Preview: 2020 THE NORTHERN TRUST

123 begin the road to East Lake.

Only 70 will be around next week in Chicago.

Only 30 will have a chance for the BIG PRIZE.

FedExCup Playoff Event No. 1

THE NORTHERN TRUST

TPC Boston

Norton, MA

Yards: (per official scorecard):7,308
Par:71; (36-35)
Greens:Penn A4 Bentgrass; 5,200 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter:Pushing 13′.
Rough:Bentgrass/Fine Fescue at 3.5″.
Bunkers/Water Hazards62/5 (2 holes in play).
Architect(s):Arnold Palmer (2002); Gil Hanse (2007-present day).
Purse:$9.5; $1.71 million and 1500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion (course):Bryson DeChambeau (-16).
Fact of the Week:First time ever hosting THE NORTHERN TRUST.
Fact of the Week II:124 players in the field as Vaughn Taylor WD and will NOT be replaced.

2019-2020 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
  
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier*- Joaquin Niemann
Sanderson Farms Championship*- Sebastian Munoz
Safeway OpenCameron Champ
Shriners Hospitals for Children OpenKevin Na
Houston Open*-Lanto Griffin
CJ CUP AT NINE BRIDGESJustin Thomas
ZOZO ChampionshipTiger Woods
WGC-HSBC ChampionsRory McIlroy
Bermuda ChampionshipBrendon Todd
Mayakoba Golf ClassicBrendon Todd (2)
The RSM Classic*-Tyler Duncan
Hero World ChallengeHenrik Stenson
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsJustin Thomas (2)
Sony OpenCameron Smith
The American ExpressAndrew Landry
Farmers Insurance OpenMarc Leishman
Waste Management Phoenix OpenWebb Simpson
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmNick Taylor
The Genesis InvitationalAdam Scott
WGC-Mexico ChampionshipPatrick Reed
The Honda Classic*-Sungjae Im
Arnold Palmer InvitationalTyrrell Hatton
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipAbandoned due to COVID-19, no winner
Charles Schwab ChallengeDaniel Berger
RBC HeritageWebb Simpson (2)
Travelers ChampionshipDustin Johnson
Rocket Mortgage ClassicBryson DeChambeau
Workday Charity OpenCollin Morikawa
MemorialJon Rahm
3M OpenMichael Thompson
WGC-FESJ InvitationalJustin Thomas (3)
102nd PGA ChampionshipCollin Morikawa (2)
Wyndham ChampionshipJim Herman

Horses for Courses publishes at PGATOUR.COM Tuesdays. It’s a look who has played well here recently so I suggest reading it as I won’t replicate all of the information here.

Recent Winners

YearPlayerNotes
2019No event;Rotation began as the FedExCup Playoffs dropped from four events to three.
   
2018Bryson DeChambeau, -16Closed 63-67 to come from behind and win over Justin Rose by two.
   
2017Justin Thomas, -17Survived the remnants of Hurricane Harvey to play his final three rounds 17-under and win by three.
   
2016Rory McIlroyClosing 65 made up a six-shot deficit to defeat 54-hole leader Paul Casey by two.
   
2015Rickie FowlerKnocked off 54-hole leader Henrik Stenson by a shot in the final group.

Facts and Figures:

First year the tournament will not be played around Labor Day weekend. TOUR event since 2003 and was played every year in some form or fashion before 2019.

Tournament Record:262; Stenson (2013), Charley Hoffman (2010) and Vijay Singh (2008).
Course Record:61; Mike Weir (2008), Vijay Singh (2006).
Defending Champions (last):No FedExCup has ever been defended.
Defending Champions (event):Nope.
Multiple Winners Entered (course):McIlroy (2016, 2012).
First-time – TOURNope.
First-time Entered (non-inaugural)Phil Mickelson (2007).
Odd Fact:Only Camilo Villegas has made a FedExCup Playoff event his first TOUR win.
Odd Fact II:Villegas followed the next week by winning his second (BMW, TOUR Championship).
Odd Fact III:25 of the top 25 OWGR are in the field this week.

Marching to Atlanta

Time to go!

The three event sojourn begins in Boston for the first time as TNT rotates into TPC Boston to open up the FedExCup Playoffs.

The formula, as it is annually, is pretty simple: Survive and Advance.

Those in the top 50 essentially get a free roll this week. Any big finish will push them closer to the top 30 who will qualify for East Lake and that’s when the big bucks will be secured.

TPC Boston is a known quantity as it has hosted a TOUR event since 2003. Gil Hanse has meticulously reshaped and reformed the original Arnold Palmer design both aesthetically and functionally to present a test worthy enough of post-season play.

The mystery isn’t a tough one to crack as 15-under and change is the average winning. Making Par-Breakers are essential if four-under per round on average is what it takes to contend. There a bit of room to swing it and it’s essentially a second-shot course. Bentgrass greens don’t provide the enormous targets we saw at TPC Harding Park or Sedgefield so premium iron players should flourish. After two weeks of soggy greens let’s hope the dry summer conditions result in greens that can get slick this week. Pure Bent greens should encourage putts to drop as long as they’re on line.

Rob Bolton tells me the Par-5 holes aren’t easy this week so leaning on those who can attack them should help separate the field. Find GIR, hole ’em when you get a chance and minimize squares on the card and Bob’s yer uncle.

New gamers will need to remember that this has been a no-cut event since 2007 so don’t fall in love with starts/cuts made this week!

Chalk

Bryson DeChambeau: Too big and too strong and is in the top 10 in putting. Co-led the field in Par-Breakers in his win in 2018.

Justin Thomas: Caddy situation is solved with Bones on the bag for the remainder of the season should settle him down. Mickelson T12 and T6 with a 63 in his last two so Bones isn’t learning on the fly haha.

