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The Northern Trust Open: Preview & DFS Picks

Preview

The 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs are officially here! The top-125 in the standings head to the Big Apple (well sorta- Bayonne, NJ to be exact) this week for The Northern Trust Open. This is a TWSN favorite for several reasons- for one it’s in our home state this year, as next year it will move to Boston in a rescheduling effort from the PGA Tour that shortened the playoffs from 4 weeks to 3 (if you remember our interview with Phil Mickelson last year, you’ll know that this was a move many players supported). I personally love this event for the venue selection this year as well- Liberty National Golf Club. Back in 2013 when this even was called The Barclays, I came to Liberty National with my dad for my first ever PGA Tour event during the Sunday round. This was the year Tiger Woods made a dramatic run in what would wind up being a T2 finish the last time the PGA Tour hosted an event here at Liberty National. Most people remember that day for this shot that Tiger hit, hooking a fairway wood and falling to the ground in pain. BUT what people forget was he hooked an iron on another par-5 earlier that round and guess who it NEARLY hit- me! I stood right next to the world’s most popular golfer as he flopped his 3rd from the tall grass to 10 feet, where he eventually made birdie. That was a memory I’ll never forget. I also attended the Presidents Cup in 2017 during the Saturday matches- where Team USA nearly clinched the cup before the singles matches, a feat many thought was impossible.

Jake Rona and I got to tour the course and hear from a bunch of players today during the Wednesday pro-am and subsequent interviews. We will be back this weekend to cover the event LIVE on our Instagram and Twitter accounts, and we will be doing recap articles on the website as well. Check out our latest Instagram highlight to see where we were and who we saw at Liberty National.

The layout for this course is notably different from the 2017 Presidents Cup, as the 1st hole from 2017 with water along the left side is now hole #5. The par-71 (36/35) layout is listed at 7,370 yards and was designed by Robert E. Cupp and Tom Kite in 2006. Under the new playoff format, the top-125 players from the FedEx Cup Points List through the Wyndham Championship are eligible to compete this week. The top-70 from the FedEx Cup Points List will advance to the BMW Championship next week- and from there the top-30 will make it to East Lake for the Tour Championship. Many players have already been asked about the new Tour Championship format, which will eliminate the situation that occurred last year in Atlanta. Previously, there was a possibility that the winner of the actual event in East Lake would not win the OVERALL FedEx Cup Playoffs- and in 2018 that happened when Justin Rose won the Playoffs even though Tiger Woods famously won the 72-hole event. This year the person in 1st place entering East Lake will start at -10 and the remaining players will start behind them proportionally, with the bottom group starting as far as 10 shots behind the leader.

Bryson Dechambeau won the event last year at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ. He shot 266 (-18) which was 4 shots clear of Tony Finau and 5 shots ahead of T3 finishers Billy Horschel and Cameron Smith. This year’s purse is $9.25 million with $1.66 million going to the winner. Additionally, today Brooks Koepka was awarded a $1 million prize for winning the inaugural Aon Risk Reward Challenge- which scored players based on how they played some of the most difficult holes on Tour this season. The challenge is also being held on the LPGA Tour as well.

FedEx Cup Points List (Entering The Northern Trust Open)

RANK | PLAYER | POINTS | PREVIOUS RANKING (formatting via Yahoo! Sports)

