By News Team
25th August 2020
There’s a feast of top-quality action on both the European and PGA Tours this week as Olympia Fields hosts the second FedEx Cup Playoff, the BMW Championship, while the prestigious Belfry is the stage for the UK Championship.
Both events have attracted strong fields and here is our look ahead to them.
BMW Championship: Consistent Berger primed for another bold showing
Dustin Johnson’s performance at The Northern Trust was one that will go down in history as one of the great ones on the PGA Tour. He is just the third man to reach 30 under in a 72-hole tournament and given how much better he looked than everyone else at TPC Boston, it’s hardly surprising the new world number one is the 8/1 favourite to follow up at the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields.
Quite simply, if DJ continues the form from last week into this week, he’ll be incredibly tough to beat and the stats back that up too. Since 2016, Johnson has won 12 times on the PGA Tour and he’s finished in the top five eight times the next week, so it’s clear when he’s hot, he’s very hot.
However, in a field as strong as this, there must be value elsewhere and that could come in the shape of DANIEL BERGER at 22/1. The 27-year-old is enjoying a stellar campaign on the PGA Tour with just two missed cuts from 15 starts as well as seven top 10s and one victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Since that win, he’s finished in the top three in three of his five appearances and just missed out on a top 10 at the PGA Championship. Had it not been for Johnson’s heroics at TPC Boston he would have been right in the thick of things and four rounds in the mid-60s showed the game is just where it needs to be as he heads into a pivotal spell of the season.
Although there hasn’t been a pro event held at Olympia Fields since the 2013 US Open, and thus there is little to no course form to go on, we do know it will be the longest par-70 of the year so far at 7,366 yards. With that in mind, as well as the fact there are just two par-5s, driving accuracy and par-4 scoring are going to be key – two areas Berger has excelled in this season. He’s ranked 40th for driving accuracy, while there are only three players better than him on the par-4s, so he should be right at home with the test Olympia Fields has to offer.
UK Championship: Wiesberger can go well back on European soil
With the likes of Matt Wallace (16/1), Lee Westwood (22/1), Danny Willett (22/1) and Martin Kaymer (25/1) in the field at the Belfry this week, we’ve got probably the strongest field so far of the European Tour’s UK Swing.
Wallace is arguably the man to beat after a very strong showing at the Memorial Tournament a few weeks back, but he hasn’t won for nearly two years now and he might just find a few too good here. Namely BERND WIESBERGER, who was three times a winner last year and went so close to winning the Race to Dubai too.
Wiesberger started this season with a good performance in Abu Dhabi where he finished in a tie for eighth, but he failed to back that up with missed cuts in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Since those below-par showings, he’s been plying his trade in America and although he’s never really been involved, he’s shown enough to suggest he’s not far off contending again. He seems to have had a recent knack of putting in three solid rounds accompanied by one poor one and that obviously makes it very tricky playing against the best players in the world.
A clear example of that was at the PGA Championship where he was only five shots off the lead heading into the final round, but a disappointing 74 saw him fall out of contention. He’ll take great heart from that showing, though, and given this is a weaker field than he’s faced for a while, he’ll be very hopeful of contending again.
Looking back through Wiesberger’s victories and there is a common theme. The average winning score at those tournaments has been 16 under par and that could easily continue this week given the way the majority of courses have been set up. Birdies have been the order of the day on the UK Swing and that should suit the 34-year-old down to the ground, particularly as his best recent showing was at the 3M Open, a tournament renowned for low-scoring. The Belfry looks a good fit for the Austrian, who is available at 18/1.