As everyone gets ready to tee it up on Thursday morning at Conway Farms Golf Course to get the 2013 BMW Championship underway, I took a look at the tee times, and pairings for the first two rounds and found some that could be interesting. With the top 70 players on the FedEx Cup rankings playing for a piece of the huge purse for the winner, the BMW is a no cut event. Even though there will be no 36 hole cut, the format will remain as usual with Thursday and Friday pairings set, and they will re-pair based on scores for the final two rounds. Only the top 30 in this event will move on to East Lake next week.
Tiger Woods Henrik Stenson Adam Scott
After watching Tiger Woods struggle to a T 65 finish at the Deutsche Bank on Labor Day, and Henrik Stenson taking the FedEx Cup lead after his impressive win, this has to be the marquee pairing. Adam Scott becomes the third wheel based on the current standings, but I felt the Masters Champion backed in to his win at The Barclays at the begining of the playoffs, and isn’t playing up to his potential at this time. Stenson has an opportunity to send a message to Tiger this week that he intends to win it all, especially if Tiger comes in on a shaky foundation.
This threesome will go off of the 10th tee on Thursday at 10:53 AM. Friday, they will start on the front at 11;59 AM. This should put both days in the crosshairs of the Golf Channel broadcast which begins at 3 PM Eastern.
Matt Kuchar Graham DeLaet Phil Mickelson
With his success so far in the playoffs, Graham DeLaet becomes a nice fit for this group. Matt Kuchar is in need of a good performance at Conway Farms if he has any intentions of cashing the big check in Atlanta. I think Phil Mickelson knows he is in the running for the PGA Player of the Year, and probably needs a win in the playoffs to beat five-time winner, Tiger Woods. Phil has been struggling with his tee shots, and will need to find some consistency if he wants to play well this week. Young Canadian, Graham DeLaet comes into the BMW as one of the hottest golfers in the playoffs, and could probably use the experience he will get from playing with Lefty.
Jordan Spieth Keegan Bradley Jason Day
After watching the youngster from Dallas put up a birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle finish at the Deutsche Bank on Labor Day, you have to think Jordan Spieth will arrive at Conway Farms with some confidence. He will not be at a dissavantage this week of not knowing a golf course everyone else has played. Because this is a new venue that no-one on the Tour has much data on, Speith will be up to speed with everyone else. He has to be on a high after getting a call from Presidents Cup Captain Fred Couples last Wednesday with news that he had made the team.
There are some more interesting pairing on the list that will deserve some attention. Roberto Castro, who played very well at TPC Boston will play along with new President Cup selection, Brendon de Jonge and Zach Johnson. Justin Rose will be playing with Steve Stricker, and 2012 FedEx Cup Champion, Brandt Snedeker.
I think Justin Rose can make some noise this week, especially with the predicted cooler and windier weather. Steve Stricker put a great round together at the Deutsche Bank, and could be a factor before this thing is over provided he doesn’t decide to go Moose Hunting instead of making the trip to Atlanta. Brandt Snedeker just hasn’t had ths spunk he began the season with. I think his rib injuries created more problems that he isn’t willing to discuss.
Last, but not least, Ian Poulter will be playing along with a newly barbered Charley Hoffman, and Luke Donald. Poulter played well at TPC Boston, and looked to be on his way to finish near the top of the leaderboard until the 18th hole. A double bogey was more due to bad luck than any kind of mistake, but Ian Poulter could be looking for some revenge. Let’s not forget how well he played just down the road at Medinah last year.
Luke Donald went to college at nearby Northwestern University and has a ton of local knowledge that could elevate his status this week. He is going to need some good luck, and local knowledge if he wants to play in Atlanta next week.