1: Brooks Koepka, 18, 2,887, 1
2: Rory McIlroy, 16, 2,315, 2
3: Matt Kuchar, 19, 2,313, 3
4: Xander Schauffele, 18, 1,858, 4
5: Gary Woodland, 21, 1,795, 5
6: Patrick Cantlay, 18, 1,730, 6
7: Dustin Johnson, 16, 1,686, 7
8: Paul Casey, 20, 1,629, 8
9: Webb Simpson, 18, 1,619, 13
10: Jon Rahm, 17, 1,447, 9
11: Justin Rose, 14, 1,423, 10
12: Marc Leishman, 18, 1,415, 11
13: Rickie Fowler, 17, 1,391, 12
14: Chez Reavie, 25, 1,309, 14
15: Charles Howell III, 24, 1,279, 17
16: Tony Finau, 22, 1,279, 15
17: Justin Thomas, 17, 1,247, 16
18: Bryson DeChambeau, 18, 1,203, 18
19: Tommy Fleetwood, 15, 1,193, 19
20: Shane Lowry, 12, 1,137, 20
21: Adam Scott, 15, 1,124, 21
22: Kevin Kisner, 22, 1,098, 22
23: Sungjae Im, 32, 1,097, 25
24: Ryan Palmer, 19, 1,088, 23
25: Francesco Molinari, 13, 1,054, 24
26: Scott Piercy, 22, 1,025, 26
27: J.T. Poston, 27, 1,015, 83
28: Tiger Woods, 10, 1,003, 27
29: Sung Kang, 25, 986, 28
30: Hideki Matsuyama, 21, 969, 29
31: Corey Conners, 25, 962, 31
32: Lucas Glover, 23, 947, 30
33: Brandt Snedeker, 24, 934, 32
34: Phil Mickelson, 18, 903, 33
35: C.T. Pan, 23, 900, 34
36: Rory Sabbatini, 24, 895, 44
37: Keith Mitchell, 24, 884, 35
38: Andrew Putnam, 21, 873, 36
39: Jim Furyk, 19, 865, 37
40: Jason Day, 19, 865, 38
41: Kevin Tway, 24, 863, 39
42: Jason Kokrak, 21, 854, 45
43: Nate Lashley, 19, 836, 40
44: Billy Horschel, 24, 835, 47
45: Si Woo Kim, 26, 832, 53
46: Adam Hadwin, 22, 818, 41
47: J.B. Holmes, 23, 815, 42
48: Kevin Na, 18, 815, 43
49: Collin Morikawa, 7, 780, 46
50: Patrick Reed, 22, 774, 50
51: Louis Oosthuizen, 16, 754, 48
52: Max Homa, 23, 742, 49
53: Dylan Frittelli, 22, 735, 51
54: Graeme McDowell, 18, 729, 52
55: Adam Long, 25, 719, 54
56: Joel Dahmen, 27, 716, 55
57: Byeong Hun An, 20, 710, 82
58: Keegan Bradley, 23, 700, 56
59: Rafa Cabrera Bello, 18, 696, 57
60: Ian Poulter, 16, 690, 58
61: Ryan Moore, 20, 690, 59
62: Emiliano Grillo, 21, 673, 60
63: Vaughn Taylor, 25, 641, 63
64: Cameron Champ, 24, 639, 61
65: Sergio Garcia, 14, 637, 62
66: Danny Lee, 26, 625, 64
67: Abraham Ancer, 24, 622, 65
68: Kevin Streelman, 25, 609, 66
69: Jordan Spieth, 21, 605, 67
70: Matthew Wolff, 7, 602, 72
71: Bubba Watson, 18, 572, 68
72: Troy Merritt, 19, 569, 69
73: Charley Hoffman, 23, 567, 70
74: Joaquin Niemann, 26, 566, 84
75: Matt Every, 15, 561, 71
76: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 19, 558, 74
77: Tyrrell Hatton, 16, 555, 73
78: Brian Stuard, 28, 547, 80
79: Cameron Smith, 22, 547, 75
80: Jhonattan Vegas, 22, 538, 76
81: Russell Henley, 24, 534, 85
82: Chesson Hadley, 25, 532, 77
83: Michael Thompson, 21, 527, 78
84: Adam Schenk, 30, 524, 79
85: Henrik Stenson, 15, 523, 81
86: Brian Harman, 28, 509, 106
87: Luke List, 21, 497, 86
88: Branden Grace, 21, 495, 89
89: Sam Burns, 26, 493, 87
90: Wyndham Clark, 25, 491, 88
91: Roger Sloan, 26, 489, 91
92: Bud Cauley, 24, 482, 100
93: J.J. Spaun, 25, 479, 90
94: Chris Stroud, 25, 473, 92
95: Brice Garnett, 27, 466, 121
96: Mackenzie Hughes, 24, 466, 103
97: Talor Gooch, 16, 463, 93
98: Kyle Stanley, 24, 460, 115
99: Nick Watney, 25, 460, 94
100: Patrick Rodgers, 17, 459, 96
101: Cameron Tringale, 20, 459, 95
102: Harold Varner III, 24, 458, 97
103: Sam Ryder, 22, 458, 98
104: Kyoung-Hoon Lee, 29, 453, 99
105: Scott Stallings, 25, 452, 104
106: Russell Knox, 21, 452, 101
107: Denny McCarthy, 27, 443, 113
108: Ryan Armour, 27, 434, 117
109: Scott Brown, 26, 433, 105
110: Danny Willett, 18, 432, 102
111: Sepp Straka, 24, 432, 110
112: Aaron Baddeley, 17, 428, 107
113: Carlos Ortiz, 27, 428, 112
114: Peter Malnati, 25, 423, 108
115: Matt Jones, 26, 423, 109
116: Brian Gay, 27, 415, 111
117: Nick Taylor, 27, 408, 114
118: Patton Kizzire, 24, 406, 129
119: Martin Laird, 25, 401, 116
120: Aaron Wise, 20, 400, 120
121: Kelly Kraft, 30, 399, 118
122: Jonas Blixt, 25, 392, 119
123: Andrew Landry, 24, 388, 132
124: Sebastián Muñoz, 25, 383, 123
125: Pat Perez, 20, 376, 122

