This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
THE BMW CHAMPIONSHIP
Winner's Share: $1.665M
FedEx Cup Points: 2,000 to the Winner
Location: Medinah, Ill.
Course: Medinah Country Club (No. 3)
2018 champion: Keegan Bradley
It's named after a German luxury car these days, though for decades the tournament had the most simplistically American of names: the Western Open. It's one of the elder statesmen of the PGA Tour, dating to 1899, which makes it the third-oldest tournament in the world behind the Open Championship and U.S. Open. Mostly played near Chicago, it began to move around about a decade ago – not far, mind you, staying in the Midwest – but then it drifted to the Rockies and last year to Philadelphia. Now, it's back where it belongs, at least for one year, at venerable Medinah. Medinah been ranked among Golf Digest's top 100 courses in the United States ever since they started the ranking way back in 1966. At one point it was ranked No. 10, but now it sits 53rd.
Medinah opened in 1928 and was last seen at the 2012 Ryder Cup, when Team Europe came roaring back to win on Sunday in the famed Miracle of Medinah. Before that, Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship there in both 1999 and 2006. You may recall that the 1999 PGA was young Sergio Garcia's coming-out party, with his famed scissor-kick while running up the 16th fairway. Medinah also has hosted three U.S. Opens (1949, 1975, 1990) and, yes, even three Western Opens, albeit none in the last 50 years. No. 3 is known for its tree-lined and dog-legged fairways, some water (five holes) and sheer length. Two holes exceed 600 yards and five are over 500. Even the four par-3s are long – all are at least 190 yards – and one of them, the 13th, is an almost-not-fair 245 yards. But for all that length, the par-4s are not exceedingly long, and the dog legs often force the golfers to leave the driver in the bag. Heck, one of the shortest hitters around, Luke Donald, shared the 54-hole lead at the 2006 PGA. Never mind that he shared it with Woods, who pummeled Donald by six strokes to win his 12th major. The point is that the absolute yardage doesn't tell the full story of Medinah.
Back in 2006, the aforementioned No. 13, plus Nos. 16-18, ranked among the six hardest holes. No. 16, a 452-yard par-4, was the very hardest in both 2006 and 1999. So if that holds, the course will be at its toughest at the end.
Now, onto the field. We were down to the top 70 golfers in the FedEx Cup point standings for this, the second of three playoff events. But we've already had one WD, Kevin Na. Of course, the big question is Woods. He won in 1999 and 2006, so he can deliver at Medinah. However, playing four rounds, or even just teeing off Thursday, will be an accomplishment after his withdrawal last week at the Northern Trust. Everyone else is guaranteed four rounds, as there is no cut. So, it's a good week to take a flyer on a low-priced guy or two for your lineup, knowing you won't get penalized come Friday night.
The top 30 after Sunday night will advance to the Tour Championship next week. Last year, two golfers were able to move into that group in the penultimate event, breaking a three-year run of four golfers advancing. We're not even going to get into the newfangled scoring system for East Lake until next week. Needless to say, the golfers will need to perform well at Medinah to position themselves to win the FedEx Cup. For some, just getting to Atlanta will be enough, as the perks are enormous: free entries into the Masters, both Opens, two World Golf Championship events and all the invitationals – Bay Hill, Memorial, RBC Heritage, Colonial and now, Riviera.
Weather-wise, it rained on Monday and it's supposed to again on Wednesday. That's one way to make a long track longer. They're also a chance of thunderstorms all four days, especially on the weekend. Temperatures won't stray too far either side of 80, and the wind isn't expected to be a significant factor.
Key Stats to winning at Medinah (in order of importance)
Note - The most important indicators every week are current form and course history. "Key stats" follow in importance.
• Greens in regulation/strokes gained: approach
• Ball striking/strokes gained: tee to green
• Scrambling/strokes gained: around the green
• Putting average/strokes gained: putting
2018 - Keegan Bradley (Aronimink)
2017 - Marc Leishman (Conway Farms)
2016 - Dustin Johnson (Crooked Stick)
2015 - Jason Day (Conway Farms)
2014 - Billy Horschel (Cherry Hills)
2013 - Zach Johnson (Conway Farms)
2012 - Rory McIlroy (Crooked Stick)
2011 - Justin Rose (Cog Hill)
2010 - Dustin Johnson (Cog Hill)
2009 - Tiger Woods (Cog Hill)
Even if Medinah's characteristics (dog legs, etc.) blunt the courses absolute length, it ain't short, and the rain will make it longer. The greens are small, averaging under 5,000 square feet, so iron play could be a decider. We're thinking tee balls – whether using driver or not – will be important, too. And when greens are small, greens are missed. That brings scrambling into play. And when greens are small, that helps bring poor putters into the mix. Yet we're still leaving putting as a key stat, because good putting masks many problems. But we've picked some guys below that we'd steer clear of at a track where putting could be more of a decider.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
Tier 1 Values
Rory McIlroy - $11,500 (8-1)
McIlroy tied for sixth at the Northern Trust, which followed a tie for fourth in Memphis. Obviously, he's put his Open Championship disappointment behind him. McIlroy continues to lead the Tour in strokes gained: tee to green by a wide margin. He's also first in strokes gained: off the tee and SG: Total, ahead of even Brooks Koepka. People say that McIlroy's putter is holding him back. But, heck, he's even 22nd in SG: putting.
