Playoffs? Yes, we’re talking about playoffs this week as the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs begin Thursday with The Northern Trust.
A year after Dustin Johnson won this event at Glen Oaks, the playoff opener moves to Ridgewood Country Club, a 27-hole A.W. Tillinghast design in Paramus, N.J., though this event will use a composite 7,385-yard, par-71 layout. It will be the fourth time that Ridgewood has hosted this event (2008, ’10 and ’14), but this event will use different routing.
This tree-lined course doesn’t place a lot of emphasis on distance – and history backs that up. Instead, focus on players who putt well, as strokes gained putting will surely be a strong indicator this week.
Some other stats to look at: strokes gained approach, driving accuracy and scrambling.
Remember, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Rodgers are not in the field this week, so avoid them and pick these guys instead:
1. Dustin Johnson: Two wins and two other top-3s in last five starts, though coming off a T-27 at PGA. T-9 at Ridgewood in 2010, but missed cut in 2008. Ranks eighth in SGA, 16th in SGP and 20th in scrambling.
2. Jason Day: Riding streak of four straight top-20s. T-2 at Ridgewood in 2014, T-5 in 2010 and T-31 in 2008. Ranks first in SGP and sixth in scrambling.
3. Justin Rose: Has a win and four other top-10s among eight straight top-25 finishes. T-30 at Ridgewood in 2014 and T-15 in 2010. Ranks sixth in SGP and T-12 in scrambling.
4. Justin Thomas: Followed win at Firestone with T-6 at PGA. Ranks second in SGA and 25th in scrambling.
5. Tiger Woods: Can he build on his stellar runner-up showing at Bellerive? T-12 at Ridgewood in 2010. Ranks fourth in SGA, 26th in scrambling and 27th in SGP.
6. Webb Simpson: Stellar season continued with T-2 at Wyndham. Missed cut at Ridgewood in 2014, but was T-36 with a second-round 65 in 2010. Ranks third in scrambling, 12th in SGP and 15th in SGA.
7. Brooks Koepka: Two major wins this summer to go along with a fifth at Firestone. Knack for big tournaments. Ranks 31st in scrambling.
8. Adam Scott: Looked like his old self at PGA with solo third finish. T-15 at Ridgewood in 2014 and T-9 in 2010, but missed cut in 2008. Ranks T-9 in SGA.
9. Francesco Molinari: Has three wins and three other top-6s in his last eight starts. Ranks 13th in SGA.
10. Jon Rahm: Finding a groove with three top-5s in his last five worldwide starts.
11. Jordan Spieth: Still has a chance to turn around down year. Coming off top-12 finishes in the last two majors. T-22 at Ridgewood in 2014. Ranks 11th in scrambling.
12. Zach Johnson: Enjoying streak of six straight top-20s. T-22 at Ridgewood in 2014 and T-21 in 2010, but missed cut in 2008. Ranks 26th in SGA and 27th in scrambling.
13. Stewart Cink: Coming off T-4 at PGA, his third top-4 finish in his last six starts. T-15 at Ridgewood in both 2010 and ’14, and T-38 in 2008. Ranks sixth in SGA.
14. Bryson DeChambeau: Needs a good finish to improve his Ryder Cup chances after MC at PGA. Ranks 19th in SGA.
15. Gary Woodland: T-13 at Ridgewood in 2014 and starting to gain momentum after T-6 at PGA, his third straight top-25 finish.
16. Kevin Na: Has a win in three other top-6s in his last nine starts. T-9 at Ridgewood in 2014, T-36 in 2010 and T-31 in 2008. Ranks ninth in scrambling and 29th in SGA.
17. Paul Casey: Hasn’t been his usual self with three finishes outside the top 30 in his last four starts. Good record here, though – T-22 at Ridgewood in 2014, T-12 in 2010 and T-7 in 2008. Ranks T-9 in SGA.
18. Tommy Fleetwood: Had posted three straight finishes of T-14 or better before T-35 at PGA. Now, prepares for his first FedEx Cup Playoffs.
19. Kevin Kisner: Another Ryder Cup bubble guy, he is coming off a T-12 at PGA. Missed cut at Ridgewood in 2014. Ranks ninth in SGP.
20. Henrik Stenson: Has just one top-10 in last eight starts and was T-38 at Ridgewood in 2014. But he ranks first in SGA and second in driving accuracy.
21. Patrick Reed: Coming off MC at PGA, but was T-9 at Ridgewood in 2014. Ranks 16th in scrambling.
22. Brandt Snedeker: Had two top-10s in four starts before winning last week at Wyndham. Missed cuts at Ridgewood in 2010 and ’14, and was T-68 in 2008. Ranks 21st in SGP.
23. Ian Poulter: Coming off T-31 at PGA and has eight top-25s in his last 11 starts. T-15 at Ridgewood in 2010. Ranks 22nd in SGA.
24. Patrick Cantlay: Two top-10s and two other top-15s in his last six starts. Ranks 30th in SGA.
25. Alex Noren: Missed cut at PGA and hasn’t done much in last few starts aside from win in France. Still figures to have the game for this course. Ranks fifth in SGP.
26. Matt Kuchar: Has just one top-10 since Houston, but won 2010 Barclays and was T-5 at Ridgewood in 2014. Missed cut in 2008. Ranks T-12 in scrambling.
27. Tony Finau: In last six starts, has alternated strong and average showings – fifth, T-21, T-9, T-37, T-10, T-42. It’s time for a good outing, but he does have some Ryder Cup pressure on him. Ranks 34th in SGA.
28. Rafa Cabrera Bello: T-17 or better in his last three starts. Ranks 14th in SGA and 25th in driving accuracy.
29. Phil Mickelson: T-19 at Ridgewood in 2008, but missed 54-hole cut in 2014 and didn’t make weekend in 2010. Ranks second in SGP and 16th in SGA. Hasn’t finished better than T-24 since June and needs to show he deserved a Ryder Cup nod.
30. Keegan Bradley: Not great at PGA (T-42), but has missed just three cuts all season. T-53 at Ridgewood in 2014 with a first-round 68. Ranks third in SGA and 15th in driving accuracy.