Event: BMW Championship
Dates: Thursday August 26th through Sunday August 29th
Course: Caves Valley
Field: 70 players
Past Winners: None
- Thursday/Friday: 3-7pm (Golf Channel)
- Saturday: 12-3pm (Golf Channel), 3-6pm (NBC)
- Sunday: 12-2pm (Golf Channel), 2-6pm (NBC)
- Caves Valley is a new course on Tour and only a handful of players in this field have played this course. So how does this affect handicapping? Well, we have to realize that on a short week, players who made the cut at Liberty National will have less time to prep and learn this course since that event ended on Monday. Players who missed the cut had an extra day of prep to try and learn the golf course.
- The course is a par 72 that stretches out to 7,500 yards
- 4 par 3s: 227, 223, 224, 220
- I expect the course setup to vary some of these tees each day since they don’t usually keep all 4 par 3s the same yardage every day
- 10 par 4s:
- <367 yards: 3
- 368-450 yards: 1
- >450 yards: 6
- 4 par 5s: 584, 590, 568, 599
- Long drivers will have a big edge here as these holes will be reachable
- Off the Tee:
- Off the Tee (particularly driving distance) will be of utmost importance this week. We have 4 par 5s all of which are 568 yards or longer which will be reachable by the longer hitters and most likely not by average or shorter hitters. We also have 6 long par 4s which also play into the hands of long drivers as there aren’t many holes that require a layup. We also have 3 par 4s that might be driveable depending on wind direction, which also works well for long drivers. The landing areas on most holes are slightly wider than Tour average.
- Approach Shots:
- The way this course sets up, the type of approach shots will be heavily dependent on driving distance since drivers will be used on most holes. Here is how it breaks down for short hitters vs long hitters:
- 7 wedge shots (4 par 5s plus 3 short par 4s)
- 4 long irons (all 4 par 3s listed at 220+ yards)
- 1 short iron (422 yd par 4)
- 6 mid irons (150-200 yards approach shots on the 6 long par 4s)
- Long Hitter:
- Will attempt to drive the 3 short par 4s so no approach shots there
- All 4 par 5s will be reachable with long iron or 3wood
- 4 more long irons as all par 3s are 220+ yards
- 1 wedge (422 yd par 4)
- 5 short irons (125-175 yards into the 6 long par 4s)
- We have bentgrass greens that players are not familiar with so I expect putting to be about neutral in terms of importance this week.
- Around the Green:
- Around the Green is going to be heavily dependent on driving distance this week. If you are a bomber, you will have upwards of 7 additional chip or pitch shots (4 par 5s plus 3 driveable par 4s) whereas a shorter hitter will layup to a full wedge on those holes.
What type of player typically succeeds here?
- I see two paths to victory at this course:
- Long driver off the tee who has an above average week with long irons and short game
- Short hitter who is dialed in with his full wedge shots as he will need to convert those into birdies to contend with the bomber. Most likely will need an excellent putting performance to win but the shorter hitters tend to be better putters so it is possible.
What areas of a player’s game will be tested the most this week?
- Largest emphasis:
- Off The Tee (emphasis on Driving Distance)
- Strokes Gained Approach (higher emphasis on 200+ yards)
- Smaller emphasis:
- Strokes Gained Around the Green
- Strokes Gained Putting
- Par 5 scoring