2020 BMW Championship Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter the Most to Bettors at Olympia Fields?

Credit:

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

The 2020 FedEx Cup Playoffs continue on Thursday, August 27 with the season’s penultimate event: The BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois. The tournament will be held on Olympia Fields’ North Course, which is a par 70 measuring 7,366 yards and featuring Bluegrass greens similar to Poa annua.

Most of the 70 players still in contention will be relatively unfamiliar with the course. The last PGA Tour event played at Olympia Fields was the 2003 U.S. Open won by Jim Furyk (-8). Only four players in this field also competed in that tournament 17 years ago (player results in parentheses):

  • Tiger Woods (tied-20)
  • Charles Howell III (tied-53)
  • Paul Casey (missed cut)
  • Adam Scott (missed cut)

Six other players in the field competed at this course in the 2015 U.S. Amateur:

  • Bryson DeChambeau (1)
  • Jon Rahm (5)
  • Maverick McNealy (tied-9)
  • Robby Shelton (t-9)
  • Sepp Straka (tied-17)
  • Matthew NeSmith (t-17)

Jim Furyk’s -8 in 2003 still stands as the PGA Tour course record at Olympia Fields. However, the course may offer less resistance this week. As we learned at TPC Boston, the PGA Tour is trying to make these courses more playable than we may have anticipated in the FedEx Cup Playoff events.

Following the conclusion of this weekend’s BMW Championship, the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup Playoff standings will move on to compete in the Tour Championship at East Lake.

Let’s take a look at several key metrics for Olympia Fields to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.


Identifying the most predictive measures for player performance this week will be challenging but imperative due to the scarcity of professional rounds played at Olympia Fields in recent history.

Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Off the Tee each serve as strong starting points. These two metrics inform us how well a golfer is striking the ball over his past 24 rounds.


Strokes Gained: Approach

SG: Approach tells us how close a golfer is getting to the hole on his approach to the green. When players are locked-in on their approach game, they often have far more opportunities to putt for birdie. This should serve as a particularly strong indicator for success at the BMW Championship.

  1. Russell Henley (+7500)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  3. Dustin Johnson (+850)
  4. Joaquin Niemann (+17500)
  5. Ryan Palmer (+7000)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee is a combination of driving distance and driving accuracy and will be an important factor this week. Olympia Fields’ sizable par 70 includes many long par-4 holes. Therefore, driving it long and in the fairway will be the best recipe for success.

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (+1500)
  2. Cameron Champ (+10000)
  3. Jon Rahm (+1000)
  4. Xander Schauffele (+1700)
  5. Matthew Wolff (+5000)

Proximity 175-200

With many of the holes at Olympia Fields being relatively long, most of the approach shots will be coming from the proximity of 175 to 200 yards. It will be important to target good long-iron players.

  1. Tyrrell Hatton (+3500)
  2. Jason Kokrak (+10000)
  3. Mark Hubbard (+11000)
  4. Richy Werenski (+22500)
  5. Hideki Matsuyama (+4100)

Par 4’s 450-500

This course features seven par 4s playing at a difficult distance of 450 to 500 yards. Players’ recent success navigating long par 4s will be one of the most important indicators for success at the BMW Championship.

  1. Tony Finau (+4500)
  2. Mark Hubbard (+11000)
  3. Taylor Gooch (+15000)
  4. Bryson DeChambeau (+1500)
  5. Cameron Smith (+17500)

Strokes Gained: Tee to Green

Tee-to-green success reports how efficient a player is at getting his ball to the green. It is a combination of Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, Strokes Gained: Approach, and Strokes Gained: Around the Green.

This statistic is especially important on long golf courses like Olympia Fields this weekend. Put simply, it indicates which golfer is in the best current form. Last week, Dustin Johnson blew away the rest of the field in this category, which is what led to his decisive victory. His +18.14 SG:T2G was the highest mark in any PGA Tour event since 2007.

  1. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  2. Russell Henley (+7500)
  3. Dustin Johnson (+850)
  4. Daniel Berger (+1800)
  5. Xander Schauffele (+1700)


Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

Last week at the Northern Trust, Daniel Berger earned the top spot in the statistical model and finished in third place.

  1. Dustin Johnson (+850)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  3. Daniel Berger (+1800)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+2600)
  5. Jason Kokrak (+10000)
  6. Russell Henley (+7500)
  7. Matthew Wolff (+5000)
  8. Paul Casey (+5000)
  9. Tony Finau (+4500)
  10. Xander Schauffele (+1700)

Each of the five key statistics discussed in this article will be important in determining a winner this weekend. Nonetheless, the cream usually rises to the top in FedEx Cup Playoff events.

The past 16 FedEx Cup Playoff event winners have included:

  • Dustin Johnson (three-time winner)
  • Rory McIlroy (three-time winner)
  • Patrick Reed (two-time winner)
  • Justin Thomas (two-time winner)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (two-time winner)
  • Keegan Bradley
  • Tiger Woods
  • Marc Leishman
  • Xander Schauffele

I would recommend that bettors strongly consider looking at players near the top of the betting board this week.


Odds via DraftKings. Stats provided by PGA TOUR and Fantasy National.

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