2014 BMW Championship Preview
The men will be separated from the boys this week at the BMW Championship in Denver, Colorado, as more than half of the FedEx Cup Playoff field will be eliminated in preparation for next week’s TOUR Championship in Atlanta.
The beautiful Cherry Hills Country Club is the site of the third of four legs of the FedEx Cup. The field boasts 59 PGA Tour winners; 15 Major winners and has the last three BMW champions – Justin Rose (2011), Rory McIlroy (2012) and Zach Johnson (2013).
Perhaps the biggest factor some golfers will have to adjust to at Cherry Hills is the thin air. The town’s elevation (5,426 feet) almost surpasses its number of residents (5,958). Built in 1922, the William S. Flynn designed course is a par-71 that is 7,466 yards in length. Of course the thin air makes for some long drives, as every single baseball pitcher who has thrown an inning at nearby Coors Field can attest to.
The course has a number of notable holes, kicking off with the 389-yard, Par-4 No. 1, made legendary in 1960 when Arnold Palmer hit the green on his drive en route to rallying from seven strokes down for the title – his only US Open crown ever.
Based on current point totals, only nine players are slam dunks to make the top 30 – Chris Kirk, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth would all still be ranked in the Top 30 if they recorded no points this weekend.
From there, it becomes a crap shoot for the rest of the field, with a host of players having less than a 5% chance of making the final 30. Just as amazing, any player inside the top 24 could move to the top of the rankings this week by winning the BMW Championship.
The tournament kicks off Thursday with Ernie Els, Steven Bowditch and JB Holmes on the front nine at 11:20 a.m. while Marc Leishman, George McNeil and Brian Stuard take to the back nine.
The biggest names take the field in waves about 22 minutes later, as can be seen with the selected tee times listed below:
11:42 a.m. (#10) – Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth
11:53 a.m (#1) – Adam Scott, Russell Henley, Martin Kaymer
11:53 a.m. (#10) – Chris Kirk, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan
12:48 p.m. (#1) – Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed
12:59 p.m. (#1) – Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson