While predictable, it's still fascinating how perspective over time shapes opinion.
When PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done launched using FedExCup points to measure performance, it took me a week just to get over the surprise that earnings wouldn't be used. After all, the FedExCup era started in 2007, so it's been ingrained in our thick skulls for much longer that only money should determine league champions.
I'm thankful that I'm patient because the FedExCup points-based scoring system presents a different game that modifies strategy and extends the season. It very much sets up a Playoffs of our own because fantasy contenders need to have success in the regular season and in the three-event series upon us. Years down the road, I've grown to legitimately love it.
With FedExCup points quadrupled for THE NORTHERN TRUST, the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship (which will mimic the first two events even though actual FedExCup points will not apply to the golfers), even cellar dwellers have hope. In earnings-based leagues, those scraping the bottom were mathematically eliminated weeks ago. That difference is felt right now.
Only 70 golfers will survive the first round of the Playoffs, so opening seeding should be used to influence your decision at Liberty National.
Of the 121 golfers committed, 49 teed it up here in 2013. For course-history buffs, when you factor in the 2009 edition, the best records belong to Adam Scott (T58-Win), Tiger Woods (T2-T2), Justin Rose (T41-T2), Nick Watney (T6-T9), Webb Simpson (8th-T15), Jim Furyk (T15-T6), Phil Mickelson (T52-T6) and Jason Day (T12-T25). Overall, 26 golfers competed in both, seven of whom also appeared in the 2017 Presidents Cup.
Despite all of that experience, you'll note the absence of THE NORTHERN TRUST – and the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club for that matter – in Future Possibilities below. Because it's been six years since the last time Liberty National hosted this tournament, general experience is of greater value than success. This is to say that I wouldn't endorse or rule any golfer out based on it.
Continue to allow the variables of your situation dictate your direction. If you're chasing and still have the likes of Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and other A-listers who make sense every time they play, the time is overdue to invest. League leaders may consider playing defense because they don't want to forfeit the lead with the finish line in view, but they also don’t want to be without their own A-lister in two weeks at East Lake. Of course, this is when long-range planning matters. It's why I've holstered Justin Rose for the TOUR Championship.
The name of the game at Liberty National is irons. You'll see drivers, but the 1-woods won't define the leaderboard. So, in addition to Scott and Simpson, consider Patrick Cantlay, Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, if available, and no matter your position.
The most exciting players entering the Playoffs – that is, those with higher ceilings who still have more to give – are Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel. The underwhelming among the household names right now include Mickelson, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland and Jordan Spieth.
I'm curious how Jason Day, Francesco Molinari, Marc Leishman and others open. All are worthy of consideration this week and next, and I wouldn't talk you out of any if you have to gun it, but I'm slow-playing each. The philosophy is simple. If any play well, then piggybacking them at the BMW and during the Playoffs when golfers have proven to find a groove (and win multiple times in the same series) will be a no-brainer. If any don't play well, then you'll have been happy not to abstain.
The No. 1 option for two-man gamers is Andrew Putnam. He's developed into a steady, next-tier talent who happens to be playing really well of late. Tyrrell Hatton is the 1a. Of course, you can't go wrong with Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff. Might as well hop into their honeymoons. Scott Piercy and Ryan Palmer also make sense.
Last and certainly not least, just in case your earnings-based league still hasn't determined how to adjust for the TOUR Championship for which the money earned is the FedExCup bonus money, and thereby would skew your season if you used it, please read my proposed solutions. I reviewed your situation during the second week of the season and have revisited it at times and in various media since. As always, if you have any questions, enter them in the discussion space below or connect with me on Twitter.
Rank Expert Pick Comment 34th
Billy Horschel It's his time of year and he's comin' in hot. 42nd
On the Mark
Jason Day Just trying to figure out my batting order for the FedExCup Playoffs, where there are quadruple points. Jason has a lot of experience at Liberty National and I like the addition of the controlled, lower ball-flight to the arsenal. Couple that with his prowess on bent greens and I am ready to roll! 44th
Tommy Fleetwood The disappointment of the final round at Royal Portrush didn't follow him to Memphis so I'm leaning on his red-hot form to continue on another "new" track. Breezy coastal golf with tight targets should have his full attention as he looks to breakthrough on TOUR. 80th
I’m hoping that my patience will be rewarded and Thomas will help me capitalize on the increased points available in the Playoffs. 242nd
Dustin Johnson The Hail Marys start now for my team. A few years back I was holding up the rear before DJ collected for me at THE NORTHERN TRUST. I need a similar miracle. 494th
After a top-10 finish in Memphis, Bubba is poised to make a run in the FedExCup Playoffs.
NOTE: Select golfers committed to the tournament are listed alphabetically. Future tournaments are sorted chronologically and reflect previous success on the courses on which the tournaments will be held in 2018-19. The numerical values in parentheses represent the order of relative confidence of where to use each golfer if multiple sites are listed (e.g. 1 for strongest, 2 for next-strongest and so on). To present weighted confidence in real time, numerical values will not change all season no matter how many tournaments remain listed for each golfer. All are pending golfer commitment.
Sergio Garcia … TOUR Championship (2)
Billy Horschel … TOUR Championship (1)
Dustin Johnson … TOUR Championship (7)
Hideki Matsuyama … TOUR Championship (5)
Rory McIlroy … TOUR Championship (6)
Ryan Moore … TOUR Championship (9)
Jon Rahm … TOUR Championship (7)
Justin Rose … TOUR Championship (2)
Xander Schauffele … TOUR Championship (1)
Adam Scott … TOUR Championship (3)
Jordan Spieth … TOUR Championship (8)
Justin Thomas … TOUR Championship (3)
Bubba Watson … TOUR Championship (8)
Tiger Woods … TOUR Championship (5; defending)