1. Jason Day – 566.33 points
After being in contention almost every week all summer, Day cooled off a bit in Boston, but still played well enough to finish T12. His third-round 73 was his first over-par round since the U.S. Open, and he is likely looking forward to getting back to Conway Farms for the BMW, where he finished T-4 in 2013. The course — which features lots of small greens — sets up well for Day, who ranks 7th in strokes gained tee to green, 2nd in putting, and T-23 in one-putt percentage. Obviously, a player like Day is looking to contend every time out, but after winning the Barclays, his main focus has to be on the Tour Championship, as a win there would earn him the FedEx Cup and quite possibly Player of the Year honors. If he finds himself in the middle of the pack come Saturday, don’t be surprised if he dials it back a bit to focus on honing his game for East Lake.
2. Henrik Stenson – 400 points
Of all the players on this list, coming off back-to-back runner up finishes at the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank, Stenson might be the only guy who wasn’t happy about having last week off. He struggled a bit at Conway Farms in 2013, finishing T-33, and he just isn’t a good enough putter to do much better there this year. Like Day, his focus is likely to be on getting ready for the Tour Championship.
3. Jim Furyk – 335.17 points
Furyk, on the other hand, is definitely looking forward to this week. He posted a 59 at Conway Farms in 2013 on his way to a 3rd place finish and currently ranks 9thin FedEx points after his T-4 at the Deutsche Bank. He is 3rd in strokes gained tee to green and is well aware that a strong showing at the BMW will put him squarely in the hunt for his second career FedEx Cup.
4. Bubba Watson – 331.83 points
The most consistent part of Watson’s game this year has been his inconsistency, a shortcoming that was on display once again at TPC Boston, a course he absolutely should have torn apart but instead finished a disappointing T-29. Watson was runner up at last year’s BMW at Cherry Hills and T-24 in 2013 at Conway Farms. He ranks 1st in strokes gained tee to green and 22nd in greens in regulation, but his putting stats — T-65 in total putting and 108 in 1-putt percentage — don’t quite hold up. Even so, he should have a good week, depending on which Bubba Watson shows up on Thursday.
5. Rickie Fowler – 329.67 points
Thanks to his win at the Deutsche Bank, Fowler now controls his own destiny in the FedEx Cup playoffs. But just like Day and Stenson, a victory at East Lake would mean a lot more than a win here. The big question for this week is how will Conway Farms suit his game? He finished T-39th in 2013, but did rally back from an opening round 77 with a 68-68-71, proving he can play well on this track. He ranks 32nd in strokes gained tee to green and is a good enough putter to put a top-ten finish well within reach.
6. Justin Rose – 326 points
A missed cut at the Deutsche Bank showed just how long of a season it’s been for Rose, one he is likely looking forward to putting behind him. Whenever he does play well, he winds up finishing 3rd or 4th, and for a player who’s clearly capable of winning in any given week, that has to be frustrating. He did win the BMW at Cog Hill in 2011, but only broke 70 once at Conway Farms in 2013. He is 8th in strokes gained tee to green and 9th in greens in regulation, but will need to find some of the magic that’s been missing all year if he hopes to make a run at a late season victory.
7. Zach Johnson – 253.67 points
Johnson showed he has some life left in his game after finishing T-4 at the Barclays and now returns to Conway Farm, where he won in 2013. The course sets up perfectly for him as he is 14th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 35th in greens in regulation and 6th in driving accuracy. His putting is not as sharp but he should get a big confidence boost from being a former champ.
8. Brooks Koepka – 220.67 points
Just like Jordan Spieth, Koepka missed the cut at both the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank, and coming off a long season where he played 21 events since February, having this past week off was likely a welcome relief. This will be his first BMW Championship and first event at Conway Farms, but at 28th in strokes gained tee to green and 18th in strokes gained putting, the course should set up fairly well for him.
9. Patrick Reed – 201.67 points
After a summer of inconsistent play, Reed finished T-4 at the Deutsche Bank, his first top-ten since his runner-up finish at the Valspar in March. But despite ranking 37th in strokes gained tee to green, it’s hard to see him doing much this week. In two career BMW starts, he finished T-53 last year and T-59 in 2013 at Conway Farms.
10. Matt Kuchar – 200.66 points
This has been a disappointing season for Kuchar, as he has been in contention just three times all year. He did notch top-10 finishes at the Deutsche Bank, PGA Championship and Canadian Open, but he simply hasn’t played well enough to win, and judging from his rocky BMW record — T-24 in 2013 and T-46 last year — it’s hard to see him turning that around this week.
11. Jordan Spieth – 196.66 points
After missing two cuts in a row at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank, you have to wonder if Spieth’s incredible season really ended with his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship. He looked pretty drained afterwards and just hasn’t been sharp since. Stats-wise — 4th in strokes gained too-to-green, 1st in putting average — he is poised to do well at Conway Farms, but after coming so close to winning the Grand Slam, it’s possible he is mentally spent, and having just one week off isn’t likely to be enough for him.
Inside the rankings:
*Off the GOLFstats player rankings, we determine the hottest players based on the last nine weeks on the PGA Tour. Keys to the system:
*132 points for regular tour win. All finishers in top-50 get points via a declining scale.
*198 points for a win in WGC events and the Players Championship, 264 points for a major win.
*points are lost for missed cuts, DQs or WDs: 10 for regular events, 15 for WGC and Players, 20 for majors
*All points get degraded 1/3 after weeks 4, 5 & 6, and by 2/3 for weeks 7, 8 & 9