Preview: FedExCup Playoff Event No. 1 THE NORTHERN TRUST

Big money on the table this week and the next three as the FedExCup Playoffs start the run to East Lake.

FedExCup Playoffs

Event No. 1


Liberty National Golf Club

Jersey City, New Jersey

Yards (per official scorecard):7,410
Par:71 (36-35)
Greens:A4 Bentgrass; 4,653 square feet.
Stimpmeter:Tournament speed.
Rough:First cut: 1.25 inches. Secondary cut: 3 inches. All Bluegrass.
Bunkers/Water98/13 (water in play on 12 holes).
Architects:Bob Cupp & Tom Kite (2006).
Purse:$9.5 million and $1.710 million (winner); 2,000 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion (event):Bryson DeChambeau.
Defending Champion (course):Patrick Reed, 16-under 268.
Fact of the Week:Top 70 in points advance next week to Caves Valley outside Baltimore.
Fact of the Week II:No player has ever defended a FedExCup Playoff event.


  • 125 players eligible
  • 124 players entered (Louis Oosthuizen, WD)
  • First of three Playoff events

2020-21 Winners

** – first time winner on TOUR

Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz**
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland**
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen**
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth
85th Masters TournamentHideki Matsuyama
RBC HeritageStewart Cink (2)
Zurich Classic of New OrleansCameron Smith/Marc Leishman
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns**
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRory McIlroy
AT&T Byron NelsonKH Lee**
103rd PGA ChampionshipPhil Mickelson
Charles Schwab ChallengeJason Kokrak (2)
Memorial TournamentPatrick Cantlay (2)
Palmetto Championship (Congaree)Garrick Higgo**
121st US OpenJon Rahm
Travelers ChampionshipHarris English (2)
Rocket Mortgage ClassicCam Davis**
John Deere ClassicLucas Glover
149th Open ChampionshipCollin Morikawa (2)
Barbasol ChampionshipSeamus Power**
3M OpenCameron Champ
2020 Tokyo OlympicsXander Schauffele
Barracuda ChampionshipErik van Rooyen
WGC- FedEx St Jude InvitationalAbraham Ancer
Wyndham ChampionshipKevin Kisner

FedExCup Playoff Winners at Liberty National

2019Patrick Reed, -16Wins the event for the second time; becomes 13th multiple FEC Playoff event winner.
2013Adam Scott, -11Came from six shots back to claim victory.
2009Heath Slocum, -9Entered the week at No. 124 (out of 125) and sank a 21-foot par putt on the final hole to win by one.

Facts and Figures:

Course Record:62; Troy Merritt, 2019, Round 1. Kevin Chappell, 2013, Round 3.
Tournament Record:268 (-16); Patrick Reed, 2019
Recent Defending Champion(s):N/A.
Multiple Winners – EventDustin Johnson (3) Patrick Reed (2)
Multiple Winners – CourseN/A.
First Time TOUR:Camilo Villegas, 2008 BMW Championship.
First Time EVENT:None outside debut event.
Odd Fact:No player has defended an event title or repeated as FedExCup champion.
Odd Fact II:Rory McIlroy is the only multiple FedExCup Playoff champion in this year’s event.

Quick Thoughts

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO Liberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrteee

That’s for my Dead friends.

Playoff time on TOUR and plenty of gold coins and status to play for over the next three weeks.

Top 30 at East Lake get into Augusta and just about everything else so that bubble is on watch.

So is the top 70 because that’s what it takes to get to next week.

Liberty National has gotten easier each time the best have showed up but that’s not surprising. 2019 played almost a stroke easier than 2013 and was under par for the week. Sure the field is great but it is every year with the top 125 in attendance.

Big names at the biggest times of year and this qualifies.

With just 23 acres of fairway, ball-strikers should factor this week. Greens less than 5,000 square feet will reward accurate iron play. Getting up and down and staying out of the water will allow guys to hang around.

Patrick Reed, not known for his ball-striking prowess, only made one bogey thru his first 54 holes in 2019 so there’s more than one way (and there should be) to get it around here.

Good luck!

Let’s recap last week first:

Last Week – Wyndham Championship

Thoughts on the Chalk:

Webb Simpson (+1200): Same number as Koepka at Memphis last week in a WGC field! Top 10s for fun, podiums for funner and his first win suggest this is the Disney World of TOUR life for Simpson. Only six people have beaten him the last four years on this track. Nobody knows this place better. T7 as he missed the playoff by a shot. Recorded his first triple at the event and almost made the playoff!

Hideki Matsuyama (+1400): T3 and T11 here and this week will all depend on how many feet of putts he holes. Still think he’s smarting from the Olympics, in a good way. I’d expect another big week. 69-69 to MC. Hardly time to panic but missing by one is brutal.

Louis Oosthuizen (+1600): I can’t tell you the last time he didn’t finish in the top 20. Checks notes, T26 Masters. Again, each way, Top 10 and Top 20. Pre tourney WD Wednesday night.

Jason Kokrak (+2500): Big gap to the next tier. Used to live in CLT and has played well here before. Lovely balance of power and putting should be handy this week. Last victory was a Par-70, Colonial, and his last top 10 as well. The whiff. 70-74 MC.

