BMW Championship experts' picks

September, 4, 2012
Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf writer: Rory McIlroy
In his past four starts, he has two wins, a tie for fifth and a tie for 24th (I don't know what happened at The Barclays). This guy could tee it up on Antarctica wearing flip-flops and a tank top and I'm not betting against him right now.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Dustin Johnson
The 28-year-old, six-time PGA Tour winner doesn't have any experience at Crooked Stick, but his splendid long game and top-10s in his last two events are signs he could tame this 7,500-yard beast. Also, he's full of confidence after making his second Ryder Cup team.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Matt Kuchar
OK, there really isn't one, as Crooked Stick is an unknown venue, but at least Kuchar won on a Pete Dye course earlier this year at TPC Sawgrass.

Kevin Maguire, senior golf editor: Dustin Johnson
Big hitters should do well on the Pete Dye course that, when tipped out, could hit nearly 7,500 yards for the par-72 layout. Plus, he's coming off back-to-back top-5 finishes, so another strong showing for the Ryder Cup captain's pick wouldn't be a shocker.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Phil Mickelson
He said it himself after Monday's final round at the Deutsche Bank Championship. "I feel like my game is back." Two missed cuts followed by three finishes outside the top 35, and he's gone 72 holes without a three-putt. He's just "gearing up" for the Ryder Cup.

Farrell Evans: Kevin Stadler
This 32-year-old son of former Masters champion Craig Stadler has had T-10s in both playoff events.

Bob Harig: Rory McIlroy
He's coming off an impressive performance at the Deutsche Bank, which followed by three weeks his PGA Championship win. He now leads the FedEx Cup standings.

Kevin Maguire: Sergio Garcia
He took a little flak for skipping the Deutsche Bank Championship last week, but a well-rested Garcia -- who is 15th in the FedEx Cup standings -- should easily be able to punch his ticket to East Lake the week after next.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Bryce Molder
Look up "unassuming" in the dictionary and there's a picture of Molder. But he made a huge jump in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, going from 93rd to 45th by way of his ninth-place finish outside Boston. Two missed cuts, a tie for 46th and now a ninth ... I'd say he's "trending in the right direction."

Farrell Evans: Seung-Yul Noh
The 21-year-old South Korean is Sean Foley's least known student, but he soon could be a superstar on the PGA Tour. He's had only three top-10s on the year, but he caught the attention of many with a first-round 62 at the Deutsche Bank.

Bob Harig: Dicky Pride
The last man in moved up 26 spots just to get to the BMW Championship, so he's playing with house money. Another big week gets him to Atlanta -- and into three major championships in 2013.

Kevin Maguire: Dicky Pride
I picked him last week and he didn't disappoint, so I'm riding the Pride train all the way to East Lake. Prior to the Deutsche Bank, he was 96th in FedEx Cup points and a T-20 finish got him to No. 70 to qualify for this week's BMW Championship. Now the bubble boy, Pride will probably need a very high finish if he wants to play the Tour Championship.


Michael Collins: Tiger Woods
That dogfight between him and Rory, it's going to happen again this week and carry over to the Tour Championship. At one point last week, Tiger hit 14 greens in a row and he has currently gone 43 holes without a three-putt, his longest streak of the year. With Rory having a firm grip on POY, Tiger's going to grind this one out and make it come down to the Tour Championship. I love the playoffs!

Farrell Evans: Rory McIlroy
I probably sound like a broken record, but McIlroy is playing so well right now that I think he wins the remaining two playoff events.

Bob Harig: Jeff Overton
His tie for seventh was his first top-10 since a tie for fourth at the Shell Houston Open, but Overton has karma on his side, jumping to 40th in FedEx Cup points, along with his Hoosier roots. He lives about an hour away from Crooked Stick and it would be a fitting place for his first PGA Tour title.

Kevin Maguire: Keegan Bradley
After making the cut on the number last week in his "hometown" PGA Tour stop, Bradley went 63-69 in the final two rounds to nearly crack the top 10. He'll get off to a better start this week to lock up one of those coveted top-5 spots for the Tour Championship, where a victory outside Atlanta gives you that $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.





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