Patrick Cantlay came up just short last week in Memphis.
Cantlay caught up to Lucas Glover and even forced a playoff at the FedEx St. Jude Championship to kick off the FedExCup Playoffs. Yet on the very first hole, Cantlay’s drive landed in the water, and his putt to extend the playoff was off by just inches. That handed Glover the win.
While the finish was obviously disappointing, it did jump Cantlay to No. 5 in the FedExCup standings. Now, at the BMW Championship, where he’s the two-time defending champion, Cantlay believes he’s in a great spot to make a move before next week.
“Going into the finale with the way the Tour Championship is set up now, it’s really important to be up there as close as you can to No. 1,” Cantlay said Tuesday. “Happy to put myself in a good spot and hopefully improve on that spot this week.”
Cantlay hasn’t won a tournament since last year’s BMW Championship, though he has had a very solid season. He has missed just two cuts and has nine top-10 finishes. He enters this week ranked No. 4 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
The top 30 in the standings after this week will advance to the Tour Championship, which features the only staggered start of the season. The way things stand now, Jon Rahm would start at East Lake in Atlanta at 10-under par with a 2-shot lead over the rest of the field.
Rahm, who has won four times this season, finished T37 last week in Memphis. Rahm won the BMW Championship in 2020, when it was at Olympia Fields, too, after sinking a more than 60-foot putt on the first playoff hole.
“Even though I’m talking about arguably some of the best 36 holes I’ve ever played on a weekend, quote-unquote, bogey-free, minus the penalty on 5, but yeah, I would say I’ve improved in many categories, and I think it’s shown on my accomplishments since then,” Rahm said.
“I can’t tell you exactly one thing. I just feel like I’m capable of — I’m a little bit better in certain departments that I wasn’t as good at back then.”
Here’s everything you need to know headed into the BMW Championship:
Title: BMW Championship
Where: Olympia Fields Country Club | Olympia Fields, Illinois
Defending Champion: Patrick Cantlay
Total purse: $20 million
The Tour Championship next week features a staggered start, where the top-ranked golfer will open the week at 10-under par and 2 shots ahead of the rest of the field.
No. 1: Jon Rahm (3,386 points)
No. 2: Scottie Scheffler (3,238 points)
No. 3: Rory McIlroy (2,954 points)
No. 4: Lucas Glover (2,885 points)
No. 5: Patrick Cantlay (2,643 points)
No. 6: Max Homa (2,451 points)
No. 7: Viktor Hovland (2,024 points)
No. 8: Wyndham Clark (1,957 points)
No. 9: Brian Harman (1,919 points)
No. 10: Tommy Fleetwood (1,834 points)
Tour Championship Bubble Watch
Only the top 30 in the FedExCup standings will qualify for next week’s Tour Championship.
No. 26: Tyrrell Hatton
No. 27: Jordan Spieth
No. 28: Sungjae Im
No. 29: Chris Kirk
No. 30: Sam Burns
— Top 30 qualify for Tour Championship —
No. 31: Sahith Theegala
No. 32: Justin Rose
No. 33: Kurt Kitayama
No. 34: Denny McCarthy
No. 35: Seamus Power
Other notable names outside the top 30 include Ben An at No. 38, Matt Fitzpatrick at No. 40 and Hideki Matsuyama at No. 47.
Ryder Cup qualification almost over
The qualification period for the U.S. Ryder Cup team is almost over.
The window to earn an automatic spot on the American team for next month’s event in Italy will end after the BMW Championship concludes Sunday. The top six in the standings will make it in, and then captain Zach Johnson will make his six picks to round out the 12-man team.
Both Scottie Scheffler and Wyndham Clark have already qualified for the United States. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland have qualified for the European team. Their qualification period runs through Sept. 3.
While Patrick Cantlay and Brian Harman seem to be safe, there are several golfers in the field in Chicago who can make a big jump this week. Xander Schauffele is only about 20 points behind Max Homa, who enters the week at No. 6 in the Ryder Cup standings, and Jordan Spieth is about 800 points back. Both Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa are within striking distance, too.
Collin Morikawa ‘very scared’ to return to Maui
Collin Morikawa has qualified for the Sentry next season, but he said he’s “very scared” to return to Maui in January after the deadly and devastating wildfires.
At least 99 people have died in the wildfires in Maui as of Tuesday, according to The New York Times, which makes them the deadliest in the United States in more than a century. Morikawa has several family members who were born and raised on Maui, and his grandfather owned a family restaurant in Lāhainā — which was nearly completely destroyed by the wildfires.
“Every year we would always walk by the store that ended up being where the Morikawa restaurant used to be,” Morikawa said Tuesday. “I am very scared. But I think with being scared, also you need to step up.”
Morikawa is donating $1,000 for every birdie he makes this week to the World Central Kitchen. He raised $17,000 last week for the Maui United Way.