While it seems like only yesterday that you and I were getting acquainted and preparing for Christmas in April — the Masters — it is now time for the FedExCup Playoffs.
With the Presidents Cup being hosted by Liberty National Golf Club in a couple weeks, The Northern Trust moves from it’s traditional venue to the Glen Oaks Golf Club in Old Westbury, New York. It’s the second time in 2017 that a Tour event has moved from it’s typical host club due to another major event being held there in the same year.
With that in mind, it certainly has the feel of being “anyone’s game” this week, but there are certainly some with better chances than others at The Northern Trust.
As is the case almost any time the world’s best tee it up somewhere new, much of the love is going to those who putt the best. The theory being that those players will fair best on strange greens — but there’s much more to it than that.
Leading up to it’s first taste of PGA Tour action, the Glen Oaks Golf Club has received some comps to the Augusta National Golf Club. High praise, indeed, but also a nugget that could sway some decisions when it’s time to make your fantasy lineup.
Here’s a look at the guys primed to shine and those who are just plain dull:
Jordan Spieth — Vying for Player of the Year honors, Jordan Spieth heads into the FedExCup Playoffs still riding the wave of his Open Championship victory. He may not be the most recent major winner, but he has gotten the job done in the Playoffs before and is poised and proven champion who wins in bunches. If you haven’t burned all your Spieth starts already, it may be a wise move to play him this week. A great putter on unfamiliar greens on a course that comps nicely to Augusta National? Duh.
Rory McIlroy — I’m banking on his success in this leg of the schedule and his propensity for rising to the occasion when the lights are brightest. I’m also counting on the fact that he’s healthy and his rib injury is no longer a thorn in his side. McIlroy did tell us he was taking some time off to heal up — we all just figured it’d be more than a week. With $10 million on the line, it’s time to believe. In Rors we Trust.
Rickie Fowler — Rickie Fowler is one of the best players on Tour yet to win a major and, as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t know that he will win one for a while. He kind of has the stink of the kind of a Sergio: undeniably great, just takes an inexplicably long time to win a major. That said, guys like him also seem to win PLAYERS Championships and FedExCup events. Perhaps the $10 million top prize will be Rickie’s consolation prize for falling short in the majors this year?
Louis Oosthuizen — Fresh off his completion of the career runner-up grand slam, Louis Oosthuizen looks healthy and ready to get back the Oosthuizen of old. Already a major champ, Oosthuizen looks to add the next jewel in his crown. On a course that comps well to Augusta National and is foreign to almost everyone teeing it up this week, guys like Louis and Justin Rose are great choices.
Charley Hoffman — I’m still convinced we will see Charley Hoffman win in 2017. And if not win, at least keep posting solid fantasy performances for mid-level prices. Whether its DFS or league formats, Hoffman is a tough name to pass up. He enters the playoffs 11th in FedExCup points, the highest of any player without a victory to his credit on the campaign.
Richy Werenski — Is Richy Werenski building to something great? A Cinderella story-type run, perhaps? I don’t know — but the odds of you getting Werenski for anything but pennies on the dollar in whatever format you’re in are outstanding. He’s strung together some great finishes — including a top-10 last week at the Wyndham Championship — and looks to build on that momentum. While I certainly wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t share my enthusiasm for Werenski, I think you’d be remiss to pass him up.
Phil Mickelson — Where have you gone, Phil Mickelson? A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you. Alright, so that’s a little much — Lefty’s 2016-17 PGA Tour season hasn’t been miserable, but he hasn’t collected a win and has missed the cut in two of his last three starts. While Mickelson has proven he can when at any time, I don’t think that time is this week.
Zach Johnson — Two-time major champion Zach Johnson is always a popular choice thanks to his outstanding short game and name recognition, but this year he has mostly been a question mark from a fantasy standpoint. This week, I have more questions than answers — and while a good week from ZJ wouldn’t shock me, I’d be less surprised if he stumbled out of the gate in round No. 1 of the playoffs.
Justin Thomas — While it’s true that Justin Thomas is incredibly streaky and that he has enjoyed his week off following his triumph at the PGA Championship, he’s still in the midst of quite the up-and-down season. While Thomas did collect back-to-back wins in January, he hasn’t been able to string together strong finishes in the last couple months. He may make noise late in the playoffs, but I’m writing him off this week.