The 12th edition of the FedExCup Playoffs tees off with THE NORTHERN TRUST at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. It's the fourth time that the 27-hole facility due north of New York City has hosted the tournament, most of any in the FedExCup era.
A composite course utilizing all three nines on the A.W. Tillinghast original serves as the backdrop. It's a par 35-36--71 with three par 5s and features slightly different routing than what qualifiers in 2008, 2010 and 2014 experienced. Scroll beneath the ranking for more on the track, what it rewards and other nuggets.
POWER RANKINGS: THE NORTHERN TRUST
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 20 Paul Casey 19 Hideki Matsuyama 18 Tommy Fleetwood 17 Tony Finau 16 Adam Scott 15 Zach Johnson 14 Patrick Cantlay 13 Rafa Cabrera Bello 12 Brandt Snedeker 11 Patrick Reed 10 Jordan Spieth 9 Jon Rahm 8 Jason Day 7 Tiger Woods 6 Francesco Molinari 5 Justin Rose 4 Webb Simpson 3 Brooks Koepka 2 Justin Thomas 1 Dustin Johnson
Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
With the cooperation of Mother Nature, Ridgewood Country Club is poised to present a proper platform to showcase the 2017-18 qualifiers for the FedExCup Playoffs. Seasonable and dry conditions are expected throughout with daytimes highs in the low to mid-80s and light breezes.
FedExCup points for all entrants are carried into the Playoffs, but points earned in the Playoffs are quadrupled. The top 100 in the updated ranking will advance to next week's Dell Technologies Championship. So, with jobs already secure for 2018-19, those outside the bubble have everything to gain.
Ridgewood is the kind of test that will reward those who can balance aggression with patience, a combo that typically rewards experience. The course tips at 7,385 yards and boasts a stern trio of par 5s, but overall, the composite course plays into the grips of ball-strikers and shot-shapers who also know how to convert on their scoring opportunities.
When it last hosted THE NORTHERN TRUST in 2014, Ridgewood yielded middle-of-the-pack percentages in fairways hit (63.99), greens in regulation (64.80) and par-breaker conversion rate after hitting GIR (29.11). Scoring averages also have reflected the diplomatic layout. After debuting at 71.406 in 2008, it decreased incrementally to 70.977 in 2010 and 70.809 in 2014.
En route to his victory here during a primarily dry tournament in 2014, Hunter Mahan led the field in greens hit (58), but he was one of only two who posted a top 10 who also finished inside the top 10 in GIR. Seven of the 12 who finished inside the top 10 on the leaderboard ranked inside the top 10 in strokes gained: putting. Mahan slotted 15th. Patrick Reed (T9) was worst of the dozen and he was still a lofty 26th. Mahan's 14-under 270 was the lowest of the first three winners at Ridgewood. This goes to show how familiarity translates into lower scoring.
Bentgrass greens are average in size and will run upward of a comfortable 12-and-a-feet on the Stimpmeter. That leaves the primary defense around the edges where rough as high as four inches is waiting.
A secondary defense, at least for some, and in line with the value of experience, is that 51 of the 120 in the field (as of Monday) competed in THE NORTHERN TRUST four years ago. Rickie Fowler (partial tear in right oblique; 17th in the FedExCup standings), Rory McIlroy (rest; 21st) and Henrik Stenson (left elbow; 50th) also pegged it here in 2014, but each is sitting this edition out. Patrick Rodgers (wedding in Italy; 93rd) and Bud Cauley (continued recovery from multiple injuries suffered in an automobile crash on June 1; 122nd) also are not in play.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton reviews and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings (THE NORTHERN TRUST)
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (FedExCup Playoffs), Sleepers, Facebook Live, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done
THURSDAY: Champions One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.