Deutsche Bank Championship
FedExCup Playoff Event No. 2
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: 5,500 square feet on average; Bentgrass
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass and fescue at 4"
Water Hazards: 3
Purse: $8.25 million
Winner’s Share: $1.485 million
FedExCup Points: 2000 to the winner
Defending Champion: Chris Kirk didn't make a bogey in the final two rounds and won by two shots.
Dates: September 4 - 7 (Friday through Labor Day Monday)
Notes: Only the top 100 players advanced to Boston this week; Sergio Garcia has elected not to play making the field 99 as of Monday lunch time.
Notes II: The top 70 players and ties will play the weekend.
Notes III: Only the top 70 at the conclusion of the tournament will advance to FedExCup Playoff Event No. 3, the BMW, next week at Conway Farms in the Chicago suburbs.
Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker (twice), Bill Haas, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day (thrice), Brandt Snedeker, James Hahn, Padraig Harrington, Alex Cejka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth (four times), Matt Every, J.B. Holmes, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk, Steven Bowditch, David Lingmerth, Fabian Gomez, Bubba Watson, Danny Lee, Scott Piercy, Zach Johnson, Troy Merritt, J.J. Henry, Shane Lowry and Davis Love III are the 36 winners of calendar 2015.
Hahn (No. 297), Harrington (No. 297), Cejka (No. 285), Every (No. 96), Bowditch (No. 137), Lingmerth (No. 212), Gomez (No. 283), Lee (No. 158), Piercy (No. 112), Merritt (No. 180), J.J. Henry (No. 426) and DL3 (No. 613) are the only players outside the top 70 OWGR to win this year.
After 28 wins in 45 events last season the USA has won with Snedeker, Koepka, Haas, Walker (two), Reed, Hahn and Johnson, Spieth (four), Every, Holmes, Furyk, Fowler, Kirk, Watson, Piercy, Johnson, Merritt, Henry and DL3 in 2015. The USA already picked up wins in 2014 portion from Charley Hoffman, Watson, Ryan Moore, Robert Streb and Ben Martin. The USA won 28 of 43 regular season events
Cejka, Harrington, Day, Rose, McIlroy, Bowditch, Lingmerth, Gomez, Lee and Lowry make up the rest of foreign legion who have won in calendar 2015. They join Sang-moon Bae (Korea) and Nick Taylor (Canada) from the 2014 as the international winners.
After 13 first-time winners in 2013 there were only 10 last year. This season, Hahn, Koepka, Martin, Streb, Taylor, Cejka, Lingmerth, Gomez, Lee, Merritt and Lowry have broken their maidens and have surpassed the 10, first-timers from last year.
The only multiple winners this season on TOUR are Watson, Walker, Day, McIlroy and Spieth. Day joins Spieth as the only players besides Tiger Woods this century to have won four times in a season. Youngsters are on fire.
The TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., keeps its position on the FedExCup rotation for ninth consecutive year joining East Lake as the only two permanent sites. The pros will welcome a week where they can take out the big stick and swing for the fences after squeezing through Plainfield last week. They'll also enjoy a course that sits in front of them and is there for the taking.
The average winning score over the last eight events is nearly 19-under-par so it's not going to take any mathematicians in the crowd to figure out that going low is necessary to win this. When a ton of birdies are needed to win it brings even more players than usual into the fray as most of these guys destroy resort-esque courses. Of the four courses used this year in the Playoffs, this is by far the easiest. Since its inception on TOUR in 2003, seven of the 12 winners have posted all four rounds in the 60s. In each of the last two years a player has made 25 birdies.
Arnold Palmer had the original design for TPC Boston and Adam Scott was the inaugural winner. The event was awarded a spot in the Playoff rotation in 2007 one year after Gil Hanse sharpened it up. Hanse's work wasn't finished as he again has tried to test the best players in the world by shrinking the green on No. 18 and tighten up the approach so eagles become the exception, not the rule. This was in 2012. McIlroy was 20-under that year and Stenson followed with 22-under in 2013.
Last year and 2011 were the two highest winning scores at 15-under. The wind will help defend but with greens only running around 11' on the Stimpmeter birdies or better will dominate scorecards. The signature No. 16 hole has added an extra tee box which can now stretch back to 190 yards but I don't think one hole is going to slow these guys down. Stenson only made three bogeys here in 2013 and Kirk played his final 37 holes without a bogey last season.
