the World DP, Dubai.  So hopefully this will be a win for everyone, the weather in London in September is nice and with this move, it will help players get ready for the Ryder Cup which will be played right after the BMW.

Have to say give the European Tour credit for trying things out of the box.  Moving this event is one of them just like the inaugural Belgian Knockout.  The event was very well received, what they did was play 36 holes and then cut the field to the top-64.  They then played an with an elimination event of three nine-hole head to head matches at stroke play.  After Saturday night the field was reduced to 8, with three series of matches with a final match in which Adrian Otaegul beat Benjamin Hebert.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Rory McIlroy – $12,000
  • Paul Casey – $10,800
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $10,700
  • Alex Noren – $10,500
  • Brendan Grace – $9,900
  • Francesco Molinari – $9,600
  • Ian Poulter – $9,300
  • Shane Lowry – $9,100
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick – $9,000
  • Paul Dunne – $9,000

Have to say that I don’t care who a person is, even Tiger in his prime $12,000 is a lot and for that reason, I can’t recommend Rory McIlroy.  Not that he hasn’t won in the past, but he hasn’t shown us much and sorry just can’t see the investment.  Now Paul Casey at $10,800 and Tommy Fleetwood at $10,700 are also very high, but at least both have shown some good play and can win this.  Alex Noren is also high at $10,500, sorry everyone down to Paul Dunne is too much money.   Of those in the $9,000 and higher range, about the only one I can see taking is Brendan Grace at $9,900.  He has played well the last two starts at Wentworth and was T-3rd at the Byron Nelson.  Now a problem could be flying to Wentworth, he didn’t arrive in London until Tuesday morning.  But he is hot having shot 62 in the final round to finish 3rd on his 30th birthday.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Your chances in this range are a bit better, first up is Byeong Hun An at $8,800.  He is a past winner that does well at Wentworth and has had a consistent year, he is a good pick.  Tyrrell Hatton at $8,600 is a toss-up, plays great at Wentworth, but hasn’t played the greatest of late, I will probably take a past on him.  Alexander Levy at $8,300 is a good pick, yes he missed the cut at the Players but has been great before that and plays well at Wentworth.  Alexander Bjork at $8,000 is a good buy, he won in his last start in China and was T-14th in his only start last year at Wentworth.  Adrian Otaegui at $8,000 is also a winner of the Belgian Knockout and I would take a gamble on him this week. Kiradech Aphibarnrat at $7,900 is also a good buy, he was T-14th last year at Wentworth and has done well this year including a win in Australia in February.  Jorge Campillo at $7,800 is also a good buy, he has been hot with 3 top-five finishes in his last 4 starts.  Now my sentimental pick is Lee Westwood at $7,600, yes he isn’t going to win but he will make the cut, make a good amount of birdies and give you a 15th place finish. Remember his price is right.

 

Any bargains out there?

I like Eddie Pepperell at $7,500, he is fired up to play and won in Qatar and would like to content this week.Nicolas Colsaerts at $7,500 is also a good bargain, remember he was 3rd last year and 7th last week in Belgium.  Pablo Larrazabal at $7,400 is also a good buy, he has had a great season and been very consistent at Wentworth, again I like him.  Another great $7,400 buy is Hideto Tanihara, he has had a lot of great moments this year and worth the money, remember he finished T-3rd last year.  So you can see, there are better buys under $9,000 and in the $7,500 range.

 

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 lots of greens like 2016 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 the champions but Rory McIlroy were in the top-ten of greens hit.  Last year Alex Noren was T-18th which isn’t bad.
  • 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 five 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 in  reviver 6, last year’s winner Alex Noren was 3 under.
  • On top of new greens that went in before last years event 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 every day with temperatures between 77 and 80 degrees.  Winds will be light and it should be a great week for golf.  Thursday has a chance of thunderstorms and at the end on Sunday, but still it should be ok weather wise and wind won’t play a factor.

 

Who to watch for at the BMW PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Branden Grace

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 T11 T61 T24 5

Guy is good and has played well as he just turned 30. Look for him to be a surprise winner.

Tommy Fleetwood

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT 69 T6 CUT T24 T49

Yes he isn’t in the same league as Rory, but he has won a lot in Europe and will continue to win, could do it this week.

Paul Casey

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T24 T17 Win T10 T12 T11

Guy is the best player that has troubles winning. His tee to green game is great and could carry him to victory this week.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT Win CUT CUT T24 T48 5 CUT

Everybodys favorite but for me, think he will play ok but he won’t win. He has big shoes to fill with everyone looking at him thinking he should be the winner.

Alex Noren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
Win T43 T8 WD T32 T21 CUT T74 T21 T6 CUT

A very good player that has won before here and still has some victories left in him.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T22 CUT T16 CUT T15 CUT T17 CUT

Is a good player that could come through this week.

Paul Dunne

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T30

He has improved so much over the last year that we think he is ready to win an important event like this.

Francesco Molinari

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
2 T55 5 T7 T9 T7 T50 T17 T35 CUT T30 CUT

Surprised that he doesn’t win more and play better.

Solid contenders

Adrian Otaegui

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T63

Looked so good last week, he has really improved over the last couple of months

Tyrrell Hatton

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T30 T7 T46 T38

Has the game, will he be able to put it together.

Jorge Campillo

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T40 T15 T59 T63 CUT CUT

One of the hottest players in Europe right now, he has the game to win.

Ian Poulter

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T40 T26 CUT T10 T18 CUT CUT CUT

He would be a very popular winner.

Long shots that could come through:

Joakim Lagergren

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T37

Guy has done great in the last month.

Alexander Bjork

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T14

Another of those that are playing well right now.

Eddie Pepperell

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T72 T21 T6

Guy is fired up and could find himself in contention this week.

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