Dell Technologies Championship Preview

08-29-17

Only half of tracks used in the four FedExCup Playoff events do not rotate annually.

This is one of them.

After this week the top 70 advance in TWO WEEKS to Conway Farms outside Chicago.

Dell Technologies Championship

FedExCup Playoff Event II

TPC Boston

Norton, Mass.

 

Yards: 7,342 per the official scorecard;

Par: 71 (36-35);

Course Architect(s): Arnold Palmer Design (2001); redesign Gil Hanse (2006-ongoing);

Greens: Bentgrass with Poa annua running at 11.5′; 6,100 sq. ft. on average.

Rough: Poa annua, Bluegrass at four inches and up.

Bunkers: Around 60.

Water Hazards: 7 ponds, 3 irrigation lakes.

Purse: $8.75 million; $1.575 million (winner) plus 2,000 FEC points.

Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy came from six shots off the pace to win his third FEC Playoff event of his career. He defeated 54-hole leader Paul Casey by two shots.

Notes: 96 players; 72-holes, stroke-play; top 70 and ties play the weekend.

Notes II: The FEC Playoffs are for the top 125 players after the conclusion of the regular season. There are no alternates for the Playoffs or individual events. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Notes III: Only the top 70 in the FEC Playoff standings after the conclusion of play on MONDAY (Labor Day) will advance to the BMW Championship on September 14th. Nobody loves a bye week more than fantasy writers! Since I’ll have the extra time, I’ll evaluate every player in the BMW field.

 

2016-17 PGA Tour Winners

Frys.com: Brendan Steele,

CIMB: Justin Thomas

WGC-HSBC: Hideki Matsuyama

Sanderson Farms: Cody Gribble**

Shriners: Rod Pampling

OHL Mayakoba: Pat Perez

RSM Classic: Mackenzie Hughes**

SBS TOC: Justin Thomas

Sony Open: Justin Thomas

CB Challenge: Hudson Swafford*

Farmers: Jon Rahm*

WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama

AT&T Pebble Beach: Jordan Spieth

Genesis Open: Dustin Johnson

Honda: Rickie Fowler

WGC-MC: Dustin Johnson

Valspar: Adam Hadwin*

Arnold Palmer: Marc Leishman

WGC-Match Play: Dustin Johnson

Shell Houston Open: Russell Henley

Masters: Sergio Garcia

RBC Heritage: Wesley Bryan**

Valero Texas Open: Kevin Chappell*

Zurich Classic: Cameron Smith* & Jonas Blixt

Wells Fargo Championship: Brian Harman

THE PLAYERS: Si Woo Kim

AT&T Byron Nelson: Billy Horschel

Colonial: Kevin Kisner

Memorial: Jason Dufner

FESJC: Daniel Berger

U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka

Travelers: Jordan Spieth

QLN: Kyle Stanley

Greenbrier: Xander Schauffele**

John Deere Classic: Bryson DeChambeau**

The Open Championship: Jordan Spieth

Barbasol: Grayson Murray

RBC Canadian: Jhonattan Vegas

WGC-BI: Hideki Matsuyama

Barracuda: Chris Stroud*

PGA Championship: Justin Thomas

Wyndham Championship: Henrik Stenson

FEC Playoff I: Dustin Johnson

*-First-time winner

**-First-time winner AND rookie winner

 

DTC Winners:

2016: Rory McIlroy, -15

2015: Rickie Fowler, -15

2014: Chris Kirk -15

2013: Henrik Stenson -22

2012: Rory McIlroy -20

2011: Webb Simpson -15*

2010: Charley Hoffman -22

2009: Steve Stricker -17

2008: Vijay Singh -22

2007: Phil Mickelson -16

* – playoff

 

Who’s not here:

No. 22: Henrik Stenson (knee tightness; needs a week off)

No. 68: Brandt Snedeker (injured)

No. 88: J.B. Holmes (undisclosed; eliminated)

No. 98: Scott Piercy (injured; eliminated)

 

The Particulars:

TPC Boston, originally an Arnold Palmer design, opened for play on Tour for the 2003 season. After a Gil Hanse redesign which began in 2006 and is ongoing to this day, the former Deutsche Bank Championship found a permanent home in the FEC Playoffs rotation as the second event.

