The FedEx Cup Playoffs start this week with the Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club, which hosted the Presidents Cup in 2017. The course also hosted the Barclays in 2009 and 2013. In those events, elite iron players had a distinct advantage. Players will face smaller-than-average greens with enough slope to make saving par from a poor position difficult.
With only three playoff events this year, every stroke counts even more than in years past. Only the top 70 players in the standings will advance to the BMW next week at Medinah Country Club.
Let’s look at a few players in the Northern Trust field to target for DraftKings and One-and-Done leagues:
Tiger Woods $9,000
Liberty National suits Tiger very well, as the small greens reward the best iron players. In both of his appearances at this course, he has finished runner-up. With temps in the mid-80s all week, Tiger should be able to keep his back looser than he did at the Open Championship. He also should have some extra motivation: he sits at 28th in the FedEx Cup standings and needs to maintain that position in order to make it back to the East Lake and defend his Tour Championship title.
Playing three straight weeks might be tough on Tiger, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he sits next week out if he wins or finishes second this week. A Northern Trust win would launch him into the top five in the standings, and a runner-up would get him into the top 10. Both of those results would mean he would be in good standing heading into the Tour Championship. With the new format in that event, the difference between Tiger playing next week or not could be minuscule. Fifth place starts at -5, sixth through 10th at -4, and 11th through 15th at -3. Tiger would much rather come in rested and give the field an extra stroke or two than grind for three weeks in a row and not be at his best.
Collin Morikawa $8,500
Morikawa is an amazing iron player who should be playing with freedom, having won two weeks ago and secured status for next year. Over the past 24 rounds, he has ranked first in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. In fact, he has gained strokes on approach in every tournament this year! He has the rare combination of consistency and birdie-making ability. This is perfect for DraftKings scoring. A win at the Northern Trust would likely put his name in the Presidents Cup conversation.
With only three events left in the season, you most likely have used all of the top-tier players and are sifting through the middle tiers for prospects. Here are two to consider at the Northern Trust:
Horschel, a past FedEx Cup champion, excels at this time of year. He comes into the Northern Trust on the heels of back-to-back top 10s.
Oosthuizen is an elite ball-striker whose game should fit Liberty National well. He has not played an individual stroke-play event at this course, but he was the leading point-getter for the International team in the 2017 Presidents Cup hosted here.