This Week in Golf -- September 15th through September 18th

PGA TOUR - BMW CHAMPIONSHIP - Cog Hill The third Playoff event is upon us and week break, we're down to the top 70 on the FedExCup points list.

Webb Simpson, the winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship, is the leader at the halfway mark. Not surprisingly, Dustin Johnson, who won the first playoff event, The Barclays, is second in the race for the FedExCup and the $10 million prize that comes with it.

Johnson has great history on his side to go along with momentum. He won last year's BMW Championship by a single stroke over Paul Casey, but Johnson's victory at The Barclays was his first since his win last year.

Johnson overcame a three-shot deficit on the back nine a year ago to get the victory. Another one on Sunday this year, and Johnson will most likely win the FedExCup.

The champion is crowned after next week's Tour Championship. That tournament is reserved for the top 30 players on the points list following the BMW Championship.

Following the BMW Championship, the Presidents Cup teams will be finalized and things are tight. David Toms has a slight lead over Brandt Snedeker for the final automatic spot on the American side.

Captain Fred Couples already announced he asked Tiger Woods to be one of his captain's picks, so he has one left. Snedeker, Rickie Fowler and PGA Champion Keegan Bradley are among the choices available to Couples, assuming none of those golfers get into the top 10 this week.

Greg Norman's International team is based on the world rankings, but there's some change. Goeff Ogilvy took the 10th and the final spot this week, leaving Louis Oosthuizen on the outside looking in. Norman will have to make his two picks Monday as well and aside from Oosthuizen, Vijay Singh, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley are candidates.

Golf Channel has coverage all four days, but NBC has action on the weekend.

Next week is the Tour Championship, which Jim Furyk won en route to the FedExCup title.


VIVENDI SEVE TROPHY - St. Nom La Breteche, Paris, France - It's Continential Europe versus the Great Britain & Ireland team, but this year the significance lays in the namesake.

This event is staged in non Ryder Cup years, so this will be the first without Seve Ballesteros. The Spaniard captained the first Continential European team in 2000 and beat Colin Montgomerie in singles to help his team win.

That was the last time the Continential team won. GB&I has won five in a row and has a great team this year with world No. 2 Lee Westwood, British Open champion Darren Clarke, Ian Poulter and last week's KLM Open winner Simon Dyson.

Since this is the first Seve Trophy without its inspiration, the charge of naming captains fell to Ballesteros' close friend, Ryder Cup teammate and current European Ryder Cup captain, Jose Maria Olazabal.

He tabbed Paul McGinley, who led GB&I to a win two years ago, and Frechman Jean van de Velde, who will guide the Continential European team for the first time.

Westwood, Poulter, Clarke and Dyson will be joined by Jamie Donaldson, Ross Fisher, Mark Foster, David Horsey, Scott Jamieson and Robert Rock.

The Continential European team features three-time winner this year Thomas Bjorn, Nicolas Colsaerts, Anders Hansen, Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Pablo Larrazabal, Alexander Noren, Matteo Manassero, Francesco Molinari and Raphael Jacquelin, who replaced an injured Alvaro Quiros.

The teams play fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over the four days.

Golf Channel has all four days of action.

Next week is Austrian GolfOpen, which was won last year by Jose Manuel Lara.


NAVISTAR LPGA CLASSIC - RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill (Senator Course), Prattville, Alabama - Will the Year of Yani continue in Alabama?

After world No. 1 Yani Tseng won for the fifth time this season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She beat Amy Yang in a playoff and Tseng has to be considered the favorite this week.

Last year, Katherine Hull of Australia beat Brittany Lincicome by a single stroke. Hull birdied the 17th hole on Sunday to edge out Lincicome for her second LPGA Tour title. Hull, who made one bogey in 72 holes last year, captured the 2008 Canadian Women's Open.

This is the final tune-up for next week's Solheim Cup. All 12 Americans on Rosie Jones' team are entered in the field this week. Several members of Alison Nicholas' European side are also playing before heading to Ireland for the Solheim Cup.

Golf Channel has the telecast for all four rounds.

Next week, the United States defends the Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle.


SONGDO IB CHAMPIONSHIP - Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, Songdo, Korea - The Champions Tour heads to Asia for the second staging of this championship.

Last year's debut was the first PGA Tour sanctioned event in Asia and the winner was the reigning Senior British Open Champion, Russ Cochran.

The left-handed Cochran was the beneficiary of some late mistakes by the leader Fred Funk. Funk missed a three-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday that could've won, so it was off to a playoff.

Funk had a great chance to reach the green in two at the par-five 18th, but instead found a bunker. He couldn't get up and down for birdie and Cochran did from a different trap for his first Champions Tour victory.

It spurred a great run for Cochran. He won the very next start on the Champions Tour, then captured his first major on the elder circuit this year at the Senior British.

Golf Channel has live coverage from South Korea for all three rounds.

In two weeks, it's the SAS Championship, which Cochran won last year.


BOISE OPEN - Hillcrest Country Club, Boise, Idaho - This week's event is one of the four original venues on the Nationwide Tour and is one of six events offering a purse of $725,000 or more with a first-place prize of $130,500.

J.J. Killeen and Mathew Goggin can both get to the PGA Tour with a victory this week. Anyone that wins three times in one season on the Nationwide Tour gets an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour and those gentlemen are two-time winners in 2011.

Last year, Hunter Haas picked up his second win of the season at the Boise Open. That got him to fourth on the Nationwide Tour money list and assured him a spot in the top 25 on the money list, which also gets you a PGA Tour card.

Including this week, there are only six events left until the Nationwide Tour Championship, so it's getting down to crunch time.

Golf Channel will show action from all four rounds.

Next week is the Soboda Golf Classic, which Steven Bowditch won last year.


U.S. MID-AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Shadow Hawk Golf Club and Houstonian Golf & Country Club, Richmond, Texas - Starting on Saturday, the USGA has one of its most historic championships.

The Shadow Hawk Golf Club and Houstonian Golf & Country Club will both host the stroke-play rounds of the championship, then Shadow Hawk takes over for match play.

Last year, Nathan Smith successfully defended his title and won for the third time. He trounced Tim Hogarth, 7 & 5 at Atlantic Golf Club in New York. Smith also won in 2003.

U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - Bayville Golf Club, Virginia Beach, Virginia - Much like the male counterpart, the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur begins on Saturday and this year's defending champion is a three-time winner of the title.

Meghan Stasi defeated Carol Robertson, 2-up for her third title. She won in 2006 and 2007.