The first leg of the FedExCup playoffs begins this week in Boston. The top 125 players in the current FedExCup rankings will head to TPC Boston, a course last seen on the PGA TOUR at the 2018 Dell Technology Championships. The top 70 players in the rankings will then move onto next week’s event.
THE NORTHERN TRUST remains a tentpole playoff event for the PGA TOUR. The tournament used to go by a different name, but with only three playoff events in play now (down from four) this stop carries more significance than ever. TPC Boston will be its host this year—last year it was played in New York at Liberty National—and the 7,342-yard par 71 course is one of the more popular stops on the PGA TOUR.
The inland-links design features numerous short par 5’s and drivable par 4’s, which allow for a range of scoring. Faster Bentgrass greens are in play here, and overall, the course does allow for a lot of drivers to be hit off the tee, which does play into the hands of bigger hitters. The past three winners here were Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy, and given that it’s the playoffs, we should likely be expecting a high-end winner once again.
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Regardless of how you’re approaching things, I’ve written up my thoughts on this week’s DraftKings Sportsbook pool and have tried to give you decisive picks and strategies to employ at each level. Hope you enjoy.
Who will have the best finishing position? Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas or Rory McIlroy
There’s been a clear gap in performance between Justin Thomas/Bryson and Rory McIlroy of late. The Northern Irishman hasn’t finished inside the top-10 at an event since before the hiatus while both DeChambeau and Thomas have collected wins and been in contention at multiple events. It is interesting to note that this group includes the past three winners at TPC Boston and McIlroy has collected two wins over his career at this venue. Perhaps this is the week he finally gets his groove back.
Choice: Bryson DeChambeau
· Rory might be picked by fewer people, but Bryson has collected top-10’s in all but two of his last 10 starts on the PGA TOUR. He’s coming off the best major finish of his career and should be brimming with confidence.
Who will have the best finishing position? Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson
All three of these players had solid PGA Championship finishes. Dustin will certainly be agonizing over another lost opportunity to grab himself another major but has a chance for a quick bounce back at TPC Boston, where he’s landed top-10 finishes in two of his last four starts. Rahm and Xander both had solid weeks at TPC Harding Park and Xander hasn’t finished outside the top-20 now in four straight starts. Rahm is the current number one player in the world but will need a solid week to maintain that title here.
Choice: Jon Rahm
· If not for an atypically bad week on the greens at TPC Harding Park he likely would have been in the mix there. He’s the number one player in the world for a reason, so why not just take him.
Who will have the best finishing position? Collin Morikawa, Jason Day, Patrick Reed
This group features three players with form that ranges from very good to scintillating. Collin Morikawa has now won twice against the world’s best in his last four starts. His PGA Championship win showcased his improving all-around game as he led the field there in strokes gained putting. Day was in contention at the PGA Championship where he ultimately finished T4. A couple missed putts late was the difference for him but he’s now finished T7 or better in four straight starts. Reed’s been good of late too and has posted top-10 finishes at TPC Boston in three of his last four visits.
Choice: Jason Day
· Day was beaten by an insanely good putting performance by Morikawa at the PGA Championship. His ball-striking is better than we’ve seen in years though and his time to grab a win feels near.
Who will have the best finishing position? Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, or Patrick Cantlay
Daniel Berger is coming off a great stretch which include top-15 finishes in seven of his last eight starts. He also won at Colonial earlier in the season which features Bentgrass greens that should play similar to the ones this week. Webb Simpson is a former winner of this event and is coming off yet another solid performance at the Wyndham Championship. Cantlay’s been consistent all season although his results of late have suggested he’s having issues putting it all together. He’s lost strokes around the greens in three straight events and has been more inconsistent than usual on his approaches of late.
Choice: Patrick Cantlay
· I’m not sure if any of these players contend (although they all could) but I do like the chances here for a turnaround for Cantlay. He’s too talented to keep posting T30 finishes and has posted top-25 finishes at this venue in his last two visits.
Who will have the best finishing position? Paul Casey, Tony Finau, or
Editor’s Note: Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from this week’s tournament at TPC Boston.
Casey had a phenomenal PGA Championship, landing a T2 finish there. The Englishman has been slow to get into form since the restart but his Tee to Green game has been solid. His around the green game and putting has come into form of late so perhaps another big week is in the cards for him here. Finau has looked great since changing caddies a few weeks ago and he looks more confident than ever on the course. He posted a T4 at the PGA Championship and was only held back from an even better posting by a couple unlucky breaks late in the tourney. Koepka bombed out in the final round at the PGA Championship, losing to Casey on Sunday by eight strokes, and may be looking towards next season already.
