The top two players in the world, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, battled it out in Week 1 of The FedExCup Playoffs last week in New York. How does Boston follow that act in Round 2? It's a Friday-Monday tournament this holiday weekend.
The Dell Technologies Championship, which is Round 2 of The FedEx Cup Playoffs, takes place at TPC Boston starting Friday (only Friday-Monday event on Tour). And what a playoff atmosphere it ought to be coming off Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth's compelling back-nine duel at The Northern Trust in Round 1 in New York.
The players love this golf course. It gives them a bit of a breather after Round 1, which has become traditionally a very hard test out of the playoff gate. TPC Boston was designed by Arnold Palmer in 2002, and in 2007 Gil Hanse and New England native Brad Faxon made some fairly substantial changes. The fairways are wide, the greens are relatively small with excellent, fast putting surfaces, and the course offers up quite a bit of variety; reachable Par 5s, drivable Par 4s, long Par 4s, long Par 5s. The players can be creative and use many different aspects of their arsenal, and it often results in low scores. Since Hanse and Faxon made their original tweaks in 2007, 18 under par has been the average winning score.
The FedExCup Playoff field has been trimmed to the Top 100 players this week but only 96 will be in attendance. J.B. Holmes, Scott Piercy, Brandt Snedeker and Henrik Stenson have withdrawn. The next stop in what will be the 3rd of the four playoff legs in The FedExCup Series is The BMW Championship in two weeks. Just the Top 70 players move on to Conway Farms Golf Club in Illinois after the dust settles this week in Boston.
Johnson (+845 Pinnacle): It was a fantastic battle on the back nine last week at Glen Oaks Club that saw DJ eventually take out Spieth in a playoff and confirm for us that the Johnson's back injury from in April is long gone. Johnson has three Top 10s here since 2009.
Spieth (+948 Pinnacle): With last week’s test resembling Augusta National, it is not surprising that Spieth nearly won. This week is different, however, as for now-world No. 2 in four tries has gone 21-MC-29-4 at this tournament.
Rory McIlroy (+1582 Pinnacle): Meanwhile, this young man has won this event twice and is the defending champion. Very interesting to note: Of the last seven winners of The Dell Technologies Championship, only one has finished Top 10 the week prior at The Northern Trust and only one other has finished Top 25. Rory was 34th last week in New York.
Rickie Fowler (+1600 5Dimes): Rickie has been pretty disappointing as of late, especially on Saturdays. He killed his chances Saturday at The PGA and after owning the 36-hole lead last week, did it again on Saturday by shooting 4 over par. He won at TPC Boston in 2015.
Jon Rahm (+1800 5Dimes): Rahm really came back to life last week after going through a few bad weeks. Like has been so often been true for Rahm this season, as basically a Tour rookie, it is once again his first time playing in this event. With last week’s third-place finish, Rahm is now the No. 5 player in the world. That is maybe the most incredible golf story of the year. FIFTH! Wow.
Patrick Reed (+3857 Bookmaker): Reed continues to be a popular pick in the postseason with the ever-present Presidents Cup standings in the background. He has been at his best all season recently with three Top 20s and two Top 10s in the last two months. Reed was 5th here last year.
The Long Shots
Louis Oosthuizen (+3687 Bookmaker): Speaking of being at his best recently, Louis is like going on a career-best run it seems: 2nd at The PGA and 10th last week at The Northern Trust, and don’t forget he also added to the career grand slam of 2nd place finishes with a 2nd at The Players earlier this year. It has been a very good season for Oosthuizen, and I would not be surprised to see it continue.
Sergio Garcia (+4322 Pinnacle): Like he often does, Sergio took Week 1 of The Playoffs off to rest, and this time to enjoy his new life as a married man and a major champion. There seems to be some comfort in his life currently and maybe not the urgency to compete again – yet! But at over 40/1 to win this? That feels very steep for the seventh-best player on the planet.
Charley Hoffman (+5375 Pinnacle): Charley won here in 2010 and is a big fan of the golf course. He has six Top 20 finishes in his last eight starts and has become the 22nd ranked player in the world. Maybe the most important note here is that he is currently holding onto the final position in The Presidents Cup standings by a thread. He’ll need to do well here this week in order to hang on to that guaranteed spot on the team.
Adam Scott (+4011 Bookmaker): Scotty has been off for two weeks to celebrate the birth of his second child, and I feel, as we have seen before on Tour, this often inspires a player to great heights. Scott won here in 2003, in the inaugural edition of this tournament and since then he’s made 10 of 10 cuts and recorded five Top 10 finishes, including a 4th last year. Finally, Scott is ranked 73rd in The FedExCup standings. In order to advance, he’ll need to jump into the Top 70. I like the fact that he has course form, motivation and a carefree piece of mind that comes with the proud addition of a new family member. Scott could be one very dangerous happy camper this week at 40+ to one.