Hanse has been evolving this course from a Florida-style layout to rustic New England track. His signature boulders and chocolate drop mounds lining fairways plus wispy fescue grasses and rugged bunkers surrounding greens have turned this former shootout into a more demanding set-up.

After back-to-back 20-under or lower winners, the last three seasons have seen 15-under as the winning score as Hanse continues to nip and tuck this place into order. The evidence that this course is getting tougher is obvious.

Double Digit Rounds Under Par:

2013: 34

2014: 8

2015: 3

2016: 7

Hanse at first shortened the course but that trend ended quickly as scores continued to plummet. He stretched it out to 7,242 in 2015 and added a new tee box at No. 4 in 2016 that saw it tip at 7,297. This year holes Nos. 12 and 13 have gotten facelifts to complete the total transformation from Palmer to Hanse.

The trees between the fairways that separated the holes are now gone and No. 12 no longer has wetlands guarding the front or the massive fairway runoff to the right. A new tee box takes the runoff out of play to the right and a new green has been built where the wetlands once sat. The hole now plays 515 according to the official scorecard.

On No. 13 there won’t be any trees left to worry about off the tee. Also, the green that was once wide and skinny is now long and skinny. Comparing last year’s scorecard shows the hole lost only four yards with its new tee sunken tee box. All of the other holes measure the same as 2016.

Adding an extra par five this week won’t hurt scoring but TPC Boston boasts a pair of par fours on the back that play 495 (No. 14) and 510 (No. 12) so the best will be tested.

The Hanse years are where I’m interested in course history so that’s a decade of numbers to crunch. DTC has played every tournament on this course each year of the FEC Playoffs.

This list of winners here suggests ball-striking will again be the order of the day. When played firm and fast, this track can present problems as more balls will find the rough. Last year McIlroy registered T-18 in GIR and T-41 in fairways but for once he made everything on the greens. He also made a triple and a double on the week but played his last 54 holes 19-under-par including that double.

Weather:

 Boston Weather

This will win you a bar bet I:

Only Billy Horschel and Jordan Spieth have MC at THE NORTHERN TRUST and gone one to win the FEC Playoffs.

This will win you a bar bet II:

Jordan Spieth is the only player to open the FEC Playoffs MC-MC and go on to win the $10 million.

This will win you a bar bet III:

Nobody besides Woods has won FEC Playoff title multiple times.

 

Fact and figures

  • This is the 11th consecutive playoff event at TPC Boston.
  • The FedExCup began in 2007 and nobody has ever been crowned champion twice besides Tiger Woods.
  • Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson each have four event wins, the most in FEC history.
  • In 10 Playoffs, there have been six, multiple winners in a year. The last five have had multiple Playoff event winners (McIlroy twice, Stenson, Horschel and Spieth).
  • Of those five multiple winners only three, Stenson, Horschel and McIlroy have been crowned FedExCup champion.
  • Of the nine title winners prior to this season, only Brandt Snedeker and Jordan Spieth have returned to East Lake to defend their titles. Bizarre. McIlroy started his defense from position No. 44 and is now No. 43 entering event No. 2.
  • The last five seasons have produced five different players entering the FEC Playoffs at No. 1. #Parity.
  • There has been a rookie appear at East Lake every year with the exception of 2014. Emiliano Grillo and reclassified rookie Si Woo Kim kept the trend alive last year.
  • Only three players who began outside the top 100 have made it to East Lake. Heath Slocum (No. 124) in 2009, Kevin Streelman (No. 102) in 2010 and Morgan Hoffman (No. 124) in 2014.
  • No player has even won here on their debut minus the first event in 2003.
  • The only player to make an FEC Playoff event their maiden Tour victory was Camilo Villegas at BMW.
  • Only Vijay Singh has won the first two playoff events. Dustin Johnson looks to join him this week.
  • No player has defended a FEC event as McIlroy looks to make history this week.
  • Only playoff here saw Webb Simpson beat Chez Reavie in 2011. Television executives were never happier…
  • Course record: 61; set by Singh and Mike Weir.
  • Tournament record: -22; set by Hoffman and Stenson.