Jon Rahm - $10,900 (10-1)
In his last six events, beginning with the U.S. Open, Rahm has a win, a runner-up, two thirds, a seventh and an 11th. That is some serious golf. One of the T3s was last week at Liberty National, and Rahm actually held the lead on the back nine Sunday before ceding it to Patrick Reed. Rahm ranks second on Tour in strokes gained: off the tee and ninth in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Justin Thomas - $10,000 (16-1)
Thomas came back after missing a month with a wrist injury and has needed no time to ramp up. He returned with a tie for 11th at the Open Championship, then followed that up with a pair of T12s at the WGC in Memphis and The Northern Trust. But he hasn't been able to break into the top 10 just yet. That's because of some horrible putting, something that might not hurt him as much this week. Thomas is ranked second to McIlroy in strokes gained: tee to green and is fifth in greens in regulation.
Tier 2 Values
Patrick Cantlay - $9,800 (18-1)
Cantlay overcame a subpar Open Championship by putting together a pair of T12s at the WGC in Memphis and the Northern Trust. While his spot at East Lake is secure, Cantlay currently holds the eighth and final automatic berth on the Presidents Cup team. With a game well-suited for Medinah, he should be able to hold onto that spot. Cantlay is ranked top-20 in every strokes-gained category, including fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Adam Scott - $9,200 (25-1)
Scott was really good again last week, finishing solo fifth at the Northern Trust. That was his seventh top-10 of the season, and he is already assured a spot in the East Lake field. Scott's game is so solid, as he's ranked fourth in both strokes gained: approach and tee-to-green, and sixth in SG: Around-the-Green. For what it's worth, Scott tied for third at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah.
Louis Oosthuizen - $8,700 (30-1)
Oosthuizen was lights-out earlier in the season, then ebbed in the middle, before turning it back on of late. He tied for sixth at The Northern Trust, and that followed a pair of top-20s at the Open Championship and the WGC. He's not long off the tee, but he's not short either. Oosthuizen is ranked 33rd in strokes gained: tee to green and fourth in SG: Around-the-Green.
Tier 3 Values
Gary Woodland - $7,900 (60-1)
Woodland has been quiet since winning the U.S. Open – two missed cuts followed by two finishes in the 50s, including last week. A little regression is understandable after a life-altering win. Plus, he and his wife had twins right before The Northern Trust. But there were bright spots in Woodland's game at Liberty National. Even though he didn't have a high finish, his greens-in-regulation numbers surpassed 70 percent for the first time since the U.S. Open. As we like to say, Woodland is one of the most accurate of the longest drivers. He's ranked 12th in strokes gained: tee to green.
Ryan Moore - $7,700 (80-1)
Moore has teed it up only six times since the PGA Championship in May. Three of those six have been top-20s, including a quiet one last week at Liberty National. Despite being one of the shorter hitters on Tour, Moore is ranked 30th in strokes gained: tee to green. He's also one of the most rested golfers on Tour.
Byeong-Hun An - 7,400 (80-1)
An is so solid with all his clubs – except one. Yes, his putter. An leads the Tour in strokes gained: around the green and is eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green. He just missed two weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship, winding up third. An is projected to need a solo fourth to advance to the Tour Championship. While we don't think he'll get it, it's not out of the question.
Lucas Glover - $7,100 (100-1)
Glover was the co-first-round leader of the 2006 PGA at Medinah before ending up tied for 46th. His game is a nice fit for this course. Not only does Glover rank 20th in strokes gained: tee to green, he's fifth in scrambling, and puts up respectable numbers across the board. He's 41st in the FedExCup standings and is projected to need a top-10 to reach the Tour Championship. Glover already has six of them this season.
Corey Conners - $6,600 (150-1)
Conners went into a three-month tailspin following his breakthrough win at the Valero Open. Through it all, he maintained an elite tee-to-green game. And now, he's reversed course by finishing top-30 in three straight events, including the most recent WGC event and the Northern Trust, in which he tied for 21st. Conners ranks first on Tour in greens in regulation and, with a bit of a de-emphasis on putting this week, that could carry him inside the top 20.
Wyndham Clark - $6,400 (150-1)
There are five rookies in this week's event, and Clark is one of them. Less than two months ago, Clark was floundering. Now, he's a new golfer, having made six straight cuts, with four of them top-20s, including last week at the Northern Trust. The ride probably ends here, as Clark is projected to need a solo third to reach East Lake.