Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott and Patrick Reed will be among the notables reviewed on Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider.
The penultimate PGA TOUR event of the 2019-20 season will take place approximately 40 kilometers south of the heart of the Second City. The North Course at Olympia Fields is nearly 100 years old, but it hasn’t been a semi-regular destination in recent years either. Major men’s competitions of the 21st century include the 2003 US Open and the 2015 US Amateurs.
Four who cheered on the majors 17 years ago are in the field this week. That smattering includes Tiger Woods whose T20 beat the other three. Six qualifiers for the BMW championship defined him five years ago as amateurs. Bryson DeChambeau convincingly prevailed during match play.
All 10 will have mental snapshots upon arrival, but most if not all probably haven’t seen the variety of changes made prior to this week’s tournament. The par-4 seventh hole has undergone more work than with a new tee, modifications to its fairway and the addition of bunkering around its green. Par 5 15 and par 4 18 also have new tees. The finisher is among the other four holes with updated fairways.
The walk extends for 7,366 yards, but Olympia Fields is only a par 70 with two par 5. It is the longest par 70 in a non-major since the Firestone Country Club’s South Course (7,400 yards) last hosted the PGA TOUR in 2018. The first hole at Olympia Fields is a par 5 measuring 626 yards. It is one of only four opening par 5s on the TOUR and is the sixth longest of the 132 par 5s of the entire season.
For the guys around the top-30 bubble to advance to the TOUR championship, it is a given that a strong performance is needed, but those who barely entered the field at the BMW Championship come with nothing to lose. A podium is the worst result that everyone should be aiming for. FedExCup points tripled, but when they quadrupled in 2016, Ryan Palmer, 47-seeded, still couldn’t survive on a five-way T4. He settled in 34th place.
To achieve the goal, the management of the course will be fundamental. Not only does bluegrass reach four inches, but greens are unfamiliar. This benefits the attackers because their margins for error have increased.
Greens are medium in size at 6,000 square feet and are prepared to exceed 12 and a half feet on the Stimpmeter. They will also have a good chance of launching as intended. Even though it will be hot and humid until the weekend, there is only a small chance of rain. After the threat has passed, the weekend prepares to be glorious with daytime highs in the 1970s. The prevailing southwest winds shouldn’t be of much concern during the first two rounds, nor should the refreshing breezes from the opposite direction on the weekend be.
There are no cuts to the BMW championship, so all 70s are guaranteed four rounds. This fact makes it even more difficult to make a move in the FedExCup rankings. It also reinforces the benefits of survival and a well-played season. In addition to other incentives, all top 30 who advance will earn exemptions for Masters, US Open, The Open Championship, and World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship in 2021.
ROB BOLTON’S PROGRAM
Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider at PGATOUR.COM, summarizes and previews each tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie ranking, Qualifications, Reshuffle, Medical extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
* – Rob is a member of PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks panel for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesdays.