Jon Rahm, right, is congratulated by Dustin Johnson
Jon Rahm, right, is congratulated by Dustin Johnson on the first playoff hole during the final round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

HOW TO WATCH THE 2021 BMW CHAMPIONSHIP

The BMW Championship, the second of three FedEx Playoff stages, takes place this coming weekend, with only the top 70 players on the PGA Tour qualifying for the event. This year’s event will be held at the Caves Valley Golf Club, just outside of Baltimore. With a purse of $9,500,000 and only the top 30 scores qualifying for next weekend’s FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta, the pressure to perform well will certainly be high, which should make for some entertaining golf to watch and place bets on this weekend.



TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Formerly known as the Western Open, the tournament was renamed the BMW Championship and became a FedEx Cup event in 2007, with Tiger Woods winning the inaugural event and again in 2009. The only other golfer to win the event more than once is Dustin Johnson, who won in 2010 and 2016. The defending champion is the PGA Tour’s current No. 1 ranked golfer, Jon Rahm, who won by four strokes last year at the Olympia Fields Country Club in suburban Chicago. The only player to break 60 in this tournament is Jim Furyk, who shot a blazing hot 59 in 2013 in his second round at Illinois’ Conway Farms, which has hosted this tournament three times. In 2019, Keegan Bradley set a BMW Championship record low by shooting 260 in 2018 at the Aronimink, Pennsylvania Golf Club. With some improvements and upgrades happening in 2020, including tougher water hazards, deeper roughs and pro tee boxes, this will be Caves Valley Golf Club’s first time hosting a PGA event since the course was built in 1991.

HOW TO WATCH
The event will be covered by a number of different sources. The first two rounds on Thursday and Friday will be covered by the Golf Channel in the afternoon, with Saturday and Sunday afternoon action starting with the Golf Channel, then being picked up by NBC. Featured holes will be broadcasted on Prime Video’s PGA Tour Live on all four days. Additionally, if you’re away from your television, Sirius XM’s PGA Tour Radio will have coverage that starts at 1 p.m. for all four rounds. The radio coverage will also be simulcast on PGATOUR.com.

HOW TO BET
Because this course has never hosted a PGA Tour event, betting based on a player’s history there is impossible. There is no way to see which golfers love the course, or who have played well here in the past because no one has. Some of the key players played here in 2005 at the NCAA Men’s Individual Tournament, but both the course and the game itself have changed dramatically since. One possible strategy would be to check out which golfers have played well at other courses that were also designed by the Fazio brothers. Some of those include:

-Kasumigaseki Country Club, which hosted the 2021 Olympics
-Congaree Golf Club, host of the 2021 Palmetto Championship
-Quail Hollow Club, host of the Wells Fargo Championship
-Conway Farms Golf Club, host of the BMW Championship in 2013,2015,2017

Due to relative unfamiliarity with the course, bettors would likely be better served by keeping things simple for this year’s event. Betting on golfers who have been striking the ball efficiently lately should be a favorable strategy for this weekend. The roughs are thick and challenging, and the course’s redesign would seem to favor players who putt well and who have been hitting the ball well from tee-to-green recently. Results from the tour’s most recent events like the Wyndham Championship, the Northern Trust and the WGC/FedEx St. Jude Invitational should be factored into your strategy as well.

BEST BETS
Collin Morikawa (+2200) – His tee to green game is a good fit for this course.
Patrick Cantlay (+2500) – Has finished in the top 25 fifteen times in 22 tournaments this year.
Rory McIlroy (+2800) – He has a couple of recent top 15 finishes and is always a threat.

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