Dustin Johnson: Painstakingly close again at another major suggests he’s dialed in. Last time in this part of the country he won at TPC River Highlands. T7-T18-T8 in his last three visits.

Jason Day: Hard to ignore a guy with eight top 25s here and top 10s in his last four on TOUR.

Daniel Berger: Worst finish when he’s made the cut (all but one) since TPC Scottsdale is T13 at the PGA Championship.

Collin Morikawa: Showed no signs of weakness at a major to say the least so I’d expect another ball-striking clinic again this week.

Patrick Reed: Rattled off three straight inside the top six before T35 in 2018. In form since the restart with T7 at Colonial, T10 Memorial, T13 PGA and T9 Wyndham. Super short game insurance policy.

Rory McIlroy: No top 10 since the restart but there’s no denying his record here. Played here every year this decade minus 2011 so nothing is being forced this week.

Jon Rahm: Won on Bent at Memorial and T12 at PGA stand out.

Xander Schauffele: T10 PGA, T6 TPC Southwind in his last two. Nothing worse than T20 in his last five.

Paul Casey: TPC Boston and East Lake are two of his recent favorites. Played flawlessly at TPC Harding Park for solo second. Monster tee-to-green.

Webb Simpson: My ONLY concern is Bent, which we all know he doesn’t prefer. T12 or better in four of his last six.

Tony Finau: T8 or better in three of his last four and could have won all three.

Stretching

Patrick Cantlay: Making the cut isn’t the issue but I hope three mundane results running on TOUR will sharpen his focus this week.

Tiger Woods: Back to ol’ reliable flat stick No. 1. Old guy fiddling around with a putter doesn’t inspire confidence but he made nothing at the PGA. He also didn’t hit many GIR with big targets to aim for.

Billy Horschel: It’s his time of year! Should have won here in 2014 (T2) but hasn’t done much sense. Should have won last week and left it one shot out of a playoff.

Abraham Ancer: Gave it a go in the first FedExCup Playoff event last year and led after 54 holes here in 2018.

Hideki Matsuyama: Course form pushes him over a few others. T4 in 2018 T3 in Par-Breakers. Needs to put four rounds together.

Si Woo Kim: Eight straight paydays and the last two are the best two with T3 at Wyndham and T13 at TPC Harding Park.

Matthew Fitzpatrick: Looking for his first win on this TOUR, top 10s at Memorial and Memphis before a dud at the PGA.

Harris English: Amazing run of T25 or better finishes is now eight of his last nine entered.

Alex Noren: T3 at 3M backed up by T9 at Barracuda and T22 at TPC Harding Park. More Bent, yes!

Scottie Scheffler: Fantastic T4-T15-T22 run suggests the water isn’t too deep.

Kevin Kisner: I know, I know, I know that he prefers Bent and it appears Donald Ross (3rd, T3). T3-T19-T25 the last three weeks puts him in play for me.

Tyrrell Hatton: T12 on debut in 2018 included 63 and a final round in the penultimate group. Might be a nice reminder after a dead period PGA-WGC.

Viktor Hovland: Just keeps making cuts, nine straight.

Adam Scott: 18 top 10s in 40 FedExCup Playoff starts plus fantastic course form. Big layoff still cashed T22 at PGA.

Matthew Wolff: Howling with T4 in his first major, T22 in Memphis and T12 3M. Nothing much seems to bother him.

Needing Something Special

Emiliano Grillo: Top 10s in two of the last three, both on Bent. Trending in a lovely direction here as well. Make a putt or two!

Sungjae Im: Was last week the awakening or the one-off? I’m leaning the former.

Ben An: 82 in the second round of Memorial knocked me off his trail. Played in the final group in Memphis (T12) and T22 at PGA.

Ryan Palmer: T15 in three of his last seven.

Phil Mickelson: Plays here annually and that’s half of the battle. When Phil’s not interested, neither am I.

Mark Hubbard: Rolling up checks cashed and last week was the best of the bunch, T15.

Cameron Champ: T10-T25 against two elite fields in San Francisco and Memphis. Let Morikawa get all the cameras.

Harold Varner III: Popped in the FedExCup Playoffs twice before and has given a sniff over the last few events.

Louis Oosthuizen: Every time I think he’s going places he doesn’t.

Doc Redman: T29 or better in five of his last seven. Top 22 Off the Tee and Approach. That travels.

Joel Dahmen: If I like T10-T25 for Champ, I’ll like T10-T20 for Dahmen.

Brice Garnett: T12 65-69 close in 2018. Loved him last week so he should come good haha.

Cameron Davis: Bigger ask against a bigger field but T32 or better in his last three on TOUR.

Russell Henley: T2 here in 2014 plus top 10s in two his last five. 3rd Approach.

Dylan Frittelli: T33 or better in his last four.

Let’s Get Silly:

Brendan Steele: Loves Bent, five straight, T6 TPC River Highlands.

Henrik Norlander: Top 15 fairways and greens.

Mackenzie Hughes: Hasn’t MC in six and has T3 at TPC River Highlands and T6 at Memorial.

Kevin Streelman: It’s Bent. I’m in.

Denny McCarthy: T9 last week is the best in a stretch of five weekends. Elite putter.

Tom Lewis: No. 123 knows that it’s top 5 or bust this week.

If Not Now, When?

Justin Rose: Class and course form will be tough for some to turn down. Desperate times call for desperate measures for those of you trailing.

Brooks Koepka: I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t inspired by his final round at TPC Harding Park. Is he hurt? Out of gas? Both?

Tommy Fleetwood: The ice will break at some point, right? He’s posted 65, 64 and 64 in his last three events (WGC, PGA, Wyndham) and hasn’t picked up a top 25.

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

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