Sungjae Im (+2500): Of his eight rounds here, four are 65 or better and his stroke average is 66.00. His last top 10 was at another Ross design in Detroit. CLUES! With T4 and T6 previously, I gotta take a shot. T24 and didn’t even crack the top five for Koreans in the field!

Brian Harman (+2500): He’s hit the top 25 in 10 of his last 15. Solid if not spectacular. Another MC

Will Zalatoris (+2800): Win and get in. Seems to fire on tougher tracks than easier tracks but he’s Wake Forest so that won’t hurt. Didn’t help either, T29.

Absolutely brutal week for the chalk!

Thoughts on Next Wave – 33 to 1 or worse

Russell Henley (+3300): Three straight T19 or better before MC at The Open. Loves Bermuda. Tried to go wire to wire until he three jacked the 72nd hole to miss the playoff by a shot. T7

Kevin Na (+4500): Plays here every now and again. 63 or better on his last three visits, all Top 20s. Add another one as he was one of SIX in the playoff.

Si Woo Kim (+4500): 5 events, 3 top fives (2016 winner) and 2 MC. Sounds about right. Add another one as he was one of SIX in the playoff.

Gary Woodland (+4500): Backed up his T11 at 3M with T7 last week at Barracuda. Yes, please. They all weren’t gonna hit the top 10 haha.

Seamus Power (+5000): Same odds as Fowler and Adam Scott. It’s not close who is in the best form. Adam Scott would like a word. T60.

Charl Schwartzel (+5500): T2 at 3m makes it 7 of 9 in the top 25.  Beat four players this week. MC.

Hank Lebioda (+6600): When we last left our hero he just chipped in for eagle to make the cut at 3M. He learned after the round his father was gravely ill and WD. First event back after three straight top 10s. Rest should help. Did a “Matsuyama”, 69-69 MC.

CT Pan (+9000): Bronze medal winner almost ran down Snedeker here in 2018. Four more rounds in the 60s here but not enough low ones, T29.

Ryan Armour (+9000): Was my OAD for Barracuda LAST week so I’ll show him. Narrator: He showed YOU. MC

Adam Schenk (+10000): Two top 10s in his last four on TOUR and was in the fight last week. Hook swallowed. MC.

Patrick Rodgers (+10000): This is a recording. 8 straight. Top 20 look. 71-67 MC. Can’t have rounds in the 70s here. 8 of 9.

Funny Money

Brice Garnett (+12500) – T51

Roger Sloan (+12500) – P2

Mark Hubbard (+12500) – T51

Martin Laird (+15000) – MC

Scott Piercy (+16000) – T15

Matthew NeSmith (+22500) – MC

Tom Hoge (+25000) – MC

Chris Baker (+40000) – T70

This Week – FedExCup Playoffs Event No. 1


Read more in Horses for Courses

Thoughts on the Chalk:

Jon Rahm (+1000): We must protect this house! Coming back from Covid hasn’t bothered him before so I’m not sure why it would this time! Missed the Olympics but was T3 here in 2019.

Jordan Spieth (+1600): Perfect bentgrass greens will suit just fine. Haven’t been many stumbles recently and I don’t expect any this week.

Dustin Johnson (+1800): Not many can flip the switch but he’s never been classified as normal. He’s won the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs three times. Enters on T10-MC-T8.

Collin Morikawa (+1800): Added another pelt after his win at Royal St George’s. Already has a WGC win this year as well. Knows he’s already at East Lake so he might start slowly.

Rory McIlroy (+2200): Hit it great in Memphis so if that carries over, I can see it.

Xander Schauffele (+2200): No respect or the books know something we don’t? Gold medal attention should have subsided by now. Should also bring him more action. Weird number.

Brooks Koepka (+2500): Skipping the pro-am in Memphis was the first red flag that his knee isn’t perfect. T54 with a long Sunday in Memphis didn’t help. At this price, you always have to think long and hard, though…

Justin Thomas (+2500): Copy and paste from last time. I don’t see anything pointing this ship in the right direction. Not even a title defense in Memphis could spark him.

Bryson DeChambeau (+2500): After watching that back nine, I need a drink. Pass.

Thoughts on Next Wave – 30 to 1 or worse

Daniel Berger (+3300): Three T8 or better in his last four has my attention. The fact all three of those paydays were in majors or WGC should resonate.

Webb Simpson (+3300): T18 or better in three starts here and always enters hot after Wyndham. Top 20 minimum.

Scottie Scheffler (+3300): Quietly going about his business but his last three are T14 or better.

Abraham Ancer (+3300): I never ride guys the week following their first TOUR win. Ancer was second to Reed in 2019 so that should get converging trends POUNDIN’ INTO EACH OTHA. I hope he drank all the Flecha Azul. Pass.

Patrick Cantlay (+3300): Love him on bentgrass.

Harris English (+4000): Form is fire and that’s enough for me. Should be happy to fall right back under the radar and make another push this week.

Adam Scott (+4000): Converging trend heaven here as well. No interest in anything but winning at this stage.

Ian Poulter (+9000): Playing beautifully this summer and owns two top 10s here.

Funny Money

Kevin Streelman (+11000)

Jhonattan Vegas (+12500)

Keegan Bradley (+14000)

Gary Woodland (+15000)

Maverick McNealy (+17500)

Adam Hadwin (+22500)

Brandon Hagy (+35000)

Sam Ryder (+40000)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me


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