Gamers will need to look to players who are strong from tee-to-green and can rack up birdies while avoiding bogeys. The greens are Bentgrass but won't have any bite in them so the premium putters will be negated by the guys who can knock it closer; three-putts shouldn't be an issue either this week at normal TOUR speed. It will come down to the final holes on Sunday as no player has held their 54-hole lead since Steve Stricker in 2009.
Facts and Figures:
Camilo Villegas remains the only first-timer winner in the FedExCup Playoffs history. He had so much fun winning the BMW at Cog Hill he repeated the feat the following week at The TOUR Championship in Atlanta.
Villegas joins Woods (2007), Singh (2008 as well), McIlroy (2012) and Horschel (2014) as the only players to win back-to-back events in the Playoffs. Weird that there has been multiple winners in half of the eight years. Even weirder was that Villegas won the LAST two events of 2008 but did NOT win the $10 million. Singh beat him to it by winning the first two events.
No player has defended their DBC title since it became a playoff event.
Only Singh has won twice at TPC Boston (2004, 2008).
Hunter Mahan has started every single Playoff event. He enters the week No. 91 and will need a top finish to keep his streak alive.
Previous winners during the Playoffs and their winning score in relation to par:
2014: Chris Kirk -15
2013: Henrik Stenson -22
2012: Rory McIlroy -20
2011: Webb Simpson -15
2010: Charley Hoffman -22
2009: Steve Stricker -17
2008: Vijay Singh -22
2007: Phil Mickelson -16
That's five Americans and three foreigners. Only seven internationals have won Playoff events (Singh, Villegas, Rose, McIlroy, Scott, Stenson and Day).
The tournament record is shared by Hoffman and Stenson on 22-under.
No. 83: Carlos Ortiz
No. 76: Scott Pinckney
No. 54: Daniel Berger
No. 45: Zac Blair
No. 32: Tony Finau
No. 30: Justin Thomas
Half of those boys are #UtahMafia!
Billy Horschel is the only player to MC at The Barclays and win the FedExCup Playoffs. He did this last year as he won the BMW and TTC to close. Oh, and he was T2 at the DBC. He MC again at The Barclays this year.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet:
Adam Scott won the inaugural TOUR event here in 2003 on a sponsor's exemption.
Jason Day will look to join Singh as the only players to win the first two Playoff events of the season.
In order, these are the players that I believe project the best this week (Yahoo! group in parentheses).
Jason Day (B): He's won three of his last four starts. He's 67-under in his previous seven trips to TPC Boston. He's posted top 10s in three of his last five visits. I would still play him this week if his motor home rolled over him five minutes before his tee time. Time to step on throats.
Rory McIlroy (A): The weakest club in his bag is his putter and these greens shouldn't trouble him as much. He didn't make anything at Whistling Straits and still found the top 20. Not bad for his first time back after his ankle problem. The 2012 champ was also T5 last year and has a trio of 64s and a pair of 65s to show in four trips.
Henrik Stenson (A): The 2013 champ tied the tournament record on 22-under and arrives again this week in form. He's posted T6-T25-solo third in his last three and has posted only one of his last 12 rounds over par. Not bad considering those events were WGC-BI, PGA Championship and a FedExCup Playoff event on less than "easy" courses! I'd remind you that he leads the TOUR in ball-striking, total driving and GIR but if you haven't figured that out by now, you're LAWST. Just LAWST.
Bubba Watson (A): One of the funniest quips from Watson this week was when he remarked that he thought he was playing quite well as of late but Day was playing 1,000 times better. Bubba gonna Bubba and the one thing I've learned about him late this season is when he's on, YOU need to be on him. He's played well at places he hasn't in the past (Firestone, Plainfield) and would be the headline getter if Day wasn't going HAM. Watson has rewarded those who have stayed the course with solo second-solo second-T21-solo third in his last four. His record at DBC keeps him out of the top spot (no top 10s in nine starts) but his recent form suggests he's not slowing down.
