The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings have made it to Olympia Fields Country Club for this week’s BMW Championship.
When I think of Olympia Fields Country Club, I think of the Jim Furyk and his baggy bowling shirt winning the 2003 U.S. Open.
You may also think of the 105-year-old club in the Chicago suburbs for its other big-time championships hosted. These date back to the 1925 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen. The U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur (2015) and Women’s PGA Championship also came here. So did the Western Open five times, the last coming in 1971.
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The University of Illinois has hosted its home men’s tournament at Olympia Fields since 2006.
Now, for the first time, the PGA Tour and the FedEx Cup Playoffs are coming.
The field of 70 players, who advanced from last week’s The Northern Trust, will be taking on Olympia Field’s North course designed by Willie Park Jr. It’s a par 70 measuring 7,343 yards.
It’s a decent comparison to the 2019 BMW Championship venue, Medinah Country Club, another Illinois course.
Olympia Fields is a tree-lined, parkland style layout. The fairways are generous at least until about the 300-yard mark on most holes where they pinch in and bunkers come into play.
The tree line will hurt errant drives, but there could be room for recovery shots and big hitters can hit it over a lot of trouble.
Greens are somewhat small and circular and are bentgrass, common for northern courses.
Stats to watch this week aren’t much different than most weeks. Strokes gained off the tee and approach are critical like usual. Good scramblers should also have a shot this week given the small greens.
Plodders could also have a chance with a not overly long layout, but it’ll depend on the course’s firmness.
It’ll be hot all week with temperatures in the 70s-90s Fahrenheit. Rain could come into play on the weekend.
Notable absences this week include Brooks Koepka. He would have had to make the cut last week to advance, but he withdrew prior to the Northern Trust due to injury. Also failing to make the top 70 includePhil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry.
There’s not much to go off of for course history this week. Charles Howell III, Paul Casey, Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are the only ones in the field who were at the 2003 U.S. Open. Better data points are to use results from the 2015 U.S. Amateur and, perhaps, collegiate and junior results at Olympia Fields.
The 2012 Junior Ryder Cup was hosted here and had three players who are in this week’s field: Cameron Champ, Scottie Scheffler and Robby Shelton.
The best bet this week is to ride current form and to seek guys who synch well with the course’s key stats.
Making the top 30 for the Tour Championship is a goal just about everyone on the PGA Tour sets when the season begins. Let’s see who can make their move to East Lake with a big week in the Land of Lincoln: