Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's BMW Championship Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The BMW Championship has always had a nomadic existence as the 3rd leg of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup (FEC) Playoffs. Organised by the Western Golf Association and formerly known as the Western Open, the BMW Championship has toured St Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis since 2007, with Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado playing host to the 2014 renewal. With the Top 70 in the FEC in attendance at the classical Cherry Hills, expect the cream to rise to the top at altitude in Colorado. Read Steve Bamford's BMW Championship tips for 2014 click here
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
The BMW Championship likes to travel to the best courses that the mid-west has to offer. Cog Hill, Crooked Stick, Conway Farms and now Cherry Hills Country Club have hosted the tournament since 2011. The BMW has always been the third of the four Playoff tournaments and this is where it's absolutely essential to forge a place in the Top 30 of the standings. That punches a players' ticket to the Tour Championship at East Lake, and secures at least a $175,000 final bonus. A trip to East Lake also ensures 4 Major Championship appearances, so there is plenty at stake for the field at Cherry Hills. Phil Mickelson won the US Amateur hosted here in 1990. Low humidity and the courses location within the 'Mile High City' will have a certain effect on how the course is played.
The BMW Championship Course Details
Cherry Hills Country Club, Denver, Colorado. Designer: Flynn 1922, with a Tom Doak re-design 2008; Course Type: Classical; Par: 70; Length: 7,352 yards; Bunkers: 82; Fairways: Bentgrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Rye and Poa Annua ; Rough: Kentucky Bluegrass Fescue 3"; Greens: 4,700 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 11.5ft Tournament Scoring Avg 2012: 70.54. Ranked 43 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour. Scoring Avg 2013: 70.81. Ranked 27 of 43 courses for difficulty.
Previous Champions: 2013: Zach Johnson; 2012: Rory McIlroy; 2011: Justin Rose; 2010: Dustin Johnson; 2009: Tiger Woods; 2008: Camilo Villegas; 2007: Tiger Woods.
2013: --16/268; 2012: -20/268; 2011: -13/271; 2010: -9/275; 2009: -19/265; 2008: -15/265
Winners Prices: 2013: Zach Johnson - 40/1 2012: McIlroy - 17/1 2011: Rose - 66/1 2010: Dustin Johnson - 33/1 2009: Woods- 2/1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
Let's be straight here. The nomadic nature of this tournament makes it a difficult one to call, especially when the tournament for the third year in a row visits a course that has never hosted a PGA Tour tournament. Nice! Cherry Hills Country Club will play as a Par 70 for the first time in a Senior tournament, with the 526 yard 5th converting to a tough Par 4 rather than an easy Par 5. It's hosted 3 U.S. Open's (the last in 1978) and 2 PGA Championships (the last in 1985), so this classical design won't be any pushover. To clarify that point, the USGA hosted the U.S. Amateur here in 2012, with the course averaging 76.19 as a Par 71 during the opening 2 days of strokeplay. Now I know the distinction between US Amateur field depth and the elite of the PGA Tour, but I'm not seeing Cherry Hills as a -20 Crooked Stick golf course.
The recent winners list at the BMW Championship makes for interesting: cream tends to rise to the top at the BMW Championship and it's worth noting that all winners since the tournaments' inception in 2007 have been ranked in the World's Top 40 when they teed off in the Mid West. I'm a believer in the fact that it's incredibly difficult for players that will have contended across both The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank to stay at the very summit of the leaderboard at their third play off tournament in a row. Their spot as East Lake is inevitably assured and the PGA Tour Playoffs feature the world's best players, many of whom will want a slice of the action to ensure a good FedEx Cup position for the East Lake finale.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @Bamfordgolf