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BlogThe Northern Trust Preview and Picks

The Northern Trust

August 8th – 11th, 2019

Liberty National Golf Club

Jersey City, N.J.

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,353

Purse: $9.25 million

with $1,665,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Bryson DeChambeau

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 75 top-100 players from the latest Official World Rankings and 40 of the top 50. 24 of the top-25 players are in the field:  Those missing from the top-50 of the rankings is #19 Paul Casey, #26 Matt Wallace, #27 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #34 Henrik Stenson, #36 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (late WD due to birth of his child), #40 Eddie Pepperell, #41 Bernd Wiesberger, #44 Alex Noren, #46 Haotong Li and #50 Lucas Bjerregaard.

Last year there was 71 top-100 players and 42 players from the top-50.

The field includes 121 of the top-125 from the FedEx Cup rankings.  Those not playing are #8 Paul Casey, #85 Henrik Stenson and #89 Sam Burns.

The field includes 7 past champions: Bryson DeChambeau (2018), Dustin Johnson (2017 & ’11), Patrick Reed (2016), Jason Day (2015), Adam Scott (2013), Matt Kuchar (2010) and Sergio Garcia (2004 & ’01).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in The Northern Trust field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at The Northern Trust field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at The Northern Trust field.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for The Northern Trust

Player Wyndham Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. British Open Barbasol Champ. John Deere Classic Scottish Open 3M Open Rocket Mortgage Classic Travelers Champ. RBC Canadian Open U.S. Open Memorial
Brooks Koepka
(425 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP T4
(160)
DNP DNP DNP 65
(0)
DNP T57
(0)
T50
(0.33)
2
(66.67)
DNP
Webb Simpson
(346 pts)
2
(100)
2
(150)
DNP T30
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
T16
(22.67)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(332.33 pts)
DNP T4
(120)
DNP 2
(200)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP
Shane Lowry
(312 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(264)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
T28
(14.67)
DNP
Collin Morikawa
(297.67 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T36
(4.67)
T14
(12)
T35
(10)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(248.33 pts)
T22
(28)
T12
(57)
DNP 10
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
T5
(46.67)
T30
(6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP
Jon Rahm
(220.5 pts)
DNP 7
(82.5)
DNP T11
(78)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP
Tony Finau
(219.17 pts)
DNP T27
(34.5)
DNP 3
(180)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Rory Sabbatini
(193.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP T16
(68)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
T27
(7.67)
Justin Rose
(190.83 pts)
DNP 11
(58.5)
DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
13
(12.33)
Sepp Straka
(185.67 pts)
T39
(11)
DNP 12
(38)
DNP 3
(90)
T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T11
(26)
CUT
(-3.33)
T60
(0)
T28
(14.67)
DNP
Rory McIlroy
(181.33 pts)
DNP T4
(120)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
T9
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
Byeong Hun An
(181 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP T32
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T16
(22.67)
T17
(11)
Tyrrell Hatton
(179.5 pts)
DNP T43
(10.5)
DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
T33
(5.67)
Danny Willett
(172.67 pts)
DNP T48
(3)
DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T12
(25.33)
T27
(7.67)
Justin Thomas
(169.67 pts)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP T11
(78)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
T20
(10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
J.T. Poston
(169 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(21)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
Matthew Wolff
(160 pts)
T19
(31)
T24
(39)
DNP DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP Win
(88)
CUT
(-6.67)
T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(158 pts)
DNP 3
(135)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP T35
(10)
5
(23.33)
Billy Horschel
(156.5 pts)
T6
(60)
T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
T9
(15)
Patrick Cantlay
(150 pts)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP T41
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
Win
(44)
Louis Oosthuizen
(146.33 pts)
DNP T20
(45)
DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T57
(0)
Joaquin Niemann
(145.67 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T23
(18)
T5
(46.67)
T5
(23.33)
T31
(6.33)
DNP T27
(7.67)
Andrew Putnam
(144 pts)
DNP T24
(39)
DNP T32
(36)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T43
(4.67)
T17
(11)
Nate Lashley
(133.67 pts)
DNP T20
(45)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T28
(14.67)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
T14
(12)
Roger Sloan
(132 pts)
T39
(11)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T15
(23.33)
T21
(19.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(132 pts)
T78
(0)
T12
(57)
DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T65
(0)
T7
(18.33)
Brice Garnett
(130.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
T37
(8.67)
DNP T23
(18)
T17
(22)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sungjae Im
(126.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T15
(23.33)
T21
(19.33)
T21
(9.67)
7
(18.33)
DNP T57
(0)
Xander Schauffele
(124.5 pts)
DNP T27
(34.5)
DNP T41
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
T14
(12)
Martin Laird
(122.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP T6
(60)
T37
(8.67)
DNP T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T21
(9.67)
T50
(0.33)
DNP DNP
Cameron Tringale
(119.67 pts)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T42
(5.33)
T5
(46.67)
T71
(0)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(116 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T32
(36)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T46
(2.67)
T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
59
(0)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(114.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(57)
DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T72
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for The Northern Trust

