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BMW Championship Preview: The FedEx Continues

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

The 2010 FedExCup promised to be both entertaining and surprising, and after Charley Hoffman's win at the Deutsche Bank Championship last week, we've got the surprising aspect covered. Matt Kuchar's win at the Wyndham was a slight surprise, but Hoffman coming out of nowhere to win the second playoff event was an absolute shocker. That said, we need some big names to step up this week or the TOUR Championship in two weeks will suffer. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the likes of Kuchar and Hoffman, but the promise of the next generation was part of the draw heading into the playoffs, and, so far, that group of young guns has been M.I.A. Remember the PGA Championship and the promise of the three young players who battled until the end? If the current trend holds, that promise will have to wait until next year. After two FedExCup events, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson have been non-factors, but again, it's not too late. Just ask Charley Hoffman, who until last week was a non-factor. That's how quickly things can change.

What the Deutsche Bank Championship means:

Charley Hoffman: Hoffman's played at a high level at certain points throughout his career, but entering last week's Deutsche Bank Championship he appeared to be nowhere near one of those high points. Hoffman is capable of going on a three-week run - he's done it before - but it goes without saying that another win in the next two weeks would be shocking.

Geoff Ogilvy: From my perspective, it's been a very strange year. There have been several surprise wins this season, so I shouldn't be shocked that Ogilvy, who showed absolutely no signs of even decent play heading into last week, would finish runner-up.

Tiger Woods: We aren't used to seeing Tiger come back slowly from anything. When he breaks out of slumps, he does so with a win. This time is different, however. He's actually improving each week. Here's the interesting part: he's done just enough to continue in the FedExCup each week. He'll have to do more than a top-20 this week to move on, though. Can he up his game yet again knowing that he needs a top-5?

This week: BMW Championship

Last Year: Tiger Woods shot a final-round 68 on his way to an eight-stroke victory over Jim Furyk and Marc Leishman.

Players to Consider:

  1. Steve Stricker
    Two events in and Stricker continues his consistent charge through the FedExCup. A win would be nice, but it's nice to know that a top-10 is almost guaranteed each week.

  2. Tiger Woods
    There are certain courses that Tiger owns, and Cog Hill is one of them. Factor in his recent form and this looks like his best opportunity for a win this season.

  3. Jason Day
    Day is quickly erasing any doubts about his game. Two weeks into the FedExCup and no player has been more impressive. Day finished T5 at the Barclays and runner-up last week.

  4. Adam Scott
    Scott is showing no signs of slowing down. He finished T9 two weeks ago at the Barclays and improved to T5 last week at the Deutsche Bank. He also has some history at Cog Hill, finishing T4 in 2007.

  5. Luke Donald
    Donald enters this week on a streak of six consecutive rounds in the 60s. Donald earned a top-10 at this event last year, a result he should improve upon this year.

Players to Avoid:

  1. Nick Watney
    Watney hasn't shown much of anything the past two weeks and has never really played well at Cog Hill.

  2. Jeff Overton
    Overton was on quite a run heading into the FedExCup, but it appears as though that run has come to an end. Add his troubles on this course, and he's easy to pass on this week.

  3. Phil Mickelson
    Mickelson showed some signs of a recovery early last week before fading on the weekend. He doesn't have the game right now to win this week and has never fared well on this course.

  4. Ernie Els
    Els was No. 1 on the points list entering the Fed Ex Cup, but he hasn't played like the leader the first two weeks. Don't expect that to change this week.

  5. Geoff Ogilvy
    OK, he burned me last week, but I'm not afraid to go back to well again. Ogilvy has been inconsistent all year, so why would he string together two good performances now?

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:

This week: BMW Championship

Group A

  1. Steve Stricker
  2. Tiger Woods

Tough call this week. I wanted to pull the trigger on Day, but considering his lack of track record here I had to stick with the same duo as last week.

Group B

  1. Adam Scott
  2. Dustin Johnson
  3. Jim Furyk
  4. Rory McIlroy

Three-fourths of the line-up from last week remains intact. The only player I removed is Kevin Streelman, for obvious reasons. I tried to find a replacement for Johnson but could not find a suitable one. McIlroy has not played his best golf the last two weeks, but he did show a little something early last week. Perhaps that's a sign he's ready to turn in a solid effort. Scott is playing really, and there's no reason to think that will change this week. Furyk is the new guy, and that selection is due to his track record at Cog Hill. Furyk won here in 2005, finished runner-up last year and has six top-10s in his last seven tries at Cog Hill.

Group C

  1. Rickie Fowler
  2. Matt Kuchar

Even though Kuchar fell off a little last week, he's still a must-have this week from Group C. As for the second spot, I could have stuck with Casey, but I just don't think he's going to make a move this fall. I had high hopes for him entering the FedExCup, but he hasn't shown much of anything. Fowler on the other hand enters this week on a high as he was chosen for the American Ryder Cup team. Considering he's a captain's pick, he'll want to play well this week to justify his selection.

Starters Round One

  1. Tiger Woods
  2. Adam Scott
  3. Jim Furyk
  4. Matt Kuchar

Same players in Group A this week, but a different philosophy. Tiger is in control of the group this week, and as such he gets the first-round start. Scott gets one spot in Group B for his steady and dependable play the last couple months. Furyk gets the other spot based on his solid track record here. Kuchar, much like Scott, has been very reliable the last month, and he'll want to put his poor finish from last week behind him quickly.

Round Two and Going Forward:

As mentioned above, Tiger controls Group A this week. If he starts well, it might be difficult to find a starting spot for Stricker. I'll try to sneak Stricker in on Friday to get the start out of the way, but again, that depends on how Tiger looks early. The starters in Group B, Scott and Furyk have a pretty solid hold on the starting spots this week. Johnson or McIlroy can take one of those spots if they show a spark at some point this week, but if they continue to play like they have the last couple weeks, then they are destined for the bench. Kuchar also has a strong hold on the starting spot in Group C, but Fowler can play his way in with a good start on Thursday. Best case scenario, I'll get Fowler a start on Friday and go back to Kuchar on the weekend.