Dell Technologies Championship Preview & Prediction
A week after Bryson DeChambeau dominated the Northern Trust with a four-shot win (and likely secured his spot on the Ryder Cup team as a captain’s pick), the second leg of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs begins Friday at TPC Boston.
It’s a somewhat limited field, as only the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to play. This week is significant because only the top 70 in the standings after Monday’s finish will advance to the following week’s BMW Championship. A high finish this week can see a player currently in that 70–100 range put themselves in position to qualify not only for the BMW, but for the Tour Championship, which will feature the Top 30 in the standings after the BMW.
On a separate note, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk will announce three of his four captain’s picks on Tuesday, with the final pick coming after the BMW. Most expect Furyk to select Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau with his first three picks, but there are still only two weeks for players like Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Kisner to prove to Furyk they’re worthy of a pick. Winning this week would go a long way toward that goal.
Lastly, this is the last iteration of the Dell Technologies Championship as it’s currently constructed. Next year, the FedEx Cup is being shortened from four events to three, with this tournament being the one that disappears from the schedule. However, the BMW Championship will move to Boston in 2020 and alternate between New York and Boston thereafter.
Justin Thomas is the defending champion this week, as he held off best buddy Jordan Spieth for a three-shot win that propelled him to the FedEx Cup title last season.
Here’s everything you need to know about the event formerly known as the Deutsche Bank Championship.
TPC Boston is an Arnold Palmer design that opened in 2003 but underwent a comprehensive renovation in 2007 led by Gil Hanse, the architect of the Olympic course in Rio and the man who oversaw the restoration of Los Angeles Country Club. Interestingly enough, TPC Boston is a bit of a misnomer, as the course is located roughly 40 miles south of the city in Norton, Mass. It’s actually closer to Providence, R.I., which is about 20 miles south of the course. It’s a treelined, par-71 layout that measures 7,216 yards. The track has hosted a PGA Tour event for 15 straight years and the average winning score has been 17.5 under. Expect birdies early and often this week, as all of the world’s best tee it up at a scoreable track.
TPC Boston a classic American parkland design, with tree-lined fairways guarded by thick rough, intermittent water hazards, big bentgreens surrounded by bright-white bunkers and a bunch of long par 4’s. There are only two par 5’s on the course, the 2nd and 18th holes, and both should be reachable for virtually the entire field.
Forty-four of the top 50 players in the world are competing this week, including the majority of the sport’s biggest stars: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth … you get the picture. It’s better to acknowledge the six top-50 players who are not teeing it up this week: Francesco Molinari (rest), Rickie Fowler (injury), Sergio Garcia (didn’t qualify for playoffs), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (not in playoffs), Thorbjorn Olesen (playing in Europe) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (playing in Europe).
Notably, Rory McIlroy is back this week after skipping the Northern Trust to re-assess his game. Apart from winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in the spring, McIlroy has struggled at times this year, particularly with his wedge play and putting.
Ryder Cup bubble guys to keep an eye on: Finau, Johnson, Kuchar, Kisner, Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Kyle Stanley.
2017 – Justin Thomas (-17)
2016 – Rory McIlroy (-15)
2015 – Rickie Fowler (-15)
2014 – Chris Kirk (-15)
2013 – Henrik Stenson (-22)
2012 – Rory McIlroy (-20)
2011 – Webb Simpson (-15)
2010 – Charley Hoffman (-22)
2009 – Steve Stricker (-17)
2008 – Vijay Singh (-17)
2007 – Phil Mickelson (-16)
2006 – Tiger Woods (-16)
How about Tony Finau at 28-1? The big Utah native has been a model of consistency this year, with three second-place finishes, nine top 10 finishes and 16 in the top 25 in 25 starts. As a result of that steady play and his solo-second at the Northern Trust, Finau is all the way up to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings and 18th in the world rankings. One thing that’s missing from this, his best year as a professional, is a win. It’s coming any tournament now, and there’s no better time for it than now. Finau picks up his long-overdue second PGA Tour win and virtually guarantees his spot on the Ryder Cup team.