Player Wyndham Champ. WGC FedEx St. Jude Barracuda Champ. British Open Barbasol Champ. John Deere Classic Scottish Open 3M Open Rocket Mortgage Classic Travelers Champ. RBC Canadian Open U.S. Open Memorial
Luke List
(-53.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sung Kang
(-36.67 pts)
DNP 60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T78
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brian Gay
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Phil Mickelson
(-33.33 pts)
DNP 57
(0)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Joel Dahmen
(-31 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T68
(0)
Charley Hoffman
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Cameron Champ
(-27.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
C.T. Pan
(-25.67 pts)
DNP T48
(3)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Keith Mitchell
(-16.17 pts)
DNP 39
(16.5)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T48
(0.67)
Branden Grace
(-14.67 pts)
T48
(2)
DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

It’s the home stretch of the 2019 PGA Tour season.  After 45 events spread over the last 11 months, for many, their season is over.  Guys like Alex Noren (129), Austin Cook (130), Daniel Berger (131), Peter Uihlein (133), Jason Dufner (136), Bill Haas (140), Beau Hossler (145), Ted Potter, Jr. (147), Harris English (149), Martin Kaymer (150), Zach Johnson (154), Jimmy Walker (158), Sam Saunders (173), Stewart Cink (179) and Ollie Schniederjans (180) are finished for this year.

For many that finish worst than 126th, they won’t have the month off because they will have to attend the Web.Com Tour finale, which for many will be a grind just like Q-School used to be.

But for those going into the playoffs, it’s all about making as much money as they can.  For each level or playoff event they play in the bonus money gets even bigger and for one really lucky guy there is $15 million awards awaiting him (out of a total bonus pool of $70 million).

This year the Dell Technologies Championship that was held in Norton, Massachusetts is no longer on the schedule.  For TPC Boston, it’s a year off as it will be the Northern Trust home next year.  But for the players, it’s now just three playoff events and it will have a big change.  The Tour Championship will no longer be a tournament, it will be part of the point system.  Instead of a points reset used in the previous format, the new format for East Lake starting this season involves a strokes-based bonus system called FedExCup Starting Strokes. Each player will start with a score (relative to par) corresponding to his position in FedExCup points after the BMW Championship. Not to get too far ahead, but for the #1 player in the FedEx Cup standings, he will be 10 under par.  The person in 2nd will be 8 under, the 3rd person in the standings will be 7 under going down to those between 26 and 30th being even par.

I personally hate this but we will get into this before the Tour Championship.  The one good thing about having just three playoff events instead of four is the excitement it adds for the Northern Trust.  Before only 35 players were cut and now with the field being cut to 70 for the BMW Championship it means that 55 players will be cut which will add more pressure from those between 70 and 125 in the standings before the start of the Northern Trust.  On top of that many of the big-time players like Tiger, Rory, Brooks, and Dustin who don’t like playing more than three events in a row they will welcome the reduced schedule of playoff events.

Tournament information:

This is the 53rd annual Northern Trust. Originally dubbed the Westchester Classic, the tournament has undergone a slew of name changes over the years. Just a decade after Jack Nicklaus captured the inaugural tournament in thrilling fashion back in 1967, the tournament became the American Express Westchester Classic.

