Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: BMW Championship
With just two events left to go in the 2018-2019 PGA Tour season, the final 70 golfers left standing head to the Chicago suburb of Medinah, Illinois for the BMW Championship.
The season's top performers will arrive at a behemoth of a golf course. Medinah Country Club's No. 3 course stretches 7,657 yards to its par 72, one of the longest courses the Tour has seen. Last year's BMW saw Keegan Bradley play some of the best golf of his life at Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania, with Bradley holding off Justin Rose in a playoff to close out a rain-soaked weekend.
Medinah was last seen on the PGA Tour back in 2006 as the host of the PGA Championship, though the 2012 Ryder Cup was also held here. Tiger Woods won the 2006 PGA in runaway fashion, reaching 18-under par while his next closest competitors mustered just 13-under. Tiger was at the peak of his powers, with the Wanamaker trophy his third win in what would ultimately be a stretch of eight consecutive wins across the 2006 and 2007 season.
Prior to 2006, Medinah had hosted the 1999 PGA Championship, but don't get too excited to dive into the research from 20 years ago. The story is basically the same -- Woods won the event in the midst of a 15-event stretch between 1999 and 2000 in which Medinah was just 1 of 11 wins. Don't bother checking recent events to see who has comparable form heading into this week.
The early forecast looks beautiful, with temperatures topping out around 80 degrees and minimal wind. It should be a great week of golf at the penultimate event of the season.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Medinah Country Club No.
Distance: 7,657 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass tees and fairways, Kentucky bluegrass rough
For all its length, Medinah still has the most vulnerable weakness any golf course can have against Tour pros -- four par 5s. The No. 3 course ranked as the 17th-hardest out of 55 total courses in 2006 (inclusive of rotation events).
While the par 5s are not extraordinarily long, they are no pushovers. Back in 2006, Medinah yielded just 21 eagles, low for a par 72. Super low numbers weren't out there on specific holes, but the course generally offered a risk-reward proposition for most of the field. Medinah gave up the 15th most birdies back in 2006 but also hung the 12th most bogeys of any course that year.
The length is pronounced across the course with all four par 3s measuring at least 190 yards.
Torrey Pines comes to mind immediately when thinking about long courses on Tour, and it is an apt comparison, though those greens are poa annua, compared to the bentgrass seen at Medinah. Bethpage (Black Course) was the PGA Championship venue this year and is another beast with bent greens, but it offers much less opportunity as a par 70 with just two par 5s. On the other side of the spectrum are two Midwest courses with bent greens and easy scoring conditions -- TPC Deere Run and Detroit Golf Club.
In the middle, we find three par 72 courses with bentgrass greens that reward aggressiveness, challenge strong fields, and produce high quality finishers -- Sheshan International (WGC-HSBC Champions), Augusta National (The Masters), and Muirfield Village (The Memorial Tournament).
These stats will be key to success in the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club No. 3.
|Key Stats for the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club (No. 3 Course)|
|Strokes Gained: Ball-striking|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Strokes Gained: Par 3s (200+)|
|Proximity Gained (200+ yards)|
There is a common thread here that embodies the Tiger game from his heyday when he dominated this course -- hit it farther than everyone, knock it closer than everyone, and score better than everyone. The key to competing this week lies in long-iron play. Distance off the tee is important, but it's not as valuable as knocking it close from whatever position you find yourself in for the second shot. Ball-striking combines off the tee and approach stats and generally pinpoints golfers who are either good at both or outstanding enough at one to make up for the other.
The birdie total above tells an important story, particularly on the par 5s and par 3s. On the par 5s, the best way to make a birdie is to try for an eagle. That so few eagles were made and so many birdies were likely means there were a lot of eagle opportunities created that were difficult to convert but that led to easy birdie finishes. Fantasy National Golf Club's opportunities gained stat is important this week and every week, but actually making the birdie is more valuable than creating the opportunity. Those opportunities will come in bunches on the par 5s, if (big "if") you knock it close on approach from long distance.
Not surprisingly, the best long-iron players from the fairway are the best long-iron players from the tee box. It is critical to note that all four par 3s are in or close to the key range of 200+ yards, and targeting golfers who score well on these types of holes can point us toward who we can expect to knock it close in other long-range situations.
Course History Studs
Woods goes without saying, but he is fighting an oblique strain that forced him to withdraw from THE NORTHERN TRUST last week.
In this field, it's pretty slim pickens with any history at Medinah. Bradley posted a solid record in the 2012 Ryder Cup, with his only loss to a surprising Rory McIlroy, who nearly missed his match and had to be escorted to the course to make it on time.
In the comparison courses, familiar names like Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau and Adam Scott pop up at at least two of the three main comps -- Torrey Pines (South), Sheshan International, Augusta National, and Muirfield Village.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.