Jordan Spieth (B): Poor guy changes irons, misses a cut and loses the No. 1 ranking all in one week. Maybe we should start a gofundme to get him through this difficult time. Remember, he was adamant in Plainfield not fitting his eye and Ross greens are never easy to navigate the first time. He'll return to form this week as this course will be there for the taking and he has no problems rolling in putts from everywhere and racking up birdies. Fired 62 here to close T4 in his maiden voyage and I'm sure his tail will be up with Day, Rory, Stenson and Bubba all in play again this week.
Justin Rose (B): Not even 77 (+7) to open last week could slow the Englishman down this summer! He rallied for 65-63-70 to finish T16 for his first finish outside the top six in his last five events on TOUR. He's lit up for 63 in two of his last three starts as well so he should be licking his chops again this week. His recent course form will give gamers pause but his current course form should alleviate any of those fears. Remember he won the Zurich on a TPC course by posting 25 birdies and one bogey so he's shown he can get low (-22).
Brooks Koepka (A): So he's human? Who knew? Like Spieth, he MC last week for the first time since THE PLAYERS. Last week also broke up a streak of seven events of T18 or better that included five top 10s and three in row. His game plan this week will be simple. Hit it as far as humanly possible. Find it. Hit it as close to the flag as possible. Make putt. Wait, that's EVERY week! His lone victory was earlier this year at TPC Scottsdale.
Dustin Johnson (B): With back-to-back top 10s at the PGA and Barclays DJ remains dialed in. He might have shown us something by not completely falling apart after his quad to start the final round at Whistling Straits. It was refreshing NOT to hear anything about him last week as he went about his business but don't sleep on that final round 65. He's another that will feast off the tee and welcome the less-than-speedy greens. He's never MC here and has a pair of T4s in his CV.
Robert Streb (C): Last year he was knocked out of the Playoffs (finished No. 71) after making eagle on the final hole as Jason Day's late birdie moved him to T9 and OUT. REVENGE!!! Streb finished T39 last week and that was his worst finish in six starts. The other five all were inside the top 18. I wrote last week that I'd PREFER Streb on a track where he could grip it, rip it and have no worries. This week qualifies and he was T9 here last year even after opening with 73. Last time he finished outside of the top 20 he was T42 at Chambers Bay. He followed that with T2 at Greenbrier, another TPC set up, by losing a playoff to Danny Lee. My favorite part was him coming home in 32 putting with his sand wedge! He should have two wins on the year, not one!
Ryan Palmer (B): Playing his first event after the death of his father last week was heroic enough but finishing T6 with all four round at par or better was just as impressive. Golfers are human beings, not stat-bots that just fire automatically and Palmer proved this life-changing event was a positive on his golf game. He entered last week with nothing better than T30 in his last five starts and was cut at the PGA. He spent time grieving with his family and obviously found focus in a difficult time. He opened with 64 in 2011 and was the 18/36 co-leader last year after his Friday 63 to get started. He was second to Koepka by a shot at TPC Scottsdale earlier in the year.
Zach Johnson (B): His annual FEAST at TPC Deere Run should serve as a wonderful appetizer before TPC Boston this week. He's played the last six in Beantown and only played one of his 24 rounds above par. Interestingly, his best finish in that span is T16 twice. The Champion Golfer snapped right back into form last week as he painted the sprinkler line (T3) and wore out his divot tool (T2, GIR) on his way to solo third. He only carded five bogeys on the week on a difficult course. Well, difficult for anyone not named "Day" that is...
Hideki Matsuyama (B): Whew. Glad that run of indifference from the young Japanese is in the rearview mirror. His T13 last week broke up a three-week run of T37-T37-MC and his four rounds in the 60s made it even more obvious for gamers to climb back on board. He has no problem finding fairways and greens or making birdies. Course history buffs and guys who don't pay attention to anything but top 10s won't endorse him this week but I will, especially on normal greens.
Brandt Snedeker (B): For the second week in a row Sneds gave late-season gamers a swift kick in the baked beans. At least he didn't perform the strip tease that he did at Sedgefield when he bombed out with 75 on Sunday. He didn't even make the weekend at Plainfield but he did fire 61 before that 75 at Wyndham. His last two in Boston haven't been any better (MC-T47) but he rattled off three top 10s in a row from 20102-12. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. What's the penalty for the third time? A charm?