Three years later, in 1979, American Express pulled out as title sponsor and the event became known as the Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic. The name lasted until 1990 when Buick became the title sponsor. In 2005, Barclays took over as chief sponsor of the event and lasted for 12 years.  Northern Trust took over sponsorship in 2017.

The Northern Trust, use to be played the week before or after the U.S. Open in June, was shifted to the middle of August to accommodate being the first event in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The first year of the playoffs,  Westchester was used and Steve Stricker won.  Since then the Northern Trust has moved away from Westchester, and it looks like it will never go back. Lot’s of reasons for it not ever coming back, but most of them were because of the logistics and not because of the course itself.

The future of the Northern Trust changed a bit with the new schedule coming out for 2019.  With the Dell Technology leaving after this year, that leaves the Boston market with no PGA Tour events.  But Northern Trust stepped up and said they would put TPC Boston into its rota and the course will hold the Northern Trust in 2020 and 2022.  After that, it will use Ridgewood, Plainfield, Liberty National, and Bethpage. Last year it was played at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, New York and it seemed like a success but there is no commitment for this course being used in the future.

Here is a look at the sites of the Northern Trust in the coming years.

  • 2020 – TPC Boston
  • 2021 – Bethpage State Park (Black Course)
  • 2022 – TPC Boston
Course information:
  • Liberty National Golf Club
  • Jersey City, N.J.
  • 7,370 yards     Par 36-35–71

For the first 41 years of this event, it was held at Westchester Country Club which had the reputation of being one of the most demanding courses on the PGA Tour. In 2007 it was decided to have the FedExCup playoffs and this event was one of the four ported over. It was held that first year at Westchester and then determined to move each year.  With the change to Ridgewood in 2008, the reputation of this event being played on a tough course didn’t change as players loved the A.W. Tillinghast course.  But the next year the event went to Liberty National, which was opened in 2006.

Located on the western shores of New York Harbor, just 1,000 yards from the Statue of Liberty, Liberty National, designed by Bob Cupp and Tom Kite, opened in 2006. Built at a cost of $250 million, it sits on a formerly contaminated site on the Jersey City waterfront with spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The course and high-end golf club which has an initiation fee of $450,000 to join, were developed by former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman and his son Dan. Three million cubic yards of earth were brought in during course construction because there could be no digging on the site and everything had to be built up. The resulting course is still relatively flat, with many holes having the feel of a Florida layout, with water hazards, and others of a links course, with fescue grasses. Its course rating of 77.7 and slope of 155 are among the highest in the New York metropolitan area.

The course is totally different than previous Northern Trust courses, Westchester, Glen Oaks, Plainfield, and Ridgewood because those venues were traditional courses with lots of mature trees on them.  Liberty National is more links-style and could have wind play a part of the week since there is a lack of trees and the course is on the Bay.  The greens aren’t that big at 6,300 square feet and there are 90 bunkers with 12 holes being affected by water.

The course was not very popular among many of the players when the Barclays was held on it in 2009.  The owners made major renovations the following year, making extensive changes to 15 of the 18 holes.  Greens were rebuilt and the high rough was shaved back but the most important aspect in making the course better was time.  The four years of maturity made the course play better and when players got together for the 2013 Northern Trust they were shocked at the change.  They were surprised at how the greens which in 2009 was too severe, were fairer.  They also were surprised that the course that in 2009 looked contrived in a span of 4 years looked like it was there for a hundred years.  Players loved Liberty National even more during the 2017 Presidents Cup and the players are looking forward to returning to Liberty National this year.

In 2009 the course played to a 72.28 average making it the 8th hardest course on the PGA Tour that year.  In 2013 the course played considerably easier as it played to a 71.15 average (over a shot easier than 2009) and was the 22nd hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2013.

Still, for this year the course will have one big thing that will make it tough, it’s exposed to the Upper New York Harbor and will be susceptible to unpredictable winds.  In looking at long range weather forecasts, winds will pose a little problem as they will blow at about 10 mph, but again since the course is unprotected this will be exaggerated a bit making the course more challenging.

