The PGA Tour moves onto the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs with players making the trip from Memphis, Tennessee, to Wilmington, Delaware, for this week’s BMW Championship. The penultimate tournament since the very beginning of the FedEx Cup existence, the BMW Championship continues to rotate among golf courses in the Midwest and Northeast United States. Wilmington Country Club will take center stage this time around in its PGA Tour debut. Will Zalatoris, fresh off his breakthrough victory at the St. Jude Championship, hopes to keep the momentum rolling on the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. With a strong finish, he could all but secure the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings ahead of the Tour Championship.
While Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns may have something to say about this, Cameron Smith will not. Citing hip discomfort, the FedEx Cup No. 3 will not participate in the BMW Championship. That, coupled with Tommy Fleetwood staying on the sidelines for personal reasons, leaves the field at 68 players. Just as compelling as the top of the standings is the bottom, with many players vying to compete in their first Tour Championship. The top 30 players will make their way into next week’s tournament, and with it earn exemptions into three major championships. This makes the BMW Championship all the more important when considering Davis Riley (No. 27), Sahith Theegala (No. 28), Maverick McNealy (No. 33) and Denny McCarhty (No. 36) have yet to participate in The Masters.
Event: BMW Championship | Dates: Aug. 18-21
Location: Wilmington Country Club – Wilmington, Delaware
Par: 71 | Yardage: 7,534 | Purse: $15,000,000
2022 BMW Championship:
Rory McIlroy (10-1): One of the bigger surprises from the St. Jude Championship was McIlroy’s absence from the weekend. Missing his first cut since the Texas Open the week before the Masters, the Northern Irishman should be in store for a bounce-back performance. His iron play was actually pretty sound at TPC Southwind as he gained nearly two strokes on approach, but off-the-tee woes were his eventual undoing. There is only one annual stop on the PGA Tour which boasts a similar scorecard to Wilmington CC — Quail Hollow Club, where McIlroy has won three times before.
Jon Rahm (12-1): The 2020 BMW Championship winner is slowly but surely rounding into form. Finishing in a tie for fifth at the St. Jude Championship, Rahm put together his best iron performance since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. Combine this uptick in approach play with his off-the-tee presence and improvements in the short-game department, and the Spaniard should be in the mix on Sunday.
Patrick Cantlay (14-1): The defending champion is very close to figuring it all out. Without a solo victory to his name this season — he won the Zurich Classic alongside Xander Schauffele — the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year has notched three runner-up finishes and six additional top-10 finishes. He took a step back at the St. Jude Championship with a T57 finish, but on a course with massive putting surfaces, if able to wield his flat stick in a manner remotely similar to last year at Caves Valley, he will change his fortunes and head into the Tour Championship with a realistic opportunity to claim a second straight FedEx Cup title.
Scottie Scheffler (14-1): For the first time in a long time, Scheffler’s name does not occupy to the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings. Only 124 points behind Zalatoris, the Masters champion will have his chance to reclaim the No. 1 position ahead of the Tour Championship. In order to do so, Scheffler will need to be much better on the greens. Showing frustration at TPC Southwind, the Texan has now lost strokes with the putter in seven of his last nine tournaments, including four straight. The good news for Scheffler is that during this span, the two occasions he was better than the field with the flat stick was his playoff loss at the Charles Schwab Challenge and his runner-up performance at the U.S. Open.
Tony Finau (14-1): Kyle Porter wrote about Finau’s quest for three straight victories and the rare company he would have joined if he pulled it off at TPC Southwind. Ultimately finishing T5, there is not much to dislike when it comes to the four-time PGA Tour winner and his chances this week. Stepping foot onto a long golf course where birdies should be abundant, it is hard to look past his name on the odds board.
Xander Schauffele (18-1): The Olympic gold medalist has three victories to his credit this season, but let’s not forget what Schauffele’s bread and butter used to be: no-cut events. He did not get off to the best of starts with a T57 at the St. Jude Championship, but he still remains sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. With his affinity for East Lake, Schauffele will just need to be within arm’s reach heading into the Tour Championship.