The BMW PGA Championship is one of the premier events on the European Tour. A lot is at stake in terms of points, money, and exemptions to majors. The winner gets exempt for the U.S. Open next month and the next three British Opens. This is a potential big break for someone.
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Golf Channel recognizes that as they have the 2015 BMW PGA Championship as a part of their fantasy game this week.
So, we will be going over some golfers in the groups, we’ll be making some picks, and we shall see how we do. With that said, let’s get right to it because we have a lot to go over.
Group 1: Fade Rory McIlroy at your own risk. Group 1 is a slam dunk as McIlroy is the clear choice. McIlroy has been the best golfer for the past year and he is playing like it right now. McIlroy has won two of the past three weeks and is the defending champion here at the BMW PGA Championship.
Group 2: As usual, group 2 is loaded with really quality golfers. This group includes the horse-for-the-course in Luke Donald, Ryder Cup participants in Graeme McDowell and Stephen Gallacher.
There’s a lot to choose from, but I’ve got it narrowed down to three. Branden Grace, George Coetzee, and Francesco Molinari. These three also happened to be featured in the top ten of the power rankings this week.
Coetzee has been on fire reeling off two wins in his last three tournaments, Grace is three-for-three including a 5th place finish in 2012 here at the BMW PGA Championship. But, Molinari is coming off a T-2 last week and is coming to a course where he has finished in the top nine in the last three years.
For me, that’s what I like more and I’m rolling with Molinari in group 2. I can overlook Molinari’s struggles on the PGA Tour with how he played last week at the Open de Espana. Molinari’s game is fine and I fully expect he’ll be in contention this week as well.
Apr 9, 2015; Augusta, GA, USA; Victor Dubuisson hits his tee shot on the 1st hole during the first round of The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
As a side note, I would like to see Victor Dubuisson play better. He’s included in group 2 as well, but he is an absolute mystery. I would like to see Dubuisson play well this week.
As we look ahead, I feel he has the game to make some noise at Chambers Bay. But, I would feel much more comfortable picking him if he plays just decently leading up to the U.S. Open. Playing well this week would go a long way.
Group 3: I guess you can say I’m going chalk in this group. David Howell is the highest ranked golfer (95th in the world) in group 3. Howell is playing some great golf and if notice in the power rankings Howell cracked the top ten as well. Howell has finished in the top four in his last three tournaments.
It’s not to say that he is a slam dunk pick though. There are plenty of options to go with. For example, Gregory Bourdy would be someone I’d recommend. Bourdy is playing some solid golf as he has made the cut in nine out of eleven tournaments this season. Plus, he has finished inside the top 15 in six of those tournaments.
Bourdy has also made the cut here at the BMW PGA Championship the past two years. Last year, Bourdy finished T-57 and in 2013 he finished T-12.
The long hitting American Peter Uihlein is another to consider as he has finished inside the top eight in two of his last three tournaments. The only downside is the fact that he is an American so he has a lot of cache with a broader audience.
Uihlein might be the most owned golfer in this group so if you wanted to go contrarian that’s probably not the best route to go.
Thomas Aiken has finished inside the top nine in three tournaments this year and he finished T-7 last year. So, there are plenty of options if you look hard enough.
Group 4: Things start getting really tough once we get to the 4th and final group. The stand out is probably Matteo Manassero as he won the BMW PGA Championship in 2013 and is a young golfer who came up with a lot of hype.
However, he’s been really struggling for the past couple of years. Right now, he’s projecting out to be a Nicolas Colsaerts who has all this potential but hasn’t put it all together yet. So, in my eyes, Manassero is a name, but not much more than that. I’ll be going in a different direction.
If you are looking for a safe pick I point you towards the veteran Robert Rock. Rock is having a quality season and has been steady here at the BMW PGA Championship. Rock has made the cut in four of the last five years.
If you want to roll the dice on someone who has missed the cut here the last two years, but has a lot of upside, I point you to Maximilian Kieffer.
Kieffer is another one of these talented 24 year old’s who has turned the corner this year. Kieffer has yet to miss a cut this year in 11 starts.
As for my pick, I typically go with the steady golfer with a good track record, but I’m changing things up here. I’m rolling with Kieffer and hoping that not picking Robert Rock doesn’t end up biting me in the rear end.
I just have one of those feelings where Kieffer is in contention late in the weekend and the storyline is that yet another young golfer is in contention come Saturday and Sunday.