So all of that will be in play and if history repeats itself, then there will be a fair share of marquee players on top of the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.  In 2009 Tiger along with Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington and Webb Simpson fought on the back nine in the final round before Heath Slocum birdied the 13th hole and finished his last five holes with five pars to win by a shot.  In 2013 Tiger along with Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Gary Woodland fought on the back nine on Sunday before Adam Scott birdied 14 and 16 and then made par on the last two holes for a one-shot victory.  So there is that bit of pedigree in which big names come down the stretch in trying to win this championship on this iconic course.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Liberty National

For the third time, Liberty National is hosting the Northern Trust. It previously held the 2009 and 2013 event, plus it was the home of the Presidents Cup in 2017. Located on the western shores of New York Harbor, just 1,000 yards from the Statue of Liberty, Liberty National, opened in 2006. Built at a cost of $250 million, it sits on a formerly contaminated site on the Jersey City waterfront with spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The course and high-end golf club which has an initiation fee of $450,000 to join, were developed by former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman and his son Dan. Three million cubic yards of earth were brought in during course construction because there could be no digging on the site and everything had to be built up. The resulting course is still relatively flat, with many holes having the feel of a Florida layout, with water hazards, and others of a links course, with fescue grasses. Its course rating of 77.7 and slope of 155 are among the highest in the New York metropolitan area.
The first year the course was used in 2009 for the Northern Trust, it was panned by the players. The worst came from Tiger Woods, who was runner-up. The owners of the course took in the criticism and after consulting players and architects and the next year went through a major renovation making extensive changes to 15 of the 18 holes. Greens were rebuilt and the high rough was shaved back and when the tour returned in 2013 many of the players liked the changes. When the Presidents Cup was played in 2017 the course received great reviews as the players said the course was more playable and fairer as a test. Because of it’s location to New York City which means lot’s of hospitality money, it was important for the PGA Tour that the players liked Liberty National.

So who does the course favor? Over the course of the two championships held, you had a sprinkling of both long and short hitters do well. If a long hitter can have his greatest week of ball control, he has a big advantage but as Gary Woodland, who finished runner-up in 2013 said it’s best to throttle back and not hit drivers on half the holes. One thing that will catch fantasy players eyes is that Tiger Woods was runner-up in both 2009 and 2013. One thing that does stick out, when Heath Slocum won in 2009 he was T-6th in greens hit and when Adam Scott won in 2013 he was T-4th in greens hit so that is a hint of what it will take to win this week. Another key for the past winners, both played the par 5s in 8 under, so we can see two ways that players can do well on the course.

One thing that the location of the course helps it is the lack of protection from wind. It’s wide open and there is no protection from the elements, so the wind does play a factor. In looking at the weather forecast for the week will be hot right around 90 each day with winds blowing around 10 mph. So the course will play fast and firm.

So with very little history to work with, we will pick three Strokes Gained category and Par Breakers to reflect the best part of a players game and to help you make a better pick.

*Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee: Able to translate in shots gained off of those that hit it far and straight off the tee

*Strokes Gained approach-the-Green: Perfect stat to see who picks up the most strokes by hitting the green and getting it close

*Strokes Gained Putting: So who saves the most strokes on the greens

*Par Breakers: A look at the percentage of eagles and birdies are made by the players

Of the 122 players in the field, 118 have stats on the PGA Tour for 2019.

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to the other 112 players with stats from 2019.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Brooks Koepka – $12.000
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,400
  • Dustin Johnson – $10,700
  • Jon Rahm – $10,400
  • Justin Thomas – $10,000
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,800
  • Justin Rose – $9,600
  • Webb Simpson – $9,400
  • Rickie Fowler – $9,300
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,200
  • Matt Kuchar – $9,100
  • Tiger Woods – $9,000

