We’re off and running in the sprint to the FedEx Cup with the second leg of the playoffs.1 The BMW Championship will be held at Medinah Country Club No. 3 this year. It has been the host of its fair share of majors and even a Ryder Cup. Medinah plays as a par 72 and the scorecard this week has it at over 7,600 yards. With three of the four par 5s playing over 575 yards and each of the par 3s playing over 190 yards, distance will be of some importance this week. The golfers will contend with average-sized bentgrass greens that are set to run around 12 on the stimp. They’ll also have to deal with 71 bunkers and two water hazards.
Tiger Woods ($45) and Francesco Molinari ($43) are anti-values this week. They are fourth and seventh, respectively, in Yahoo! pricing but are 17th and 22nd in odds to win. This will probably be one of the times you get Woods at lower ownership since he’s coming off of a WD at The Northern Trust. That makes him a very risky play and is likely a total avoid for me from that perspective alone. Given his relative lack of distance, Molinari has actually performed reasonably well on courses longer than 7,300 yards from a tee-to-green perspective. He does hit slightly fewer greens (0.5 per round) on longer courses and putts much worse, though. I’d assume that’s because he’s hitting longer irons than the average golfer into most greens. Molinari is an easy fade for me at a track like this with as strong of a field as we’re looking at this week.
Billy Horschel ($26) is a guy who makes a bit of sense this week from a value perspective. He’s tied for the 30th salary but sports win odds inside of the top 20. He performed reasonably well in the model with a -1.24 raw score. Golfers in that group (-1.5 to -1) have finished in the top 10 at nearly a 19% clip. He’s been in nine events with courses over 7,600 yards and has outperformed his baseline tee to green numbers by nearly a full stroke.
Patrick Reed ($22) is coming off of a win on the first leg of the playoffs. We’ve seen golfers catch fire during the playoffs. In fact, Bryson DeChambeau won back-to-back events last season. On courses longer than 7,400 yards, Reed has excelled. He averages more GIR and over 2.5 times as many strokes gained tee to green compared to courses below 7,400 yards. Reed falls into the same Power Ranking group as Horschel.
Brooks Koepka’s ($49) closest pivots are Jon Rahm ($44) and Justin Rose ($43). As always, we’re looking for more of a discount so let’s take a look at Collin Morikawa ($20). Once again, the young gun is just far too cheap. He didn’t bring his A-game to Liberty National last week but he’s still popping in the model. Morikawa is at -2.47 in the Power Ranking model and that group has done very well historically. Golfers in that group have finished in the top 10 34% of the time and the top 20 over 50% of the time.
Tied for the highest salary is Dustin Johnson ($49). He started off on fire and had a share of the 36-hole lead at The Northern Trust but cooled off considerably over the weekend. Byeong Hun An ($20) is another golfer who’s at min price that probably shouldn’t be. An is also in the -1.5 to -1 group of the Power Ranking Model referenced above. He’s never been a guy who lights the world on fire but his putting performance left a lot to be desired. An finished the week losing 2.21 strokes on the greens while he finished in a tie for 38th place.
Rory McIlroy ($46) is the next highest priced golfer. Rory has the best model score (-2.59) and made me have to recalculate the backtesting of the Power Ranking model because it’s rare that a golfer hits -2.5 or better.2 Horschel again pops up as a pivot for McIlroy here, but we’ll go a little deeper and roll out our boy Sungjae Im ($20). You guessed it, he’s also sitting down at min price. Over his past five starts, he’s hitting more fairways and gaining more strokes tee to green than his baseline during his young career.