Local Knowledge: 2011 BMW Championship

Cog Hill
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Cog Hill Golf & Country Club is in great shape this year, says PGA Director of Instruction Kevin Weeks.
By
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer
PGA.com

Series: Local Knowledge

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 10:41 a.m.

Following a much needed week off, the PGA Tour returns to action this week at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Ill., for the third leg of the Playoffs for the FedExCup - the BMW Championship.

Dustin Johnson, who currently occupies the No. 2 spot in the latest FedExCup standings, is the defending champion at the BMW, which certainly makes him a favorite this week, says PGA Director of Instruction Kevin Weeks.

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Weeks knows Cog Hill inside and out and shed some light on what we can expect this week.

PGA.com: As always, thank you for taking the time to join us, Kevin. The third leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup -- the BMW Championship -- starts up Thursday at Cog Hill. As it is right now, your defending champion Dustin Johnson is No. 2 in the standings, thanks to his win at The Barclays. Does he have the advantage going into Cog Hill this week on a course where he won last year along with the fact that he's riding high on confidence?

Weeks: Dustin seems to be playing well now and this course - at least in the past - seems to favor the long, high-ball hitter. Let's just say he'd be one of those players that you wouldn't want to bet against.

PGA.com: Midwesterner Mark Wilson is No. 17 in the standings. From what I understand, you had the chance to play a practice round with him over the weekend. Mark had such a great start to 2011. What is it about his game that has allowed him to play so well this season? Was there anything in particular that really caught your eye when you played with him?

Weeks: We played a few holes on Sunday and he drove the ball exceptional. He didn't just hit in the fairways, but he hit the ball where he wanted to in the fairway. He really drove it well. His caddie was telling me that they've been working on in-between shots and half shots with 7- and 8-irons and if Mark doesn't have perfect yardage, now he can hit it where he wants, unlike last year. They spent a lot of time on that aspect of the game and it shows.

PGA.com: After a hot start to this week temperature-wise, it looks like things will really cool off once play begins. How, if at all, will that impact the way the course plays?

Weeks: It'll dry out some. We got the remnants of a storm last week with cool, damp weather. It was still humid, but damp and the course softened up. The greens are remarkably firmer today [Tuesday] than they were on Monday. It'll just get firmer and faster throughout the week.

PGA.com: Unlike last year, players had a built-in week off this time around to recharge after the Deutsche Bank Championship. Did that make this week any less stressful for the players at the BMW Championship?

Weeks: The players are much more relaxed. There's no doubt about it. Now they can prepare for the golf course.

Last year, they traveled Monday, they were tired Tuesday and had to play in the pro-am Wednesday. It was a short, but long, hard week for them. They were tired and didn't have their legs under them. It was sloppy for some guys - not unlike an NFL team with a short week, playing a Monday night game followed by a Sunday afternoon game. It just throws your preparation off and messes with your routine. I think everyone is much happier this time around.

PGA.com: Final question, Kevin. What are you most looking forward to this week?

Weeks: I've got my eyes on the course. It wasn't in good shape last year. We had a tough summer.

This year it's in so much better shape. In fact, one guy said to me it was the best conditioned course he's seen all year. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do with the golf course fully covered in grass. This year it's great. Last year, we had to put tees maybe in spots we didn't really want to but had to because they were the only spots with full grass cover.

I'm interested to see what they can do with the course. You could see somebody not in that typical group of guys that play well here pull out a win - a shorter-hitting guy with more control shots like a Luke Donald or David Toms. It'll be fun to watch.