Expert Picks: BMW Championship


This week the FedEx Cup playoffs continue with the BMW Championship from Crooked Stick GC. Justin Rose defends the title he won last year over John Senden at Cog Hill outside Chicago. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner.

Jay Coffin

Group 1: Tiger Woods: I'm sticking with him. He may not win, but he'll contend.

Group 2: Justin Rose: He won the WGC-Cadillac Championship earlier this year, so I'll pick him to do well in another tournament sponsored by a car manufacturer.

Group 3: John Senden: I have a buddy that's told me all year that Senden was going to win an event this year. There isn't much time left.

Group 4: Kevin Stadler: Check out his record the last two weeks. Not sure he'll keep it up, but it's worth the gamble.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: His Ryder Cup selection merely validates his good form of late. With a T-3 and a T-4 in his past two starts, respectively, and with the big ballpark at Crooked Stick, there's little reason to suggest that D.J.'s hot play won't continue.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: With his regular caddie on the bag for the last two rounds at TPC Boston, Bradley shot 63-69 to record a T-13 finish - his third top 15 in his past four starts.

Group 3: Jeff Overton: Crooked Stick is a bit of an unknown for players - except, of course, for the Indiana product. As long as he doesn't try too hard to dazzle the hometown fans, Overton has a chance to build on last week's T-7 finish.

Group 4: J.B. Holmes: His driving distance may be down this year (310 yards per pop), but the Kentuckian still bombs it. That should set up well at rain-softened Crooked Stick, where big hitters will dominate. 

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Dustin Johnson: With the weight of making captain Davis Love III's U.S. Ryder Cup team off his shoulders, he can free-wheel it at an event he has won before - although that BMW was on a much different (read: longer) track in Cog Hill.

Group 2: Phil Mickelson: The claw/saw putting grip has rejuvenated Lefty, as evidenced by his tie for fourth at TPC Boston and his fourth-place showing in the all-important strokes gained putting category.

Group 3: Greg Chalmers: Australian told his swing coach last week not to worry about coming out to Crooked Stick because he is 'striping it.' At 36th on the FedEx Cup points list, he needs one more solid week to earn his first trip to the Tour Championship.

Group 4: Chris Kirk: He played his way into the BMW with steady finishes at the first two playoff stops (T-46 at The Barclays and T-35 at Deutsche Bank) and hasn't missed a cut since the Greenbrier Classic.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Adam Scott: I picked him to win the FedEx Cup, so at some point that's got to mean a tournament win, too.

Group 2: Phil Mickelson: Finally starting to peak again, thanks to his new claw putting grip.

Group 3: Bud Cauley: Playing some inspired golf over the final two months of the season.

Group 4: Graham DeLaet: Needs one more big push to get into the Tour Championship and claim a spot in the first three majors next year.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: One of the things that motivates Tiger the most is being the best. In his eyes, he was just beaten by his biggest rival who is making his youthful stake on being the best player in the world. Tiger bites into Rory's moment in the sun with a win this week and a claim that he is still the best in the game.

Group 2: Jim Furyk: He can breathe a sigh of relief this week after getting a nod from Captain Love. With that security, Furyk crushes all doubt surrounding his captain's pick by showing up big at the BMW. Plus, he's proven he's playing well - see his T-13 last week, as well as strong stats for hitting fairways and greens all year long.

Group 3: John Senden: Coming in off a solo 12th place in Boston, which makes it five of seven top-20 finishes this summer. He's 26th in the standings so he knows he needs to keep up his good play to make it to Atlanta and reap all the benefits of a Tour Championship berth.

Group 4: Kevin Stadler: Back-to-back ties for tenth place make Stadler a no-brainer in Group 4. He's on a hot streak and there is no better time to have one than the playoffs. Look for him to ride the wave into the Tour Championship.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Even though Rory McIlroy deserves the investment, I'm hedging for the mere fact that it's rare to win in consecutive weeks. In his consistent attack, Woods had only four bogeys all week at the Deutsche Bank and finished third. 

Group 2: Phil Mickelson: The tinkering is paying dividends. Using the claw grip at TPC Boston, Mickelson finished fourth in strokes gained putting and placed T-4 on the final leaderboard. His sublime short game should also serve him well at Crooked Stick.

Group 3: John Senden: Never sexy, but always steady. Tee-to-green proficiency has led to a pair of top-20 finishes in the playoffs. Overall, he's logged 11 top-25 finishes among 17 paydays. Crafted his schedule early in the year to focus on the biggest events. 

Group 4: J.B. Holmes: While tempted here by Kevin Stadler - one of four golfers with top 10s in both postseason events - I've read that Crooked Stick caters to long hitters, a philosophy that no doubt has roots in John Daly's annihilation of the track in the 1991 PGA Championship. While the jury remains out if that's an accurate statement this time around, this is the perfect spot to hop on a bomber's bandwagon.