The field is set and we’re ready for the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The Northern Trust will be held at Liberty National GC this year. The scorecard for this year’s event shows it playing as a 7,370-yard par 71.
With such a small sample of prior results here, there’s no course preview. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some trends we can check out, though. It’s been pretty even between distance and accuracy. There have been 48 golfers to finish in the top 20 of DK scoring in those two events. Of that group, 10 have hit the top 10 in distance compared to eight that got there in accuracy off the tee. In weeks like these, there has to be a higher emphasis on ball-striking.
Jon Rahm ($44) continues to be undervalued in Yahoo! pricing this week. He’s the eighth highest priced golfer but has the fourth shortest odds this week. Rahm certainly isn’t lacking in the recent form department. Since missing a couple of cuts in a row in the middle of the summer he’s made five straight cuts with a win in Ireland. During that stretch, his worst finish was a T11 effort at The Open Championship.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the young guys are still underpriced. Collin Morikawa ($22) and, to a lesser extent, Matthew Wolff ($21) have no business being in the low $20 range. Morikawa is second in the model at -2.55. Historically, golfers in the -2 and Better group of the model have won 11.3% of the time and finished in the top 10 45.1% of the time.
Dustin Johnson ($51) is the most expensive golfer in the field this week. On name value alone, we can understand why . . . but there’s a case to be made that he could be much lower. You have to go all the way back to May to find his last finish better than a tie for 20th. That has made his pivots list a bit uninspiring. If you want to go back to Johnson, I wouldn’t blame you, but there aren’t any pivots worth mentioning here.
Rory McIlroy ($49) doesn’t have many intriguing pivots at the low end of the salary scale. Bryson DeChambeau ($43) is the defending champ of this event, though it was at a different venue last season. Over their past three events, Bryson has hit more greens in regulation than Rory. Over his career, DeChambeau has played well on par-71 courses. He’s gained over 2.5 times as many strokes tee to green on par 71s compared to all other types of tracks.
If you’re looking for a $4 discount off of Brooks Koepka ($49), Justin Rose ($45) is your man. If you’re looking for a bit more of a discount, Billy Horschel ($27) is interesting. Over his past eight starts, Horschel has been excellent. He has made seven cuts and has six top-25 finishes in that time. Horschel falls into the -1.5 to -1 group in the Power Ranking model this week. That group has historically finished in the top 20 just under 35% of the time.