 

Bubble Boys:

Only the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship next week at Conway Farms north of downtown Chicago.

No. 75: Patrick Rodgers has gone six straight rounds without a round under par after he finished second at the JDC.

No. 74: Graham DeLaet WD after one round at Glen Oaks and has battled a back issue for most of the summer. With 96 others to choose from, I’ll pass…

No. 73: Adam Scott will be found in the favorites section this week as this is a track where he makes mad cash. Remember, he was SKIPPING this event two weeks ago and now he’s playing. $$$.

No. 72: Bubba Watson motored up the board from No. 113 last week after his T-10 at Glen Oaks. TPC Boston isn’t as wide open off the tee and Watson’s record here includes just two top 25’s from 11 appearances so beware.

No. 71: Rod Pampling has one finish inside the top 45 (T-26) in 2017.

No. 70: Grayson Murray has followed his win in July with MC, T-22, MC and T-62. The trend says MC but I’m leaning on guys who have seen this track before anyhow. #Rookie.

No. 69: Kevin Tway hasn’t had a problem racking up weekends but since May he has only one top 25.

No. 68: Brandt Snedeker is taking a leave of absence to heal and will be eliminated after this week regardless.

No. 67: Bud Cauley blazed into form in April and May but only T-12 at JDC since has caught the eye.

No. 66: Anirban Lahiri has MC in six of his last 11 worldwide.

No. 65: Russell Knox is the course horse from this group and it’s not even close. Too bad his recent form doesn’t match!

 

The Field

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and tournament only. Rankings vary week-to-week based on event, course, life, etc.

Dustin Johnson: He claims he’s back to his pre-Masters fall best and it’s hard to argue after that performance last Sunday. He hit two bad drives all week and didn’t three putt. He only made three bogeys on the week on a course that wasn’t easy. Don’t forget he led the field in scrambling as well. He’s already rattled off consecutive wins this year so he won’t be setting any new milestones.

Jordan Spieth: This isn’t his favorite track but the burn from last week should have him dialed in to right the ship. With his second place finish last week he’ll have a chance to win the Playoff again so he can let it loose this week. He’s eighth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and first in scoring average.

Paul Casey: Ok, baby is due the week of The Tour Championship so be aware of that. We all know that “Nappy Factor” moves in mysterious ways but Casey’s last six months reaffirm this phenomenon. He MC at Sony in the first event of 2017 but has only one finish outside solo 26th since March. The Englishman led by two after 54 holes last year thanks to a troika of 66’s but fell to second after closing with 73.

Justin Thomas: “They” say winning a major changes your life, game, time management, etc. “I” say it doesn’t matter when you’re running around with the gang he is. His buddy won a major in 2015 and backed it up by winning the next one. After winning the PGA Championship Thomas returned two weeks later with T-6 at THE NORTHERN TRUST. The good news is there isn’t any time to do anything now put play golf. With the Player of the Year battle brewing with his good buddy Spieth, I doubt he’s taking any holes or days off. I’m on board, again.

Rickie Fowler: The 2015 champ hasn’t finished worse than T-22 since missing the cut in Memphis. Of those six starts four have been top 10’s and that’s hardly a surprise as he checks in second in SG: Total and scoring average.

Rory McIlroy: Absolutely no doubt that he brings the most cringe to gamers weekly and this week is not an exception. I’d love to be a casual player this week where I could just plug him in as a two-time champ and not care. Maybe that’s the dumbest-smartest thing to do as he’s simply not playing well but it’s obvious he plays well here. I’d remind you that his shite > most people’s really good. I’d also remind you that he’s not qualified for East Lake yet so he’ll need a result this week or at Conway Farms (T-59, 2013; T-4, 2015).

