2017 The Northern Trust – Thursday, August 24th through Sunday, August 27th
The regular season in golf has finally ended so that means that the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs are set to begin. This is a four-tournament postseason in which the fields will be cut down week to week based off the Fed Ex Standings until the final week where 30 golfers compete and a champion will be crowned. The first leg of the playoffs takes us to Glen Oaks Club on Long Island for the Northern Trust Open. This used to be the Barclays for anyone wondering where that has gone, same tourney just new sponsor.
This week we have 125 golfers eligible to play and they are expecting 120 to be teeing it up so it will not be the full 150ish fields that we normally see.
Glen Oaks Club is a par 70 layout measuring around 7,350 yards, so depending on if the course is fast and firm or wet and soft we should see length play a key role. Hitting fairways is still going to be important as well as there are plenty of bunkers and trouble if you spray, so gaining strokes off the tee seems to be what we are looking for. Greens are Poa annua which is not the most common surface players come across, but as we mention all year, putting is the spot where variance plays the biggest role. No course history to go off, but it seems greens will be tough to hit, especially if its firm. Scrambling and strokes gained around the green will be important this week as players will have to get up and down early and often if they cannot hold the greens on some of these longer approach shots.
This is the top 125 players in the Fed Ex cup standings so we have all the biggest names in the sport who are PGA tour regulars. A handful of notable players have chosen not to play, but out of the big stars everyone seems to be ready to go. Hideki and Ricky actually lead the way salary wise, which is different from the DJ, Rory, Spieth start that we have seen almost the entire year. Overall field is as solid as almost any all year, just lacking on some of the Euro stars that are not regular PGA tour players.
Last week felt like a letdown spot coming off a major and with the playoffs one week away. The main source of drama was it being the last week to accumulate points and qualify to keep your card, so watching players on the bubble try and put together solid rounds is always entertaining. Somehow that angle really did not work out as a lot of guys right around 125 got cut (looking at you Summerhays). Add in Benny An deciding to play awful golf and it was not a successful week despite having a decent amount of Stenson and Ollie. Not the most memorable tourney, Stenson was the class of the field and played like it. Will be interesting to see if that sparks him for this playoff run going forward.
** As always keep an eye on weather and wind. If you are around Wednesday night 9 PM EST check out the deep dive show where we will update and break down the latest info we get as this article is written a few days before lock **
Ricky Fowler 11.3k DK/$17.8k FDraft – With the second highest price tag on Draftkings, Ricky is starting to get the respect he deserves after this super consistent year with 10 top 10’s. Checks all the boxes because he is playing great golf, but there are plenty of options to choose from up top.
Dustin Johnson $10.8k DK/$17.8k FDraft – Interesting spot for DJ, he is usually one of the top priced players, but this week he is 5th so we do get a slight buy low option. His year really changed after he fell down those stairs at Augusta, but he does seem closer to regaining his monster form and still is one of the best off the tee. Depending on how ownership looks this might be a spot that I invest heavily this week as I think DJ might go somewhat overlooked.
Jason Day $9.7k DK/$16.7k FDraft – Been all over Day the last few weeks with middling results. Both weeks (Firestone and then PGA) Day seemed like he was about to turn it on only to fizzle out and end up with a decent yet not top finish. If this course has somewhat generous fairways that will help Day, and if this becomes a scrambling fest he is one of the best on tour around the green.
Patrick Reed $8.6k DK, $15.3k FDraft – Reed finally showed the form we have been waiting for the entire year, with a furious rally Sunday at the PGA. Perfect timing if he hopes to make a run here at the playoffs, and although his price got a nice bump up it is still not outrageous. GPP only for sure as I still cannot fully trust Reed, but if he can regain that amazing short game we are used to seeing look for a big showing here at Glen Oaks. Ownership will determine how much Reed I use this week, hoping his W at the Barclays last year does not inflate his ownership too much.
Kevin Chappell $7.7k DK/$14.5k FDraft – Last few tournaments Chaps has been awesome T2G (tee-to-green), but not converting on the greens with some ugly putting performances. Mid-range price tag with Chappell’s skill set and recent form seems like an ideal target this week. He will need to improve on the greens, but he is historically not a god-awful putter so him just being average and letting his T2G game do the heavy lifting should not be a problem.
Tony Finau $7.3k DK/$14.3k FDraft – Going to be the chalk in this range, as his price is way lower than most expected. Has not missed a cut since the Players so the consistency is there, plus he is a bomber who can score. Ownership is really going to be up there, but it seems like Finau makes sense on almost all levels to return value at a reduced price tag.
Ryan Moore $7.1k DK/$13.5k FDraft – Great T2G last week, but could not putt which is not usually Ryan Moore’s style. Still, that is usually a positive sign and I expect him to get the putting in order sooner rather than later. He was hurt earlier in the year, but three straight top 30 finishes seem to show Moore’s finally healthy. Do not expect him to be popular, and as a salary relief safety valve you could do a lot worse this week than Moore.
Gary Woodland $7k DK/$14.2k FDraft – The fairways are apparently generous which is important because Woodland has a habit of spraying and getting himself in trouble off the tee. If he can keep it in play he has plenty of length and talent to pay off a cheap price tag like this. He should have won at the RBC a few weeks back, and seems primed for a run during these playoffs if he can keep the spraying in check.
Graham DeLaet $6.8k DK/$12.8k FDraft – This could end very poorly. If this turns out to be a scrambling fest you can shut your computer off early because DeLaet has no chance to compete. However, if he can get the irons going he is firmly in play at this sub 7k price tag. Look no further than the PGA Championship where he showed how effective he can be when he does not have to scramble a ton. Still, he is clearly a GPP only option and carries a lot of risk.
Fades & Notes
Justin Thomas – Do not have any really strong fade takes this week, but JT is someone I will probably avoid for the most part. Nothing is a concern with his game right now and he showed what a beast he is at the PGA, but coming off that huge Win and priced around a lot of guys I am interested in (Day , Rahm , Casey) I do not have much room for JT this week and will be looking elsewhere.
Good luck everyone!
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