Another week that I am entirely sold on Brooks Koepka, even with his price being a ridiculous $12,000.  People don’t realize how much they are hampering themselves by picking a player at such a big price, but he is the best player in golf right now.  To show you the reason his price is so high, in looking at Koepka stats from his WGC-FedEx St.Jude win, they are scary.  From tee to green he had a normal week, 8th in Greens in Regulation and T-9th in Fairway Accuracy.  After that he was awesome, was 1st in scrambling, 1st in Strokes Gained Putting, 2nd in making putts inside 10 feet only missing two of 65 putts in that range.  Liberty National has some of the same characteristics as TPC Southwind so I just have to wonder how anybody is going to beat him.  I would say that Rory McIlroy at $11,400 is not your guy.  Rory just doesn’t seem to be able to give a clean 72 holes.  Yes, he did it at the Players and the RBC Canadian Open, but the rest of the year he has floundered at some point, he did it in the final round 10 days ago at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude with his putting.  So I would say take a big pass on Rory.  The same with Dustin Johnson at $10,400, the story of his year is putting, he comes into this week 187th in putting inside 10 feet.  He also is bad in scrambling ranking T-100th, I don’t see any of this changing so it’s best to take a pass on him.  Now Jon Rahm at $10,400 is ok, he has been no higher than T-11th in his five starts since U.S. Open, won the Irish Open, I think he will finish high this week but not win.  Other than Brooks, there are two other players I see possibly winning this week, one of them is Justin Thomas at $10,000. His game has finally come together after his wrist injury, he was T-9th at the Scottish Open, T-11th at the British and T-12th at the WGC-FedEx St Jude.  But I like Thomas because historically August has always been his best month.  Since 2015 in 13 August starts he has won twice and been in the top-ten, eight times.  Tommy Fleetwood is an ok pick at $9,800,  he has been hot of late, runner-up at the British Open and T-4th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.  Justin Rose at $9,600 is not a good pick, his putting has been strong this year, 5th in Strokes Gained Putting, he just has had a tough time with his iron’s and getting them on the green.  Should be pointed out that Rose was T-41st at Liberty National in 2009 and T-2nd in 2013.  Talking about hot, Webb Simpson at $9,400 is very hot right now.  He has back to back runner-up finishes in last two weeks, he has three runner-up finishes in his last five starts and Webb was 8th in 2009 at Liberty National and T-15th in 2013.  Another player with a good record at Liberty National is Rickie Fowler at $9,300.  He was T-9th in 2013, the course is good for him, he does it straight, hits lots of greens and putts ok, this could be the week he storms through.  Patrick Cantlay at $9,200 is another good choice, he is 11th in Strokes Gained Off-the-tee, 11th in Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green and 7th in Par Breakers.  Many like Matt Kuchar at $9,100, I for one am not going to take him, he has not played that well over the summer.  I said earlier on Justin Thomas that I liked two players, along with Thomas I like Tiger Woods who is $9,000 and I think a bargain this week.  Many are questioning if Tiger has lost it, I for one think that the only problem Tiger has is a weather problem.  Since winning the Masters he has played in four events with only one seeing temperatures above 80, the Memorial were he finished T-9th.  It’s going to be 90 each day this week and this should heat Tiger’s game up and he will play better.  I also like that he was runner-up at Liberty National in both 2009 and 2013.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Many will be taking Adam Scott at $8,800.  He as a surprise winner in 2013, could he repeat that accomplishment this year?  Yes he loves the course but I still think his putting is too poor and will keep him from having a good week.  I like Bryson DeChambeau at $8,600, this is a thinking man’s course and Bryson is a good thinker so look for good things from him.  The same with Collin Morikawa at $8,500, he is the second hottest player in golf right now just behind Brooks Koepka. Disregard his T-31st finish at Wyndham, he was 12 under and shot 65 on last day so he is still playing great golf, is 39 under in his last 12 rounds, not including the Barracuda which he won.  Also, watch Tony Finau at $8,300, this course should be perfect for his game.  Shane Lowry will be making his first start since winning the British Open, he is valued at $7,900 and I feel this is a great bargain.  Yes, he has spent the last two weeks celebrating, but he was smart to just shut it down after the Portrush win, did all of his partying and now is ready to play again.  Another undervalued guy is Gary Woodland at $7,800, he can get back to normal again with the birth of twin girls on Friday.  Woodland was T-2nd at Liberty National in 2013, shot a final-round 73 to lose to Adam Scott by a shot and is 2nd in Par Breakers for the year.  Also like Brandt Snedeker at $7,600 along with Charles Howell III and Joaquin Niemann at $7,500, both are good at this price range.