Jason Day: I’ve used this analogy before and it fits again this week. The engine is cranking, trying to turn over. Let’s give it one more shot. Oooooooooooh! Almost! With Dustin Johnson “back” nobody is going to remember he’s posted back-to-back top 10’s and absolutely rakes on this track (minus winning). He’s never missed in NOYNE tries and has 31 of 36 rounds at par or better. He hasn’t finished outside T-15 in the last four years. You get my drift.

Adam Scott: Look who’s back! After saying he’s for the Playoffs because of his new baby, Scott has returned to play. Maybe he needs sleep. Maybe he’s tired of hearing the cries. Maybe he can explain “Nappy Factor” to us while he’s at it. Is it BEFORE the baby is born? After? His last five starts worldwide would suggest AFTER! He won the first event ever on this course in 2003. He has six top 10’s in 11 events over the years and 35 of 43 rounds are par or better. He could have stayed home and he would haven’t had a choice next week as he sits No. 71. He wants to play. Let’s roll.

Matt Kuchar: He’s teed it here every year except 2006 so he’s familiar with every nook and cranny. Gamers crack on him because he never wins but if you had Kuchar and Casey in your team every week for the last two months you probably would have made more money than you lost. His worst finish since MDF at THE PLAYERS is T-32 and after that T-17.

Patrick Reed: He backed up his T-2 at the PGA with T-20 last week at Glen Oaks. Those glancing at the final leaderboard will forget he was five back and T-4 when Sunday’s round began. His 75 surely didn’t help matters but he was T-4 here in 2015 and T-5 last season.

Kevin Chappell: The 54-hole leader here last year after 67-64 went on to finish T-8 after T-12 in 2015. Chappell drives the stat jockeys crazy because his metrics frankly stink. The metrics that don’t stink are that he sits No. 17th in the FEC points and 26th in the OWGR so he must be doing something right! His current run of T-8, T-13, T-33 and T-6 last week backs up that statement.

Louis Oosthuizen: I’ll be a bit Mr. Obvious here but when he’s not hurt, he’s pushing to be in the discussion each week in Fantasy Land. He’s rattled off 15 of 16 on the year and has posted back-to-back top 10’s but maybe just as importantly, no WDs. He’s 34-under-par here in his three attempts and a third of his rounds are 66 or lower. I’d point out that 11 of his 12 rounds are par or better and that he should have won in 2012 but you already knew that.

Charley Hoffman: Almost $4 million in earnings without a win tells me all I need to know. It’s now 14 paychecks in a row with four top 20’s (two top 10’s) in the last five starts. He won here in 2010 when he closed with 62. He was the 36-hole leader in 2015 before 76 in the third round set him back. He finished third after closing with 67. One of my favorite quotes of the year was at WGC-BI when he told his caddy he’s sick of coming in second.

Webb Simpson: Ok, Webbers, I’ll bite! In six events since closing with 73 at Erin Hills, his worst final round score is 69. Of those six finishes, four have gone for T-14 or better including T-6 or better in the last three. He was T-8 in the Northeast on Bent/Poa at the Travelers. He was T-6 last week in the Northeast on Poa at Glen Oaks. He’s the 2011 champ as well.

Jon Rahm: I know he’s not a rookie but he’s a pup and he’s continuing to raise the bar. Like DJ he had a very quiet summer with nothing better than T-28 to show after T-2 at Colonial in May. After all of that he’s fourth in SG: Total and 11th in scoring average so dismiss his at your peril. He’s made 18 of 20 cuts on the season.

Hideki Matsuyama: Well, that escalated quickly. He entered No. 1 in the FEC points and MC at Glen Oaks on a course where driving it and hitting GIR was the answer. He pulled a similar trick last year where he MC at Bethpage Black and rebounded for T-15, his best finish in three tries. That being the case, it suggests that putting at TPC Boston will matter maybe more than thought this week. All McIlroy did last year was lead the field in driving distance and putting.