Choice: Paul Casey
· This one is between Finau and Casey for me. I like the chance for both to pick up wins this week but will lean Casey who is overdue for a playoff win given his record in these events the past couple seasons.
Who will have the best finishing position? Hideki Matsuyama, Tiger Woods, or Matthew Fitzpatrick
Woods will be playing for the second time in two weeks as he tries to make a run for a second Tour Championship title in three years. Tiger’s iron play at the PGA Championship allowed him to survive the weekend where he grinded out a T37 finish. He’ll need his putter to start firing this week as its held him back at his last two starts. Matsuyama played well at the PGA Championship for spurts and has been solid at TPC Boston, finishing T4 here in 2018. He could be a sneaky play this week in DFS. Fitzpatrick feels like an all or nothing play and has been relying on an incredibly hot putter to carry him of late.
Choice: Hideki Matusyama
· Both Tiger and Hideki feel like they could make moves this week if they perform better on the greens. Hideki showed more life with the putter at the PGA Championship so I’ll lean him.
Who will have the best finishing position? Tyrrell Hatton, Abraham Ancer, or Tommy Fleetwood
Ancer has been amazingly consistent in 2020, making the cut in every event he’s started while also landing two solo runner-up finishes. Hatton has been more inconsistent, landing a win earlier at the Arnold Palmer event, while also landing two terrible results in his last two starts at the WGC Memphis (T69) and the PGA Championship (missed cut). Fleetwood looks like a fade here given how inconsistent he’s been with his ball-striking, a facet of his game that often carries him. He popped with a 64 at the PGA Championship but played terribly at the Wyndham last week, sliding to T59 on Sunday.
Choice: Abraham Ancer
· Its between Ancer and Hatton here for me. Hatton definitely has the ability for a big rebound here as his irons and putter have been great in spots but I’ll stick to the consistent Ancer who finished runner-up at this event last year.
Who will have the best finishing position? Billy Horschel, Viktor Hovland, or Scottie Scheffler
Horschel landed himself a runner-up finish last week at the Wyndham. The 2014 FedEx Cup champion has always seemed to play well this time of year and has finished T25 or better in four of his last five starts. Scheffler’s played amazingly well in his last two starts and should likely be the popular play here. He hung in till the bitter end at the PGA Championship where he landed a T4—his best ever finish in a major—and has showed improved touch around the greens of late. Hovland has looked fatigued in his last few starts but certainly has the talent to turn things around here. He ranks 10th in SG:APP on the season.
Choice: Scottie Scheffler
Scheffler’s shown way more confidence in his last two starts on and around the greens. His off the tee game remains one of the best so he could easily put up some low scores at TPC Boston and feels like the play from this group.
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Who will have the best finishing position? Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, or Justin Rose
Scott will be playing in just his second event since the restart this week. The Aussie placed a solid T22 at the PGA Championship, although his ball-striking wasn’t as consistent as we’d normally expect from him there. Rose has been a roller coaster of late, landing a T9 finish at the PGA, where he drastically outplayed each of his group-mates, but then put in a horrid effort last week at the Wyndham where he shot 73 in round one and missed the cut. Rounding out this hard to figure group is Fowler, who won at TPC Boston 2015 and played himself into the final group at the WGC event three weeks ago.
Choice: Rickie Fowler
· This is group has plenty of possible outcomes but I like taking a shot with Rickie. He’s shown glimpses of great play in 2020, as he incorporates swing changes, and has great course history at TPC Boston.
Who will have the best finishing position? SungJae Im, Matthew Wolff, or Gary Woodland
Matthew Wolff wowed everyone with a great final round at the PGA Championship where he landed a T4 finish and gained an incredible +14.7 strokes Tee to Green for the week. There’s little doubting Wolff’s upside at this point, although his around the green and putting performances, week-to-week, remain a roller coaster. Woodland has really cooled off of late after a couple nice starts after the hiatus while Im finally showed some signs of life last week, placing T9 and gaining strokes in all the major statistical categories.
Choice: Matthew Wolff
· Wolff is up against two quality players here but its really hard to pick against him at this point. He’s played much more consistently of late, landing inside the top-25 in four of his last six starts.
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