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the Northern Trust

I don’t see anything wrong with Kevin Kisner and surprise you can get him at $7,300.  The same with Lucas Glover at $7,300 and Jim Furyk at $7,100.  After that, it’s pretty much a crapshoot, can’t point out any low price players that will play well this week.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at Liberty National:

  • This week is a mix of tour stars like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka with a lot of first-time winners and a lot of non-winners.  In past years winning had a lot to do with the weather, when it’s good the tour stars seem to shine but in bad weather, it becomes a long shot delight.  Also in past Northern Trust look for those who play well with the lead, 27 of the 49 winners since 1970 have held the lead going into the final round and went on to win.  Since 1989, 17 of those 30 third-round leaders have won but since leaving Westchester the third-round leader has won just twice, in 2015 with Jason Day (2011 was reduced to 54 holes) and last year with Bryson DeChambeau
  • The course was built to run dry and fast, just like a links course.  But there has been a lot of rain in the last month so this has left the course soft and the greens more likely to hold.  I still think a major key on links courses is the ability to get up and down on holes that the green has been missed.  Winner Heath Slocum was 5th in scrambling in 2009 while runner-up Ernie Els was 29th, Steve Stricker was 6th, Padraig Harrington was 4th and Tiger Woods was 2nd.
  • In 2013 winner Adam Scott was T-15th in scrambling in 2013 while runner-up Tiger Woods was 8th, Graham DeLaet was 17th, Gary Woodland was 52nd and Justin Rose was T-38th.  So study the PGA Tour list of top scramblers for 2019.
The key stat for the winner:
  • The Northern Trust’s has always been a test of survival and maybe that’s why in the 52-year history of the event it’s 44 champions have won 67 majors.
  • Hitting greens in regulation will be paramount. The tight venue will require good ball control, which will result in hitting lots of greens. Look for the winner to hit a plethora of greens in regulation this week, that was the way Bryson DeChambeau won last year at Ridgewood as he ranked T-1st in Greens hit.  So when Heath Slocum won in 2009 at Liberty National he was T-6th in greens hit and when Adam Scott won in 2013 he was T-4th in greens hit so that is a hint of what it will take to win this week.
  • One of the big hazards of missing fairways and greens are the bunkering at Liberty National.  There are 98 of them, and they aren’t the ones that pros are used to, flat, easy to get out of kind.  These are very steep banked, even in the fairway and take the best of bunker players to maneuver through.  Players are used to hitting into bunkers and having an easy up and down, that won’t happen this week.  Another big hazard this week from the fairway is water.  There are 13 water hazards out there that come into play on 8 of the 14 par 4s and par 5s off the tee.
  • Good putting is a necessity for this event. The course has a stimpmeter rating of 12 with a lot of undulation in the greens, which means players who handle the flat-blade and have a good feel for the green will do well.
  • Is there any rhyme or reason for a player to win this week?
  • Wisdom says that a player with a lot of experiences will win but since this course is not a well know entity a newcomer could do well.
  • The three par fives and the drivable 16th are all key scoring holes with players expecting to make birdies and eagles.
  • A player that drives the ball long and straight and will make almost all of his putts inside 8 feet.  That is very easy to say, is there a human being that can do that?  Yes, there will be a few but we won’t know it until the weekend.
  • Players ranking between about 70th and 125th have extra incentive because they need a good showing to stay alive in the lucrative FedExCup, with the top 70 moving on the following week’s BMW Championship. In 2009, Heath Slocum barely made the field at The Northern Trust but his victory helped him to ultimately finish eighth in the FedExCup. In 2010, Martin Laird was 95th heading into the week and lost in a playoff, eventually finishing 11th in the FedExCup. In 2014 we saw Billy Horschel begin the FedEx Cup playoffs ranked 69th and go on to win it.  So anything is possible.
  • Lastly, the outlook for the tournament couldn’t be any better as sunny skies with temperatures hovering around 88 will be around all four days with a very low chance of rain.  But over the course of the last couple of weeks, a lot of rain has fallen on Liberty National, which will make the course play very softly.   So look for those that hit it long to have advantage plus those that scramble.

