The PGA’s top 125 survivors will try to channel their inner Jon Snow as they march on Liberty National Golf Course to see who can be crowned The King of The North, in Jersey City. The Northern Trust (formerly known as The Barclays) is the first of a three-headed monster of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Who is equipped to handle the first challenge?
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau (+4000) flexed valiantly in 2018, when The Northern Trust was held at Ridgewood Country Club, where he won by a commanding four shots over Tony Finau (+4000). Of late, however, DeChambeau’s armor seems to soften under the weekend heat, so I would search the village for a more imposing hero.
Not surprisingly, Brooks “The Barbarian” Koepka (+900) is the heralded favorite this week. Brawny Brooks has taken on the mantra of crushing all enemies. Koepka was most recently victorious at TPC Southwind by a three-swing slash. Koepka has proven that he has the power to wield the Cup, but will the unsheathing come early at Liberty National?
The young squires…
Leading up to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, there has been an invasion by the game’s youth. The greenhorn movement has been led by the likes of Wyndham Championship winner J.T. Poston (+10000), Barracuda Championship victor Collin Morikawa (+5500), John Deere Classic winner Dylan Frittelli (+15000) and Matthew Wolff (+8000), who stole the 3M Open at the ripe age of 20. These lively twentysomethings have proven their weight thus far, but as Justin Rose exemplified last year, it takes experience and wherewithal to win the Playoffs. Expect that, as the season comes to an end, they all will be weighed, measured… and found wanting.
The blacksmith bet…
Thanks to an impressive early stretch of the season, Matt Kuchar (+4500) sits at third in the FedEx Cup standings. That initial hot metal has cooled of late, but as a former champion and runner-up at The Northern Trust, he knows what it takes to finish strong. My leftover wrought-iron earnings will be riding on Kuchar as he looks to regain the title he once held in 2010.
Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar tee off at 8:16 a.m. ET on Thursday at Liberty National.
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) August 5, 2019
When the sword meets the stone…
Patrick Cantlay (+2200) is well perched in the FedEx Cup standings (sixth). A win this week could propel him toward something even Merlin might marvel at—a potential FedEx Cup trophy. Already a winner on tour this year (the Memorial) and on the heels of a T-12th in Memphis, a surprisingly young, seasoned Cantlay is well positioned for a kingly finish to the year. Sir Patrick is well aware—winter is coming, and he shall thrive in regal fashion as he earns The Northern Trust.