Webb Simpson (B): The last two times that Simpson has grabbed our attention on TOUR were on two courses in two events that he loves, T2 at Quail Hollow (he's a member) and T6 at Wyndham (site of his first win; he named his daughter after the sponsor). TPC Boston and the DBC should qualify on this list as well as Simpson won this event in 2011 just two weeks after his first-ever win on TOUR at Wyndham. Simpson is making NOTHING on the greens but he's hitting almost all of them. He closed with 66 last week at Plainfield and has T18-T53-T9 here after that win in 2011. Arrows are pointing the proper direction.
Jim Furyk (A): He has hit the top 25 in 26 of 32 FEC starts. Nothing wrong with ol' reliable in the lineup any week. It doesn't hurt that he's never missed in 10 tries in Boston but he's only carded one top 10 (solo sixth in 2011). Of his 40 rounds, 30 are par or better but he just hasn't put all four together since 2011. Gamers who have multiple starts left on him might want to save him for Conway Farms, where he shot 59 in 2013 or East Lake where he EATS.
Justin Thomas (C): With four T18 or better in his last five, including a pair of top 10s, I can't find anything to push me off Thomas. He was T18 at Whistling Straits and T16 last week at quirky Plainfield. He's rattled off six cuts in a row and frankly doesn't seemed bothered by much of any of this on the big boy circuit. Bombs and birdies will do just fine again this week on a course where he can swing the big stick.
Tony Finau (C): It's almost comical to write that his only MC in his last 12 tries was at TPC Deere Run, one of the easiest courses on TOUR. Of his other 11 starts, 10 have been T25s including three of his last four. He backed up his T10 at Whistling Straits with T16 last week at Plainfield so he's dialed back into form. This week is about guys who can smash it and make birdies. He's eighth in distance, ninth in par-breakers and seventh in birdie-average.
Supporting Cast Members:
Rickie Fowler: Um, well, er, he should in the conversation every week. He's played the weekend in four of five starts in Boston yet last year's T23 is the best of the lot. Hopefully his "pillow fight" round at Baltusrol last weekend with Spieth after MC at Plainfield rights the ship. He had been lights-out in non-majors worldwide before MC last week.
Jason Bohn: He was in the Chalk last week when it went 20 deep and he hit the top 10. No way I was leaving him out after that! It doesn't hurt that he keeps RACKING cash in a career-best (minus a win) season. It also doesn't hurt that he has never MC here in six tries and was solo second in 2005. He loves birdie-fests and this week qualifies!
Daniel Summerhays: Hard to ignore a guy with T11 or better in three of his last five including T6 last week. He's shown a penchant to rack up birdies on easier track over recent summers (JDC, SFC). He'll goes as far as his flat stick carries him but I like guys with momentum and he has that in spades.
Will Wilcox: #FreeMoney has been grinding for the cause and I'm excited to see how he approaches this week knowing only a big finish will see him advance to Conway Farms in two weeks as he sits No. 89. He opened with 67 last week but found 76 on Friday for his only round above 72 on TOUR since MID-MARCH on TOUR. He gets a pass because his numbers say that was a fluke. He went low at Barbasol, JDC and Barracuda and knows he'll need another bushel full of birdies again this week.
Luke Donald: He's played seven weekends in a row in Boston and hit back-to-back podiums (T2-T3) in 2010-11. He's also played 11 weekends on the trot worldwide since MC at THE PLAYERS. Similar to Wilcox, Donald is No. 87 and will need to turn out a big one this week to advance. No player has a bigger carrot dangling than does Donald as he makes his summer home at Conway Farms. Nobody is silly enough to live in Chicago in the winter, if they don't have to, so he spends his winters at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Florida.
Russell Henley: Another who might be forgotten of dismissed after DFL last week, Henley was the 54-hole leader here last year. He won his first TOUR event in his first try as a professional after making 49,392,222 birdies at the Sony Open to defeat Tim Clark. He's been very steady all season and has peeled off 19 cuts in 22 tries.
Bill Haas: In nine tries in Boston he's pegged five top 25s and that includes T9 last year. He'll par the place to death like he does every week but if his putter gets hot for a stretch of holes he could nip in and steal it. He falls in this part because for every up this season there have been two downs. Solid, if not spectacular.
