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This week we enter the second week of FedEx playoffs. This tournament runs starts on Friday and runs through Monday to take advantage of the Labor Day holiday. We are now down to 100 eligible players as we continue to whittle the field down to the final 30 who will compete for the top prize.
The tour heads to TPC Boston in Norton, MA south of Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship. The course is a par 71, 7,241-yard golf track with 58 bunkers where water comes into play on about half of the holes. The Tour doesn't have a lot of par 71s on the docket, but the TPC Boston is one. It has three par 5s, 11 par 4s and four par 3s. And, the cut is still top 70 and ties so more than 70% of the starters will see the weekend. You can take some risks!
TPC Boston has been the host since 2003, but the major re-design by Gil Hanse (with Brad Faxon consulting) in 2007 means we only care about results since then. Hanse also redesigned the Blue Monster Couse at Trump National Doral (the site of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship) in 2013. So, perhaps we'll take a gander at the leader board for the last three years.
Hanse has also redesigned many other courses (the East Course at Winged Foot and Monterey Peninsula Country Club at Pebble Beach among them). Starting in 2012, he also worked on the restoration of Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey (site of the Barclays in 2014). Finally, he was the designer for the course used for the Rio Olympics. So, there aren't a ton of Hanse courses out there and many of them are restoration projects so we'll tread lightly looking for "Hanse" experts.
Where should we focus our statistical microscope this week?
Par 5 Scoring Average (P5SA): There are three par 5s and that is where a lot of the scoring will come from this week. We will need to see par 5 scoring on our golfers' resumes.
Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards (P4E450-500) – Hello old friend. Six of the 11 par 4s on the course fall between 451 and 495 yards. So, we want golfers who can score (or at least make pars) regularly on par 4s of this distance.
Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green (SG:APP) – SG:APP is a part of SG:T2G so there is a bit of double counting going on here. That said, we're going to see nearly 75% of all shots from between 150 and 200 yards this week.
Scoring Average (SA) – We'll also look at overall scoring average as we'll need players who can score. The winner of the tourney will probably be between 15 and 20-under for the week.
Par 3 Efficiency 200-225 yards (P3E200-225) – Our tiebreaker for the week as we have four par 3s on the course and they range from 187 to 231 yards. So, the range isn't perfect, but it's close enough to use for tiebreaking purposes.
I'm focused on 2016 stats of course, but will certainly refer back to 2015 if needed.
And of course, we examine Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with more weight on SG:T2G again this week.
As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This week it looks like the weather won't be an issue at all as the only "concern" is for rain showers on Thursday morning. The wind should be manageable and temperatures likely won't cross 80 degrees for a high until Sunday.
1. JASON DAY [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #1
So Day battled another health issue last week (fatigue)? Say it ain't so. As per usual, it doesn’t seem to faze Day in the least as he picked up a T4. It was his second top 5 in row and third in his last five events. He's missed just one cut in 2016. Day sits second in my stats-only look at the field (11th in SG:T2G, 40th in SG:APP, 1st in SG:P, 3rd in P5SA, 15th in P4E450-500, 2nd in SA, and 1st in P3E200-225). He's enjoyed his recent trips to the Deutsche Bank with three straight top 15 finishes as well as five in his last six DBC starts.
2. ADAM SCOTT [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #7
If Adam Scott could just putt as a below average Tour pro, he'd win every week. Unfortunately, he cannot do so (consistently). Even with those struggles he's still seventh in my model (1st in SG:T2G, 1st in SG:APP, 140th in SG:P, 12th in P5SA, 15th in P4E450-500, 5th in SA, and 27th in P3E200-225). The Aussie has performed quite well here with five top 10s in 10 trips including a win in his 2003 debut. He's had three of those top 10s in his six trips since the Hanse redesign. The T4 last week was his second top 10 in four events and those are his first two top 10s since back to back wins at the Honda and Cadillac back in early 2016.
3. DUSTIN JOHNSON [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #2
DJ is second place in the stats-only look for the week (3rd in SG:T2G, 26th in SG:APP, 44th in SG:P, 8th in P5SA, 2nd in P4E450-500, 3rd in SA, and 16th in P3E200-225). He has two T4s in six starts at the DBC, but no other finish in the top 25. He bounced back last week at The Barclays with a T18 after missing the cut at the PGA Championship. He had a run of five top 5 finishes in his six starts prior the PGA Championship.
4. RORY MCILROY [YAHOO CLASS B] - WORLD RANKING: #4
So, what to do with Rory? He’s at the edge of the elite in terms of price, but is his game all there? Well, he’s certainly not got the putter going as he continues to fiddle with grips and clubs and all manner of things to get the putter working. Even with his wonky putter, Rory is 12th in my stats model this week (2nd in SG:T2G, 58th in SG:APP, 130th in SG:P, 2nd in P5SA, 5th in P4E450-500, 8th in SA, and 73th in P3E200-225). He’s had two top five finishes here including a win in 2012 while his other three starts at the DBC put McIlroy outside the top 25. He finished T31 last week at The Barclays with a new putter, but he’s only a few weeks removed from a string of four top five finishes in five events.
5. JORDAN SPIETH [YAHOO CLASS A] - WORLD RANKING: #3
Spieth missed the cut here last year after posting a T4 and T29 in his first two starts. It's hard to miss the cut here as the top 70 plus ties make it through to the weekend, but he did it by firing 74-73 in the first two rounds. Is he ready for redemption? Well, he is fourth in the stats model for the week (14th in SG:T2G, 74th in SG:APP, 5th in SG:P, 8th in P5SA, 25th in P4E450-500, 4th in SA, and 7th in P3E200-225). The young American finished T10 last week at The Barclays which was his fourth top 15 in his last eight events.