Power Rankings

5. Patrick Cantlay

Image result for patrick cantlay

Cantlay missed the cut for the 2017 US Presidents Cup team but has had success at this tournament in two previous starts. Last year he finished T8 and in 2017 tied for 10th, with an 8 round average of 68.63. Cantlay is quietly having himself a fantastic year- he currently sits 8th in the USA President Cup standings and finished in the top-10 of the FedEx Cup Points List this season. He has ascended to 10th in the Official World Golf Rankings and has 8 top-10 finishes in 18 total events played this year. He won the Memorial Tournament back in May after a Sunday 64, and since has made the cut in each of his last 4 events including a T12 finish at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational 10 days ago. Liberty National Golf Club tests players in every facet of their game, but particularly off the tee, greens in regulation, and one’s ability to score well on tough par-4s. Cantlay ranks 11th in SG: off the tee, 11th in SG: approaching the green, 2nd in SG: total and 2nd in par-4 scoring average. If he can learn this course quickly, expect another solid week from one of America’s rising stars.

4. Jon Rahm

Image result for jon rahm

Like Cantlay, Rahm has never played at Liberty National so it is difficult to assess how he sets up for the course. In his practice round today, he looked to be finding the fairway most of the time which can be a huge plus when finding holes to birdie. Rahm has made it to this event each of the past 2 years, finishing T3 in 2017 and missing the cut last year. As you’ll see in these rankings, the key stats this week are all about guys who can play phenomenally tee-to-green, as putting this week won’t be a factor like it might be at tougher layouts throughout the season. The Spaniard ranks 4th in SG: off the tee, 13th in SG: tee to green, and is 7th and 10th in birdie and scoring average, respectively. He ranks outside the top-100 in driving accuracy, which might be his achilles heel from making a run this week at a course that suits his style of play.

3. Dustin Johnson

Image result for dustin johnson

Of all the players in the field this week, DJ’s game sets up the best for this course. He can take advantage of holes with his ability to drive the ball far and take long irons off the tee when he needs to find the fairway. The softer summertime conditions mean he can attack pins with wedges, which was a little tougher when the Presidents Cup was here in October of 2017. Johnson was the star last time he played here, ranking as the #1 seed in points to make the team and then leading the team with 4.5 points with a record of 4-0-1. Only 2 of those 5 matches were taken past the 16th hole, and his sole tie was a singles match that had very little weight on Sunday. Stats wise DJ is putting up monster numbers once again- 2nd in SG: off the tee, 4th in SG: tee to green and 3rd total, and 7th in driving distance. Most importantly, he is 15th in par-4 scoring average. His main weakness this year has been closing out tournaments- he is outside the top-100 in final round scoring average, and that has shown at his recent performances in major tournaments.

