NORTHERN TRUST CHAMPIONSHIP (Top 14)
By James Dalthorp III
BEAST DOME NATION.
Northern Trust Golf TPC Boston this week – first event of the PGA Tour’s playoff format. I think we’re in for a good time to see how golf really thrives in the wake of a time when most sports are trying to ramp things up – with a few weeks of great courses and invitational fields.
This course isn’t your typical TPC course – it’s more like a refined country club. It’s got a huge overall layout that really makes you feel like the course could take up an entire zip code. The keys this week will be driving accuracy and strong play with the long irons – much like a major course – but without all the difficulties that come along with extremely fast greens and out of control rough. There’s some room to run and roam – and chances to make plenty of birdies with very reachable par fives and some short, strategic par fours.
1. Xander Schauffele
When looking at East coast tour stops, the TPC Boston is one of the most ideal courses for West Coast specialists. The greens are bent. The course does not favor anyone more than others. Xander is the most complete, up and coming player who is due for a big win. I think it’s time for X man to have a week where all the putts fall and this is the perfect recipe – an event that isn’t quite a major but just as good of a field. He will go down as a hall of famer.
2. Tiger Woods
I’m proud to say I’ve personally watched Tiger at this event in person inside the ropes. He had a little trouble getting his distances on a few holes on the front nine. The wind blew a little. But he made a number of consecutive birdies early in his round. By the way his comeback is going over the last couple years, I think he’s coming into great form. He’s only played 2 events since he came back – but they were on great, tough tracks. I think this course gives him room to go bananas.
3. Henrik Norlander
a pick from last week, Norlander is coming into his own and this course suits him well. Being an early event in the FedEx Cup, he should feel right at home with the course conditions. It’s going to be a little bit of wind and lots of spare room on this course to focus. It’s a huge layout and I think it will help him focus on shot to shot.
4. Sunjae Im
Nobody is high on Im but he’s coming off a great week and his approach game is just too excellent not to consider him.
5. Keegan Bradley
One of the dark horses but consider this: Keegan’s game has slowly come back to form after some shaky years. He is in a hometown event where the attributes of the course favor him. Ignore all the black and white data. This is a major for Keegan.
6. Scottie Scheffler
Long irons and good approach shots will be important here and Scottie not only excels in that area, he’s coming off some solid play and is also a Texan – which makes him an asset if the wind blows.
One of those feast or famine picks, but a course like this can help separate Tony from the pack. He drives the ball exceptionally long and should he use that driver as much as he should at this risk/reward course, he can be a major factor. When Tony’s most important club is his driver and the putter is not a huge factor, he can really stand out on a course like this one.
7. Brooks Koepka
I’ve already overheard plenty of chatter about Brooks. He tends to talk himself up like a prizefighter when the going gets tough.
8. Taylor Gooch
Coming back into form. A player who needs a good week to make up for a lackluster start back from the layoff. He started great before the start of 2020 and he’s starting to find it again. I think he’s a good pick here.
9. Collin Morikawa
Looking to become the #1 player in the world, I think he’ll be a strong contender this week as well. This is a risk/reward course. There are holes where you can drive the green and you’ll have plenty of straight forward chips if you miss the green short or around the swales. Remember the PGA? I know Collin does.
10. Luke List
Been keeping my eye on List for quite a while and would really like to see him breakthrough. That being said, after his win on the KF Tour, he’s very slowly gotten his footing in the PGA events. He has a chance now to make the playoffs and I think since his game is quite sharp now, he’ll be dangerous. Has a lot of length and experience.
11. Doc Redman
Statistics will tell you that Redman has greatly improved his ball-striking. He has a good eye for greens like this. Redman is an accomplished young player who doesn’t get a lot of recognition. We’ve seen him get hot with the putter leading into his pro career and this could be the right week.
12. Bryson Dechambeau
Nobody has been more consistent of late and we have to be cautious when talking about his explosive strength he’s gained. But the performances show that he is going to keep doing exactly what he’s been doing – putting himself in contention.
13. Lucas Glover
A consistent player so far this year, Glover can ride his US Open winning game to a course where strategy can benefit him. He’s a solid iron player and that maybe all he needs to separate himself from a smaller field.
14. Paul Casey
Past experience serves Casey well here. A few excellent finishes and should there be any tough days, this course suits his strengths. He does well out of those tricky bunker shots here – which remind me of Whisper Rock in Arizona where he plays.