Bryce Molder: I'm not over-thinking this one. He's made seven cuts in a row and was T11 last week. He was T9 here three years ago after opening 65-69-68. Strike it while it's hot.
Jim Herman: It's now four tournaments in a row T22-T30-T18-T13 and 15 of 16 rounds are 71 or lower.
Paul Casey: It's only his second trip to Boston and he was T25 on his last visit in 2010. Excellent support staff this week but always wonder if he can hole enough putts to get low enough.
Horses for Courses, Long Shots, Forgotten Names...
John Senden: Nothing better than T40 in his last four on TOUR but he's 11-for-11 on TPC Boston. The last six have been T33 or better and five are T23 or better. His best finish was T5 last year.
Ryan Moore: All-or-nothing. T10-T10 in 2011-12; 75th-73rd the last two years.
Keegan Bradley: He has one top 20 since his T8 at Memorial, a span of seven starts. He enters the week off T61-MC but there will be someone out there to remind me that will remind me this is a home game for the Vermont native. His last three are T16-T16-T13 so there's some merit to that. He doesn't deserve a place anywhere else until he gets the putter figured out.
Sean O'Hair: Half of his eight starts have been top 25s and two have been top 10s. Yeah, that's where we're at this week.
Louis Oosthuizen: He was 19-under through THREE ROUNDS here in 2012 before 71 on Monday saw McIlroy nip him by a shot. That was the only time he played here. He's usually out of the Playoffs at this time because his back or neck has acted up. He WD before the tournament started last week with the same problem. MASSIVE reward-risk this week and folks who are desperate (looks in mirror) might have to trod him out and take a shot.
Charley Hoffman: He opened with 64 and closed with 62 to steal it in 2010. He's never posted anything inside the top 25 before or after. Again, desperation comes into play but at least there is an angle.
Chris Kirk: Defending champions are rarely overlooked. Defending champions returning to competition after a broken wrist/hand for the first time last week and finishing and MC go in this category. At least the rust is off.
Spencer Levin: Turning it on at the right time as his T18 at Wyndham solidified his place in the Playoffs and his T16 at The Barclays could have been even better except for his closing 72. He needs another top finish as he's currently No. 80.
Jason Dufner: He's T31 or better in five tries with a pair of top 10s at DBC and has played the weekend in his last eight.
Ian Poulter: T23 last year, T9 in 2014 and six of those rounds are in the 60s.
Brendan Steele: He's going in the wrong direction (T50-T20-T10) in his three tries but he's had plenty of TPC success over the years.
Jerry Kelly: The Hartford grad should have a big cheering section this week and he's posted T11 and T10 in two of his last four.
Steven Bowditch: Get putter. Heat up putter. Make putts. Steal in broad daylight. Closed with 64 last week.
Matt Kuchar: If he's not firing on a course in a region where he's had PLENTY of positive history, I'm not throwing him out there this week on a course where he has one top 10 in 11 tries. Sure, he'll finish T18 or so but that's not what I need at this stage in the season.
Danny Lee: He's in the top 10. He's missed the top 25 the last two weeks and fields aren't getting any weaker.
David Lingmerth: Bouncing back on a normal TOUR stop is one thing; bouncing back against a premium field on an easy course is another. He deserves a pass if he throws up another clanger.
Billy Horschel: He started his magic here last year but I have to scroll all the way back to June to find a top 20 or better. Enters the week MC-MC.
Patrick Reed: I never get him right so make sure to play him this week. Shot 82 here last year in round three to throw away a six-under start. Remember, 15-under was the winning score. Has three of seven rounds 72 or worse.
Men with Their Own Section:
Only the top 70 after this week make it to Conway Farms and the BMW. Let's see who enters the week with one eye on the scoreboard and one eye on their scorecard.
No. 65: Kevin Streelman
No. 66: Sean O'Hair
No. 67: Fabian Gomez
No. 68: Kevin Chappell
No. 69: Ian Poulter
No. 70: Boo Weekley
No. 71: Keegan Bradley
No. 72: Morgan Hoffmann
No. 73: Alex Cejka
No.74: Charles Howell III
No.75: Matt Every
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, DFS plus the European Tour! Oh, and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at 12 ET.
We will be breaking down the field at the the DBC and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.