2. Rory McIlroy

Image result for dustin johnson

Since his Friday round at the British Open, McIlroy just looks dialed in with his game. He is walking the course with a certain intensity and it looks like he can do damage this week at a course he hasn’t played officially since the 2013 Barclays (he finished T19). The craziest stat for McIlroy? In 16 starts this year on Tour he has TWELVE top-10 finishes! After posting a 79 in the first round at Portrush, he bounced back with a sizzling 65 that almost got him into the weekend. He then shot -11 for the week in Memphis including a Saturday 62 to finish T4 for the tournament. Now ranking 2nd in the FedEx Cup Points List his eyes are on the Tour Championship, and a high finish this week could propel him to be the favorite to win it all at East Lake. At his post pro-am press conference McIlroy told us that he has “the best stats on Tour” despite taking some flack for his poor wedge play this season. Wedges won’t be the focus this week, but driving the ball will be and that’s what he does best. He ranks 1st in SG: off the tee, tee to green, and overall. He is 3rd in driving distance and is 30th in greens in regulation. Look for McIlroy to rattle off some birdies early on in the week to give himself a chance on Sunday.

*FAVORITE* Brooks Koepka

Image result for dustin johnson

#1 in the world, #1 in the FedEx Cup, winner at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational 2 weeks ago, and top-5 at every major including a win at the PGA? Yeah, he’s our favorite this week. Brooks Koepka is coming in to New Jersey HOT and make no mistake about it, this tournament and this course set up to his strengths. He loves playing in the Northeast and the last time he was here, he hoisted the Wanamaker trophy across the river at Bethpage Black. Koepka was a rookie to Team USA when he made his debut at the Presidents Cup here at Liberty National in 2017, since then he has tacked on a few major victories and ascended 10 spots to rank as the best player in the world according to the Official World Golf Rankings. He’s had an up-and-down season, particularly when looking at his non-major performances, but his game in Memphis looked stellar and he comes into the playoffs with a ton of momentum ranking in the top-10 in SG: tee to green and SG: total. He also is 9th in greens in regulation and 6th in birdie average. The #1 player on par-4s this year should tear up Liberty National like he did 2 years ago as a member of Team USA.

