Cog Hill to test BMW line-up

It's on to Chicago for the 70 players still alive in the FedEx Cup finals as they chase glory and money over the final two events of the series. This week's event at the famed Cog Hill Golf Club will see the elimination of another forty players and so when the finals arrive in Atlanta on September the original 125 who qualified for the opening will have been reduced to 30.

Cog Hill's Dubsdread course has undergone considerable remodelling since this event was last played here in 2007. The USGA's course doctor Rees Jones has taken his scalpel to the original Joe Lee, Rocky Roquemore and Dick Wilson layout, adding nearly 300 yards and re-contouring nearly all of the greens.

Drainage has also been improved, bunkering redone to improve the look of the golf course and hopefully the layout will now attract the attention of the USGA as a US Open venue as it was with that in mind that the changes have been made.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact these changes will have on Tiger Woods, who in 2007 set a tournament record of 22 under par when winning by two over Aaron Baddeley. It was Woods' fourth victory at Cog Hill and along with two runner up finishes he enjoys an oustanding record on the golf course. Whether he has the same comfort zone this year on the newly revised layout remains to be seen but there are very few courses that don't fit the eye of the Tiger.

Steve Stricker is, along with Woods, the hottest golfer on the planet and perhaps in his own way more so. Stricker took over the FedEx Cup lead last week with his impressive win in Boston, moved to world number two and importantly has won around Cog Hill. That victory came in 1996 when Stricker won by a massive eight shots at a time when he was one of the most exciting emerging players in the game.

For a range of reasons he lost his way soon afterwards but having won four events in the past two years, he is rapidly becoming the golfer many felt he would be earlier.

Jim Furyk has been a regular contender in nearly every event he has played at Cog Hill and has shown in his last couple of starts that he is not far from where he needs to be to extend his impressive record at this venue.

I don't think it is such a long bow to draw to consider Stephen Ames a potential winner this week. He won at Cog Hill in 2004 and has played well enough in recent weeks for him to be a factor again. His final round of 66 on Sunday in Boston gives the impression that he is not too far from the form he needs to contend this week.

Angel Cabrera has put together some good rounds at Cog Hill and while he has been inconsistent at times this season he was very good last week when sharing 4th. He has played several big events very well this season and this is certainly one of those.

The Australians are headed by Geoff Ogilvy, who closed quickly last week before finishing 7th. Ogilvy has not done much at this event over the years although he was 5th in 2004 and is in good form right now.

Robert Allenby won on this golf course in 2000 when beating Nick Price in a playoff and although he missed the cut last week he is still a chance for a very good week.

Those who don't make it to through to the top 30 advancing to the Tour Championship are still guaranteed US$110,000 in addition to any prizemoney they earn in an event with no cut so let's not feel too sorry for them.

John Senden, Jason Day, Nathan Green and Marc Leishman also get their chance to fly the Australian flag with pride. Just making it this far is an achievement in itself.

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