Who to watch for at The Northern Trust

Best Bets:

Brooks Koepka

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T8 T49 T70 CUT

He is too good not to win. Scary looking at Koepka stats from his WGC-FedEx St.Jude win. From tee to green he had a normal week, 8th in Greens in Regulation and T-9th in Fairway Accuracy. After that he was awesome, was 1st in scrambling, 1st in Strokes Gained Putting, 2nd in making putts inside 10 feet only missing two of 65 putts in that range.

Tiger Woods

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T40 T2 T38 T12 T2

Many are questioning if Tiger has lost it, I for one think that the only problem Tiger has is a weather problem. Since winning the Masters he has played in four events with only one seeing temperatures above 80, the Memorial were he finished T-9th. It’s going to be 90 each day this week and this should heat Tiger’s game up and he will play better. One thing that will catch fantasy players eyes is that Tiger Woods was runner-up in both 2009 and 2013 at Liberty National.

Justin Thomas

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T8 T6 T10 T16

His game finally coming together after his wrist injury, he was T-9th at the Scottish Open, T-11th at the British and T-12th at the WGC-FedEx St Jude.

Best of the rest:

Webb Simpson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T28 T6 T48 T30 CUT T15 CUT T10 T36 8

Not only does he have back to back runner-up finishes in last two weeks, he has three runner-up finishes in his last five starts. Only question mark, on this course his best may not be good enough if a player like Brooks Koepka has his best going for him.

Gary Woodland

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T48 CUT T4 CUT T13 T2 T13

He can get back to normal again with the birth of twin girls on Friday. Was T-2nd at Liberty National in 2013, shot a final-round 73 to lose to Adam Scott by a shot.

Jon Rahm

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T3

Has been no higher than T-11th in his five starts since U.S. Open, won the Irish Open. 4th in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee and 5th in Par Breakers.

Tommy Fleetwood

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T20

Another guy that could erupt and win at any time, he has been hot of late, runner-up at the British Open and T-4th at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Patrick Cantlay

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T8 T10

Game getting back on track was T-12th in Memphis. 11th in Strokes Gained Off-the-tee, 11th in Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green and 7th in Par Breakers

Solid contenders

Justin Rose

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T10 T31 T16 T30 T2 T46 T6 T15 T41 T14

Was T-41st at Liberty National in 2009 and T-2nd in 2013. His big problem is that one pesky round per event, which has ruined him from getting into the winners’ circle.

Rickie Fowler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T20 T7 CUT T9 T9 T24 T52 T36

The course is good for him, he does it straight, hits lots of greens and putts ok, this could be the week he storms through.

Matt Kuchar

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T60 T10 T64 T39 T5 T19 T38 2 Win T28 CUT T35

Looking to save what started as a great season but now has been forgettable. Was T-28th at Liberty National in 2009 and T-19th in 2013.

 

Long shots that could come through:

Collin Morikawa

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Right now he is the second hottest player in golf right now just behind Brooks Koepka. Disregard his T-31st finish at Wyndham, he was 12 under and shot 65 on last day so he is still playing great golf, is 39 under in his last 12 rounds, not including the Barracuda which he won.

Joaquin Niemann

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Still playing well, was T-13th last week at the Wyndham but more importantly, his game is perfect for Liberty National.

Adam Scott

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T5 T4 CUT T15 Win 62 T67 T9 T58 CUT T14

He was a surprise winner in 2013, could he repeat that accomplishment?

Don’t like them this week:

Rory McIlroy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T34 T31 T22 T19 T24 T56

I’m just tired of him always getting into contention and not being able to play well in clutch situations.

Dustin Johnson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T11 Win T18 T9 CUT T3 Win T9 T15 CUT

His putting really sucks, he comes into this week 187th in putting inside 10 feet. He also is bad in scrambling ranking T-100th.

Comments

  1. Thanks Sal. Corrections: FedEx winner gets $15-million this year, not $10-million. Also, Rafa C-B is a WD (wife expecting).

  2. Micahel M says:

    Sal – would you play…….Xander….Woodland or Billy this week?

  3. Micahel M, I would play Woodland over the others.

  4. Adam B, I have updated everything after Rafael WD.

  5. Micahel M says:

    Sal I also have Molinari. So he’s my other consideration. So woodland or Molinari?

  6. Micahel M says:

    Keep in mind mine is a one and done league

  7. Woodland, Molinari has not done much since winning the Palmer

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