Vegas Odds

  • Brooks Koepka: +600
  • Rory McIlroy: +1100
  • Dustin Johnson: +1600
  • Jon Rahm: +1600
  • Justin Rose: +2000
  • Justin Thomas: +2000
  • Patrick Cantlay: +2200
  • Rickie Fowler: +2200
  • Tommy Fleetwood: +2200
  • Webb Simpson: +2200
  • Tiger Woods: +2500
  • Xander Schauffele: +2800
  • Adam Scott: +4000
  • Bryson DeChambeau: +4000
  • Collin Morikawa: +4000
  • Francesco Molinari: +4000
  • Hideki Matsuyama: +4000
  • Jason Day: +4000
  • Jordan Spieth: +4000
  • Louis Oosthuizen: +4000
  • Matt Kuchar: +4000
  • Tony Finau: +4000
  • Patrick Reed: +5000
  • Billy Horschel: +6000
  • Marc Leishman: +6000
  • Byeong-hun An: +6600
  • Gary Woodland: +6600
  • Shane Lowry: +6600
  • Brandt Snedeker: +8000
  • Charles Howell III: +8000
  • Chez Reavie: +8000
  • Ian Poulter: +8000
  • J.T. Poston: +8000
  • Joaquin Niemann: +8000
  • Kevin Kisner: +8000
  • Matthew Wolff: +8000
  • Rory Sabbatini: +8000
  • Sergio Garcia: +8000
  • Sung-Jae Im: +8000
  • Tyrrell Hatton: +8000
  • Andrew Putnam: +8000
  • Brian Harman: +10000
  • Bubba Watson: +10000
  • Cameron Smith: +10000
  • Danny Willett: +10000
  • Jason Kokrak: +10000
  • Jim Furyk: +10000
  • Lucas Glover: +10000
  • Phil Mickelson: +10000
  • Ryan Moore: +10000
  • Scott Piercy: +10000
  • Si-woo Kim: +10000
  • Adam Hadwin: +12500
  • Bud Cauley: +12500
  • Dylan Frittelli: +12500
  • Emiliano Grillo: +12500
  • Keegan Bradley: +12500
  • Kevin Na: +12500
  • Kyle Stanley: +12500
  • Ryan Palmer: +12500
  • Aaron Wise: +15000
  • Abraham Ancer: +15000
  • Andrew Landry: +15000
  • Branden Grace: +15000
  • Brice Garnett: +15000
  • Denny McCarthy: +15000
  • Graeme Mcdowell: +15000
  • Kevin Streelman: +15000
  • Martin Laird: +15000
  • Nick Watney: +15000
  • Russell Henley: +15000
  • Russell Knox: +15000
  • Sepp Straka: +15000
  • Adam Schenk: +20000
  • Brian Stuard: +20000
  • Cameron Tringale: +20000
  • Charley Hoffman: +20000
  • Harold Varner: +20000
  • J.b. Holmes: +20000
  • J.J. Spaun: +20000
  • Jhonattan Vegas: +20000
  • Keith Mitchell: +20000
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat: +20000
  • Mackenzie Hughes: +20000
  • Nate Lashley: +20000
  • Nick Taylor: +20000
  • Ryan Armour: +20000
  • Sam Ryder: +20000
  • Sebastian Munoz: +20000
  • Vaughn Taylor: +20000
  • Aaron Baddeley: +25000
  • C.T. Pan: +25000
  • Chris Stroud: +25000
  • Corey Conners: +25000
  • Luke List: +25000
  • Matt Every: +25000
  • Matt Jones: +25000
  • Patton Kizzire: +25000
  • Peter Malnati: +25000
  • Roger Sloan: +25000
  • Troy Merritt: +25000
  • Wyndham Clark: +25000
  • Adam Long: +30000
  • Cameron Champ: +30000
  • Carlos Ortiz: +30000
  • Chesson Hadley: +30000
  • Danny Lee: +30000
  • Joel Dahmen: +30000
  • Jonas Blixt: +30000
  • Kelly Kraft: +30000
  • Kevin Tway: +30000
  • Kyoung-Hoon Lee: +30000
  • Max Homa: +30000
  • Michael Thompson: +30000
  • Pat Perez: +30000
  • Patrick Rodgers: +30000
  • Scott Brown: +30000
  • Scott Stallings: +30000
  • Sung-Hoon Kang: +30000
  • Talor Gooch: +30000
  • Brian Gay: +30000

Tournament Props

Brooks Koepka -106Rory McIlroy -106
Dustin Johnson -106Webb Simpson -106
Jon Rahm -110Justin Thomas +100
Patrick Cantlay -110Rickie Fowler +100
Tommy Fleetwood -134Francesco Molinari +125
Xander Schauffele -110Collin Morikawa +100
Jason Day -110Adam Scott +102
Hideki Matsuyama -106Bryson Dechambeau -106
Matt Kuchar -106Tony Finau -106
Billy Horschel -110Patrick Reed +100
Charles Howell III -110Jason Kokrak
Shane Lowry -110Tyrrell Hatton +100
Lucas Glover -110Brandt Snedeker +100
Scott Piercy -121Brian Harman +110
Marc Leishman -118Cameron Smith +110
Joaquin Niemann -118Matthew Wolff +110

DFS Picks

Tommy Fleetwood $9,800

Patrick Cantlay $9,200

Patrick Reed $8,100

Jordan Spieth $8,000

Sungjae Im $7,500

Scott Piercy $7,300

Remaining Salary -> $100

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