The top 125 players on the PGA Tour that competed in the Northern Trust have been cut down to 70 for this week’s BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club. Only the top 30 here will go on to compete for FedEx Cup honours next week in Florida, so expect plenty of drama and risk taking at one of Golf’s most iconic venues.
Situated just outside Chicago, Medinah has played host to three US Opens, the latest in 1990, two PGA Championships (1999, 2006) and the 2012 Ryder Cup. The latter was the scene of one of the most memorable comebacks in golfing history, with Europe coming from 10-6 down on the final day to win in what has become known as the Miracle of Medinah.
A long 7,657 yard Par 72, the course will present a ball striking test, rewarding length and accuracy from the tee as well as good long iron play.
An up and down final round saw McIlroy shoot five bogeys and seven birdies for a 69 at the Northern Trust on Sunday. That was good enough to see him finish four strokes behind winner Patrick Reed. His overall form remains good but he is making a habbit of going close without winning and looks short enough at 8/1. He has happy memories of the part he played in Europe’s Ryder Cup win here, and will be looking to put himself in contention for next week’s FedEx Cup playoff event, a title he won in 2016.
Tiger Woods is the only player in the field to have won at Medinah. He won both PGA Championships hosted here with scores of –11 and –18. That seems a long time ago now, as does his more recent success at Augusta in April. Since then he has missed the cut at the Open Championship and was forced to withdraw from the Northern Trust last week due to an oblique strain. This is probably not the time to back him, but at 40/1 he will tempt some.
Interesting runners at the head of the market include Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Brookes Koepka. Rahm, who shot a –14 last weekend in New Jersey was only denied victory by bad errors on the back nine on Sunday. His game is suited to a course like Medinah and at 10/1 could go very close here. Thomas has been going close now for a long time. While others on the tour are showing signs of fatigue after a long season, Thomas appears to be enjoying the challenge more than ever. He is a good putting week away from victory: 12/1. World number one, Koepka has had another brilliant year and is a powerhouse player on these long ball striking courses. He will want a good display here to set himself up for FedEx Cup victory next weekend. He is 8/1 joint favourite to win here.