After the opening leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, the TOUR heads just up the road to TPC Boston for part two.
The sponsor is new but the course remains the same, TPC Boston. It’s an Arnold Palmer design but Gil Hanse came through in 2007 and provided a pretty hefty overhaul. Hanse also came through since last year and tweaked holes #12 and #13, but overall course history will still be very relevant at this par 71 layout.
The course is just under 7,350 yards now which doesn’t sound too long by today’s standards. However, when you break down the holes, it becomes very easy to see why bombers generally have a field day here. When bucketing the holes into short/medium/long categories, there are NINE of them that fall into the long category but just four in the short bucket. Add in the generous fairways and nonpenal rough and the picture becomes even sharper. Distance is a big advantage at this course.
Charley Hoffman backed up this statement a few years ago when he had the following to say about TPC Boston, “It’s a big golf course. The fairways are big. The cross bunkers, if you hit it longer, you can carry them. This is a big hitter’s golf course. Big advantage.”
At the same time, it doesn’t completely remove plodders from the equation since they will be hitting such a high clip of fairways. Zach Johnson said this back in 2015, “But this one, you’d be surprised, in the sense that I’ve got a lot of loft in my hands on a lot of holes. I was making the comment the other day, I want to say it’s 11 holes where I feel like I’ve got 8-iron on down.”
Looking for similar courses, I found the following layouts to be correlated: Firestone Country Club, East Lake, Bethpage Black, Doral, and Congressional. Two single-sample courses I’m taking a look at as well are Glen Oaks Club and TPC Potomac (ignoring pre-renovation sample, just using 2017 Quicken Loans).
If you want more info on the course setup and/or golfer quotes, check out the Fantasy Golfanac.
Players to Watch
Rory McIlroy… Refuses to sit still with his clubs/putter selections but he’s not packing it in for the season. It would have been easy for him to fade to a missed cut last week after a poor start but he fought back. The demise of Rory is way overblown. Over the last 10 weeks he’s gained more strokes over the field than all but 14 golfers in the field. Last week he talked about external factors that are playing into the decision for him to peg it in the Playoffs… Could that include a bonus for winning an event during a calendar year? I have no idea, but I think he sounds very hungry to get back to that winner’s circle. He’s won at TPC Boston twice, including last year. If his ownership in DFS continues to stay below 15%, there is no reason to back off, in my opinion.
Dustin Johnson… Now that he’s picked up his FOURTH win of the season, he could make the Player of the Year race very interesting if he picked up another. Right now JT still has the edge since he has a major under his belt, but 5+ wins would be tough to ignore. If you still don’t trust Rory, then DJ is a great piece to anchor your squads this week.
Jason Day… First time posting back-to-back top 10s since last year in the same time slot (Runner-Up at 2016 PGA + T4 at 2016 Barclays). He would follow that up with T15-WD-WD. The Aussie felt just fine resting at the end of last season since he already had three wins under his belt, but he’s still looking for his first win of the season, so let’s keep riding the form train.
Patrick Cantlay … The way I evaluate players I will miss out on a lot of golfers that fly out of the gate. Cantlay falls in that category due to sample size, but he’s finally popping enough to shine through the small sample. Have him ranked 13th in the field in terms of weighted performance since 2014 and he showed last week that he can contend on a lengthy, Northeastern course. I know I’m late to the party but I’m finally ready to rage with PC.
Robert Streb… Had just one top 10 over his first 22 starts of the season, now has two since the start of July. Gained strokes in all four strokes gained sub-categories last week which means he can focus on the riding the momentum instead of tweaking parts of his game. I’m liking Streb this week as a bargain-bin option.
Charley Hoffman… The fight for the last Presidents Cup spot heats up this week. Hoffman is currently 10th in the standings but he’ll need a solid week to secure that spot. Luckily, he is a past champ at TPC Boston and has also gained more strokes over the field during the last 10 weeks of stroke-play events.
Kevin Chappell… If Hoffman slips up, then Chappie is the likely man to benefit. Chap is 11th in the Presidents Cup standings, just 23 points behind Hoffman for the final spot. Presidents Cup points = FedExCup Points x 2 so it’s basically a two-horse race between Chap and Hoffman this week. Both should bring their full attention to the table this week.
Paul Casey… His amazing run of form continued with a top 5 last week. Has finished top 30 in each of his last 10 stroke-play events. No reason to expect any different this week on a course that forces you to attack from tee-to-green.
Louis Oosthuizen… I haven’t dove into the WHY, but Oosthy almost always shines on courses with generous fairways. If we isolate performance since 2014 to courses where the field hits 65% or more of fairways then Oosthy ranks 8th in cut-made probability, 5th in top-20 probability, and 7th in top-5 probability. TPC Boston has fit that criteria in five of the past seven years, so he should be feasting from the fairway this week.
Patrick Reed… Riding huge wave of form but I have no clue what the status of his home is back in the Houston area. Golf is such a mental game that it’s impossible to say how a tragedy like that would affect him. Keep your ears peeled for any news about Reed (or any other golfers that reside in the Houston area).
Phil Mickelson… Already talked about the Presidents Cup narrative for CHOFF and CHAPPIE but we can’t ignore the narrative for Phil. Lefty sits way down at 18th in the standings, so he’ll need to rely on a Captain’s pick or have a monster finish this week. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but if Mickelson rattles off a top 10 this week he’s likely a lock for a Captain’s pick. How bad does he want it?
My Top 25 for the Dell Technologies Championship
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Jordan Spieth
4. Rickie Fowler
5. Adam Scott
6. Paul Casey
7. Jason Day
8. Patrick Cantlay
9. Hideki Matsuyama
10. Sergio Garcia
11. Jon Rahm
12. Louis Oosthuizen
13. Brooks Koepka
14. Justin Rose
15. Matt Kuchar
16. Charley Hoffman
17. Kevin Chappell
18. Patrick Reed
19. Charl Schwartzel
20. Justin Thomas
21. Keegan Bradley
22. Marc Leishman
23. Jason Dufner
24. Phil Mickelson
25. Gary Woodland