The BMW Championship gets underway tomorrow at Cog Hill, the field is down to 70 and the race is on for the FedEx Cup trophy and the $10 million dollar winner’s check. A number of players still have a shot at winning the title, and here the NG Nation team gives you their picks for the winner and the highest finishing Nike Golf athlete:
Luke Donald (currently 5th)
I feel as though everyone forgot about Luke. I, however, did not forget about Luke’s insane streak where he went 3-26-2-1-3-47-11-11 on the European and PGA Tours leading up to the WGC Bridgestone. Now he’s gone 15th then T2 in the PGA Tour Playoffs so far. He also has an incredible record at Cog Hill, which I covered in my Fantasy Four article. The only person with a better record than Donald this year is Matt Kuchar, but I would give the edge to Donald for playing back and forth overseas. I think he’ll win at Cog Hill and get a much deserved win on the PGA Tour and cement himself as the best golfer this year.
Tiger Woods (currently 51st)
I’m not even sure if Tiger can mathematically win the FedEx Cup is he finishes first at Cog Hill and East Lake. Is it possible to go T12, T11, 1st and 1st and not win the Cup if you start in the 100’s? Tiger has been great in the last two events and should be right behind Donald and Kuchar to win the Playoffs in my mind. The BMW Championship is Tiger’s best shot at a victory this year, coming off two good performances and three rounds in the 60’s. He should also be full of confidence at Cog Hill, where he has 4 wins. I think Tiger will crack the Top 5 overall when it’s all said and done.
Steve Stricker (currently 3rd)
I still don’t think Stricker gets the recognition he deserves. Maybe it’s because he’s quiet or that his game is led by his precision putting instead of the long ball, but Stricker followed up his monster 2009 year with an impressive 2010. This year he’s carded two wins and eight top 10s, and in the playoffs he has so far recorded a T3 at The Barclays, and a 9th place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship. If he can win in either of the last two tournaments I am pretty sure that is a wrap.
Paul Casey (currently 21st)
Well, we’ve seen Charley Hoffman move from 59th to 2nd after winning a playoff tournament so while that seemingly gives anyone a chance at the title, I’m going with PC as my Nike pick. I think it can go either way for Casey – he could explode to the top or implode for the rest of the playoffs. I mean, after learning of his Ryder Cup snub, he went from a T12 at the Barclays, to a T25 at the DB Championship. Either he will prove that Monty picked the wrong guy or he’ll just keep trucking along til the end of the season. I think that PC can win one of these tournaments – he bombs the ball and has a brilliant short game so like anyone else, all he needs is one win.
Matt Kuchar (currently 1st)
After a lackluster weekend performance at the Deutsche Bank last weekend I look for Kuchar to rebound this week at Cog Hill. He’s played too well all year long to slip far from the top spot if at all, he’s already guaranteed a top 5 spot going into The Tour Championship and with a win there he’ll be the FedEx Cup champion. Plus returning to East Lake in Atlanta, the home of his alma mater Georgia Tech, should provide him extra incentive to win the Playoffs outright in front of his hometown fans.
Stewart Cink (currently 35th)
I’m not sure what the mathematical chances are for each Nike athlete still in the playoffs (Ames, Casey, Cink, Kim, Leonard, Pettersson and Woods) to actually win the FedEx Cup, but I’m pretty sure they all need a high finish or a win at Cog Hill to have a real chance. So I’m going with Stewart Cink, also a Georgia Tech alum — he needs to finish 11th or better at Cog Hill to get into The Tour Championship, and I’m betting on his steady play of late including top 20 finishes in his last four events. I look for him to be motivated by his Ryder Cup selection and the chance to win the FedEx Cup in front of his hometown Atlanta fans.
Well there you have it, we’ll have to see who ends up being the closest after the Tour Championship, and if anyone can match Alan’s perfect record for the U.S. Ryder Cup Captain’s picks.