Keegan Bradley: Here’s another with a baby on the way so maybe it makes sense that he’s cashed eight in a row. His non-major run of form was flying until a final round 80 last week brought him back to life. He was six-under and in the top 10 before that outlier knocked a zero off the paycheck. After MC at TPC Boston he’s never MC in the last four years or finished outside the top 25. It’s the native Vermonter’s “open” in front of his folks (close enough) and he’s obviously embraced that.

Brian Harman: Another who’s having a career year, Harman has also had a sniff around TPC Boston. Last year he played in the final group with Paul Casey as he was alone in second three back. His 77 on Monday didn’t see him better his best of T-12 the previous year. If putting matters, I’m rolling with No. 4 on the Strokes Gained list.

Patrick Cantlay: He never plays but he’s made the FEC Playoffs and hasn’t MC in 10 tries this season. 10! I remember when he set the course record of 60 at TPC River Highlands as an amateur and I also remember that he led the field in GIR last week as he finished T-10. That was his third top 10 of the season and pushed him to No. 50 in the FEC points. Imagine when he decides to play full time!

 

Supporting Cast

Just missed and should make excellent support staff for deeper games/tickets.

Francesco Molinari: If he had played the course before and not MC in three of his last five, he’d be higher. Of those three MC’s, two were on courses he’s never seen before. He hits too many fairways (1st, SG: Approach, 3rd, SG: Tee-to-Green) and greens to completely ignore.

Tony Finau: 11 cuts in a row in the good direction. I’ll always take my chances on a guy who’s hot, mashes it and paints GIR. I just need 27 holes of decent putting throughout the week to contend! This is the third year in a row here so he should have a decent blueprint of how to get it around.

James Hahn: He always seems to blow white hot or ice cold and after T-10 and T-13 he followed MC, MC. It’s no different here as he’s MC and T-5 is his only two trips. His top 10’s the last three years are here, Riviera, CIMB twice, Greenbrier and Quail Hollow.

Chez Reavie: It’s nine in a row for the 2011 runner up to Webb Simpson. He gave it a run at the PGA before fading on Sunday. He gave it a run last week before even par 70 saw him drop to T-10. He’s top 30 in scoring, 31st in GIR and fifth in fairways.

Jhonattan Vegas: No-brainer this week as he’s on form of WIN, T-17, MC and T-3 last week.

Marc Leishman: Probably a little harsh dropping him down here after MC last week as he’s still in the top 10 in scoring and top 15 in SG: Total. He played the weekend in seven of his previous eight in Boston.

Kyle Stanley: He shot 66 to close last week at Glen Oaks that included a double to open and 30 on his inward nine. Yep, this is part of the risk-reward nature of Stanley. He was T-10 in his first trip here and MC in his last visit in 2013. Again, when I’m in doubt I’m going to lean on guys who more fairways (13th) and GIR (first).

Zach Johnson: He busted a very good T-5, T-14 and solo second run with T-48 at the final major plus 72-71 (MC) at Glen Oaks last week. This will be his 12th event at TPC Boston and he’s made 10 of the last 11 cuts.

Kevin Kisner: “If they let us wear shorts, drink beer and listen to music, I’d win every week.” I prefer him on Bermuda but he’s making cuts for fun and contended on Bent at Memorial. He’s posted seven of eight rounds at par or better in two trips.

Justin Rose: He led the field in SG: Approach-the-Green last week as he finally flashed his class for T-10. I’ll point out that he’s finished inside the top 54 exactly once (T-16) in his last eight trips to the land of Clam Chowder. Gulp.

Jason Dufner: He never MC in eight tries and 28 of 32 rounds are par or better.

Russell Henley: The opposite of Kevin Chappell. Super stat man on paper but has only one big finish since his SHO/Masters combo.

Ian Poulter: He’s not going to three putt 100 times like he did last week. First time in eight starts last week outside T-35.

