It’s now officially showtime.
PGA Tour players have battled through 46 official Tour events, COVID woes and millions and millions of travel miles to get down to this point: The FedEx Cup playoffs.
Now, the top 125 players in the race start the three-week run this week at The Northern Trust event at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ.
Players can now breathe a sigh of relief if they are teeing it up this week. But there’s always one player who has to be distraught and that’s the 126th ranked player in the standings. This year it is Justin Rose. A missed putt on the 72nd hole knocked Rose out of the playoff picture (although he still is exempt for next year’s Tour) and put Chesson Hadley into spot No. 125. The putt actually dropped Rose from No. 115 to No. 126. Pretty tough to take falling out of the playoffs by a single point.
Hedley carded a final-round eight-under-par 62 that included a hole-in-one and, with Rose’s missed putt, moved into the playoffs starting this week.
So Rose is off until the wraparound season kicks off in a month or so but for the 125 pros in the playoffs, it’s time to make another move. See, next week’s BMW Championship is Round 2 of the playoffs but just the top 70 after this week’s tournament will move on to tee it up there.
Bettors better keep that number in mind.
Odds To Win The Northern Trust From BetMGM
|Odds To Win The Northern Trust||BetMGM|
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The Top-Ranked Players Have The Edge
The guys in the top 30 heading into the playoffs have nothing to worry about. They will definitely move on to the second week.
And, for the most part, those in 31-60 slots should be safe…if they play decently (yes, there’s still a cut to the top 60 scores and ties moving on to the weekend.)
But if you’re outside that top 60, it’s time to look early and often at the scoreboards around the course. If guys below you start getting hot, better turn up your game.
If you’re not in the top 70 after this week’s event, your season has come to a screeching halt.
Let’s Look Down The List For A Winner
While the top-ranked players certainly have nothing to lose, it’s the guys down the list who may feel the most pressure.
Collin Morikawa, ranked No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points race and +1800 this week, has a clear path to the finals in two weeks at the Tour Championship. So the question is: How motivated will he be to win this week? It’s the same question we have for many of those top-ranked players like Jordan Spieth, at No. 2, Patrick Cantlay, at No. 3, and so on down the line.
But there’s one guy who has plenty of desire even though he’s a lock to make the finals. That would be Xander Schauffele at +2000 this week. He’s one of two players in the top 18 in the FedEx Cup rankings this week without a win. Louis Oosthuizen is No. 8 and doesn’t have a win but he’s skipping this week.
Not Schauffele. He’s No. 13 in the FedEx Cup rankings but he hasn’t found the winner’s circle since the Tournament of Champions in 2019. That’s not to say he hasn’t been competitive. In fact, in this 2020-2021 wraparound season, he’s got three seconds, a third and seven top 10s in 17 made cuts.
To say he’s due would be an understatement.
One Of The Favorites Could Spoil The Party
Quick, tell us the one player who is ranked in the top 10 who has been disappointing in his recent play?
If you said Dustin Johnson, that would be correct.
Johnson, who is +1600 this week, has been stuck in neutral since winning last fall’s Masters. He’s got just three top 10s since then and also has a couple of MCs. Not what one would expect from the No. 2 ranked player in the world.
But, he’s the defending champion here and there’s nothing like a little reminder of success to bring a player back into positive thoughts.
He was T-10 at the recent WGC event so while he wasn’t spectacular, he did a lot of things well enough to see the top of the leaderboard.
He’s too good of a golfer to keep down.
Then There Is A Longshot
Some of these guys are in the playoffs and are just happy to have the chance to keep playing until the calendar changes over to the 2021-2022 wraparound season.
But then there is a guy like Harris English at +3300 this week. His demeanor may not show it, but he’s as focused as they come. He faltered down the stretch two weeks ago at the WGC event, squandering a three-shot lead on the back nine and winding up solo fourth, one shot out of the three-man playoff.
That’s got to have him steaming a little (like we said, his demeanor won’t show it) but he also finished second here last year to Johnson so he’s also got good vibes around this place.
The bad news is English gave up that lead and didn’t seal the deal. The good news is he’s got the chance to bounce right back and close it out this week.
We think the good will definitely outweigh the bad this week.