Pat Mayo provides a quick preview and makes his early 2021 BMW Championship Picks in a his first look and research for this week’s PGA event.
2021 BMW Championship: Field
Field: 69 Players | NO CUT
First Tee: Thursday, August 26
Defending Champion: Jon Rahm
After a Monday finish at the Northern Trust, it’s a quick turn around to the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the 2021 BMW Championship. The Top 30 will advance to the TOUR Championship next week.
The Top 70 remaining in the standings will be in attendance in Baltimore, and we’re into the no cut portion of the playoffs. All players will get all four rounds of DraftKings scoring, which makes the bottom end of the $6K range more palatable if you’re trying to jam in more than one of the highest priced options.
All 70 players will not be at Caves Valley Golf Club however. After withdrawing the last two weeks with an ankle injury, Patrick Reed is out of the event as he’s been in a Houston hospital since Friday battling bilateral pneumonia. Reed would have been on the bubble for the TOUR Championship at East Lake to close the season, but it appears like he won’t make it there now, even if he’s healthy enough to return. This also puts his Ryder Cup participation in jeopardy, as he’ll need to be a captain’s selection and will have been off for six weeks.
Also on the injury front. Louis Oosthuizen has pulled out of the last two events as well. Whether he plays or not, he’s clinched a spot at East Lake already. Same goes with Collin Morikawa. It was revealed after a week of no practice and a poor first round that the championship golfer of the year has been dealing with a back injury since the Olympics. Would have been nice to know that before first tee last week. He’ll be in the Top 10 of the standings regardless if he plays the BMW Championship or not, but I’d expect to see him in Maryland.
2021 BMW Championship Open: Key Stats
Par 4s Gained: 450-500 Yards
Strokes Gained: Approach
Proximity 200+ Yards
Mayo’s Key Stats powered by FantasyNational.com
2021 BMW Championship: Course
Course: Caves Valley Golf Club
2021 BMW Championship: Winners
First Time at Course
2020: Jon Rahm -4
2019: Justin Thomas -25
2018 Keegan Bradley -20
2017: Marc Leishman -23
2016 Dustin Johnson -23
2021 BMW Championship: NOTES
After previously hosting the 1995 Mid Am, 1997 and 2004 AJGA Canon Cup, 2002 US Senior Open, 2005 NCAA Men’s Championship, 2007 Palmer Cup, 2009 NCAA Women’s Championship and the 2017 Senior Players, the Caves Valley Golf Club has finally been lengthened enough to get a PGA event. Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Luke List and Webb Simpson were on the 2007 Palmer Cup team by the way. The course has been extended to meet the PGA demands and marks the first tournament in Baltimore since 1964.
Along with the extra distance, new bunkers and tee boxes were created, with difficulty added to the rough. And that’s really the key this week. How difficult is this rough going to be? As of now it’s listed at 3”, but if it gets wet and long this course appears like it can get super difficult with the fairways being narrowed down to 25 yards in width.
Outside of last year, the penultimate event of the season has been a birdiefest. Then Olympia Fields decided to buck the trend a year ago and crank up the conditions to US Open difficulty. With the short turnaround time, there hasn’t really been any media out on the course, so scanning the players’ social media during practice rounds should tell the story. Because on paper, it looks like they should tear this place apart if the rough isn’t penal.
There are only five holes with water in play, including a potential drivable Par 4, overall it appears like three of the Par 4s could be drivable with the proper wind. It’s the sand that will provide the defense. There’s sand all over the grounds.
Overall, the tough holes should be the six Par 4s measuring between 450-500, along with the Par 3s, three of which are over 200 yards. The Par 5s all seem very scorable, as do the three Par 4s from 350-400 yards.
It’s really a mystery. Having not seen this course in a PGA setting before, I’d bank on big drivers with slide scrambling ability. That may be the wrong approach, though. The key to building your DraftKings lineups this week is going to be, tell yourself the skill set story, pick a lane and stack it.
2021 BMW Championship: PICKS
Despite his T31 finish, Bryson was a scoring machine at Liberty National. Third off the tee and 20th in approach tied him for fourth in birdies for the week but -5.5 SG around and on the greens was his undoing. The chipping, that’s almost always an issue, but Bryson persists as one of the premier putters on TOUR, so a swing back close to his regular performance with the flat stick, if he can keep up this ball strike we saw at the Northern Trust and the WGC, should have him in contention for his third career playoff win.
We say it every week, but if the Canadian can just not chip and putt his way out of a tournament, he’ll win. It never happens, so he doesn’t win. Well, he did, once. But the ball striking is among the world’s elite. Fifth in driving and fourth in approach at the Northern Trust, against the strongest field of the year, has me optimistic that we can maybe catch lightning in a bottle down the board.
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Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, and the host of The Pat Mayo Experience daily talk show. (Subscribe for video or audio). Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo has been recognized across multiple sports (Football, Baseball & Golf), mediums (Video, Writing & Podcasting), genre (Humor), and game formats (Daily Fantasy and Traditions Season Long). Beyond sports, Mayo covers everything from entertainment to pop culture to politics. If you have a fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at ThePatMayoExperience@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show.
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