Charl Schwartzel: If it’s not Memorial, Valspar or Leopard Creek, don’t ask me. Of his five trips to TPC Boston he’s posted eight of 10 Friday-Saturday round under par. He’s posted just three of 10 in the final two rounds but by the math you can see he’s never MC. Hope he opens 64-65!

Range Jockeys

Long shots, no-names with names, trending, event jockeys and everyone else with a few warts.

Xander Schauffele: Since his win at Greenbrier he’s posted T-20 at The Open, T-13 at WGG-BI, MC at PGA Championship and T-17 at THE NORTHERN TRUST. Those are four big boy events and three big boy paychecks for the rookie.

Bill Haas: Nothing to write home about since T-5 at Erin Hills but he’s a big name with 10 of 11 weekends played at TPC Boston. I’m leaning here before I stretch for a greenhorn.

Camilo Villegas: He’ll need a big finish to jump into the top 70 in two weeks at Conway Farms. He’s never missed in 10 previous tries on TPC Boston so he should be encouraged.

Kevin Streelman: After shooting a million to MC last week, there will be plenty of leg room on the Streelman bus this week. He’s played the weekend the last four years here and seven of the last eight for your course horse jockeys.

Jason Kokrak: I brought him into the fold at the PGA Championship and he finished T-33. He followed with T-16 at Sedgefield and T-25 last week at Glen Oaks. He closed with 66 here last year and in 2014. I’m not ejecting just yet especially when he sits 79th and will need another solid result.

Ryan Moore: He took six weeks after the Memorial to rest his shoulder. After a slow return that saw him MC X 2 he’s rattled off four in a row with the best being T-13 at Quail Hollow. His entire career here has been all-or-nothing (four top 12’s, four T-67 or worse) so he’s worth a gamble for some of you.

Robert Streb: He’s posted three top 25’s including a pair of top 10’s in his last eight starts on Tour. Sitting at No. 51 after his T-10 last week, he’ll free roll this week. He’s posted half of his eight rounds in the 60’s here with T-39 and T-9 to show for the effort.

Gary Woodland: He’s never missed in five tries and the last two seasons have been T-12 and T-15 last year. His streak of eight weekends in a row was busted last week but I’m right back on board.

Harold Varner, III: He started the Playoffs at No. 123 after sneaking in at Wyndham with T-10. He backed that up with T-20 last week to get one more chance to have one more chance to have another chance. I’m taking the chance because he’ll get another par five this week and has no problems tee-to-green.

David Lingmerth: His last MC in THE USA was RBC Heritage, the week after the Masters. Guys making cuts have value in almost any non-OAD format.

Sean O’Hair: He’s cashed in his last five on Tour and he loves TPC Boston for the first three rounds. The last four MONDAYS he’s played here his best score is 72 so don’t be surprised if he leaks oil on Labor Day.

Scott Brown: MC followed by MDF followed by T-69 followed by T-33 followed by…stay tuned! #LearningCurving.

Luke List: T-34 or better in three of his last four and he has the power to sneak in the top 25 this week. I’d point out he sits T-13 in SG: Tee-to-Green as well.

 

Fades:

Not this week

Sergio Garcia: Won his first major. Got married. Skipped this event in both 2014 and 2015. Skipped the NTO the this year and last. His GAF meter is off and there’s no Ryder Cup to prepare for so I’m done too.

Bubba Watson: See above.

Lucas Glover: Toughed it out on Sunday for 71 after twisting his knee swinging on Saturday. One slip could mean WD so I’m not taking the chance with a field this deep.

Brooks Koepka: I ignored his ball-striking numbers last week but won’t be making that mistake twice in a row.

Kevin Na: This will be his 10th event here but his only one inside the top 30 was in 2009 (T-11).

Martin Laird: Only two rounds in the red his last five trips to TPC Boston from 12 rounds. He’s MC in four straight here.

 

Next:

Wednesday I’ll present my gaming angles for the week so keep your eyes peeled at @MikeGlasscott and mikeglasscott.com for more information.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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