“Playoffs!? You want to talk about the Playoffs!? We can’t even win a game let alone make the playoffs!”. It’s that time of year again. Last year Bryson had two wins, only to be upstaged by Tiger’s win at East Lake and Justin Rose stealing the FedEx Cup from both of them. Things are set up a little bit different this year.
First and foremost the traditional four event playoffs have been shrunk to three. I think this was done for two main reasons. One, to allow players to only go 3 weeks in a row coming off a major and WGC as well as to finish up the playoffs before football season starts Labor Day weekend. In the past you had players that had already qualified to at least the third event, skip the first event to take a break. Throw in the condensed schedule, and a three event playoffs was just about the only way players could survive the last two months. Lastly, the leader of the FedEx Cup starts out with a 10 shot lead at East Lake, meaning that who ever wins the Tour Championship, wins the FedEx Cup.
Last year the Northern Trust was held at Ridgewood Country Club, where as mentioned before Bryson took home the title. This year the tournament has rotated to Liberty National, a place I think is great for hosting tournament golf. Besides 17 Mile Drive, there may not be a more dramatic backdrop than the Manhattan Skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Don’t confuse that with beautiful, Augusta National, NGLA, Shinnecock, Whistling Straights, and Chambers Bay are head and shoulders above. Regardless, whenever golf comes to the Big Apple, it makes for rowdy crowds and another level of spectacle. Let’s get to some gambling.
- Brooks Koepka: 8/1
- Rory McIlroy: 12/1
- DJ/Jon Rahm: 15/1
- Rose/Cantlay/JT: 20/1
- Rickie/Fleetwood/Webb: 25/1
- Tiger/Xander: 30/1
- Frankie/Adam Scott: 40/1
- 8. 5 others at 50/1
It is always tough to pick the first of these playoff events. I’m almost positive that Webb Simpson was the only player listed above that was in the field in Greensboro this past week. With 2-3 weeks of rest for the heavy hitters its really anyone’s tournament. Here are a few guys I like.
Tiger Woods 30/1:
Tiger Woods at 30/1!? Are you kidding, put the kitchen sink on it. Do people forget that Tiger won the Masters this year? He’s had two full weeks of rest, and comes to a course he has finished 2nd at twice. Currently sitting at 28th in the FedEx Cup standings, a good performance this week takes the pressure off making it to East Lake, and would also boost him closer to that 1st place spot. If you aren’t in the Top 5 going to Atlanta you basically are playing for 2nd place. You don’t think Tiger could find a way to spend another 15 million?
Xander Schauffele 30/1:
Right there with Tiger at 30/1, I think this is great value for Xander. He has 2 wins on the season, 5 top 10’s, 2 top 3’s in the Majors. Throw in a 2 top 10’s to close out the playoffs last year, it seems he gets up for the big events. I think he will be able to put the illegal driver talk that came up at Portrush behind him and get into contention this weekend.
Phil Mickelson 150/1:
The latter half of the year has not gone as planned for Phil. He’s only made 2 cuts since the Masters, and his only top 10’s are a win at the Crosby Clam Bake and a T2 at the Dessert Classic. Look, I’m the first to give Phil a hard time, but I’m not going to knock winning at 48. Phil will get plenty of love from the NYC crowd this weekend. After seeing Phil in the background of the President’s Cup gathering Tiger had tonight, you know he wants to be on that team. Maybe a playoff win will be enough to push him over the edge.
Kevin Kisner 100/1:
I watched Kiz shoot a seven over, 77 in the opening round of the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He proceeded to go 67, 66, 67 to finish out the tournament, giving him a T-27 finish. Not his best by any means but considering the hole he was in, I think all of us would take that. Kisner it’s in 16th in the President’s Cup, and needs a good week to push him up close to that coveted top 12. Kisner went 2-0-2 in the 2017 Presidents Cup at none other than Liberty National. Let’s see if he falls back on that experience this week.
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