The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs have been shaven down from the Top 125 in the points to Top 100 for this week’s second postseason event, the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. However, don’t go channel surfing on Thursday morning looking for this tournament. It’s a Friday-Monday event designed to end on Labor Day. The only other scheduled Friday-Monday event on Tour is the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Nick Watney seized the points lead from Tiger Woods with last week’s come-from-behind win at the Barclays – he’s up 532 points on No. 2 Brandt Snedeker, not that you probably know how points are accumulated. It looked like Sergio Garcia was going to win for the second week in a row on Tour but he shot a final-round 75 last Sunday. Watney closed with a 69 and beat Snedeker by two shots. Garcia, by the way, is taking this week off. At No. 10 in points, he’s all but a lock to reach the Tour Championship regardless.
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Tiger and Rory McIlroy were the co-favorites last week, but Woods finished T38 after a final-round 76 and is now No. 3 in points. McIlroy was T24 and dropped one spot to No. 4 in points.
There were six players who entered last week outside the Top 100 who played their way into this week’s event: Graham DeLaet was the big riser with a T5 finish at the Barclays. He jumped from No. 106 in points to 44th, meaning he’s in great shape to move on to the No. 3 event, the BMW Championship next week. Also advancing at the Barclays: Jonas Blixt (No. 101 to 97), Tommy Gainey (102-91), Bob Estes (103-62), David Hearn (108-67) and Jason Day (113-88). The biggest name currently outside the Top 70 to advance to the BMW is probably former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel at No. 71. The “bubble boy” at No. 70 is Brian Davis.
This week also is huge for the U.S. Ryder Cup team as captain Davis Love III will make his four wild-card picks at the conclusion of the Deutsche Bank. Most believe that Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk have a lock on two of those. Watney and Snedeker certainly made statements last week to earn spots. Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Bo Van Pelt are other top candidates.
Webb Simpson is the defending champion of this event. He drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff after leader Chez Reavie finished with a bogey on what was the easiest hole at the TPC Boston. Simpson would win the playoff on the second hole, No. 17. Simpson, of course, won this year’s U.S. Open but his wife had the couple’s second child not long after and he hasn’t been the same since. Last week’s missed cut was Simpson’s second in his past three events. He is a 33/1 long shot on Bovada this week.
Expect plenty of scoring at TPC Boston. In this tournament’s history, the worst winning score was 14-under, and three times the champion ended up at least 20-under.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Deutsche Bank Championship Favorites
Tiger is the 10/1 favorite at Bovada – I hit on him finishing outside the Top 10 a week ago. His T38 was his worst finish in which he played the weekend since a T40 at the Players Championship. And it’s time to start wondering about Tiger on the weekend. He shot 72-76 to fall out of contention at the Barclays, 74-72 at the PGA Championship, 70-73 at the British Open and 75-73 at the U.S. Open. Woods has played this event seven times (not last year), won it in 2006 and has two runner-up finishes.
McIlroy is at 12/1. He didn’t compete in the playoffs last year but did play this tournament in 2010 with a 37th-place finish. The world No. 1 actually did everything well last week but putt as he ranked last of 75 in strokes gained – putting.
Luke Donald (14/1), Johnson (16/1) and Jason Dufner (18/1) round out the Top-5 favorites. Donald finished a solid T10 last week and appears to love this course. Donald, who could reclaim the world No. 1 ranking this week, has a 67.25 stroke average at TPC Boston over the last two years, finishing in the Top 3 both times.
Johnson finished T3 last week for his first Top-5 finish since his lone win of 2012 at the St. Jude Classic the week before the U.S. Open. He was T42 and T57 the past two years in Boston but T4 in 2009. Dufner, meanwhile, took last week off. He deserved it as Dufner has six Top-7 finishes (two wins) in his past nine events. Dufner has played this event the past three seasons, with one Top-10 finish: runner-up in 2009.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Deutsche Bank Championship Predictions
My Top-10 picks for the week: “yes” on Tiger (-120), Donald (+130) and Johnson (+150). “No” on McIlroy (-110), Adam Scott (-325) and Lee Westwood (-350).
I definitely don’t like Simpson to repeat and would take him outside the Top 10 if there was a prop. As a long shot, Tim Clark at 50/1 is highly interesting. His T10 last week was his fourth straight finish of T15 or better. He has yet to finish in the Top 10 in Boston in six tries, however.
But my choice is Snedeker at 25/1. He is playing extremely well, has the added motivation of the Ryder Cup and finished T3 in Boston a year ago and T5 in 2011. Snedeker gets career Tour win No. 4 and his first since January’s Farmers Insurance Open.
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