Storylines from THE NORTHERN TRUST
August 18, 2017
By Jeff Shain, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson get back on track with birdie at Northern Trust
• COURSE: Glen Oaks Club (Composite), 7,350 yards, par 70. Founded in 1924, Glen Oaks Club began on land carved out of the William K. Vanderbilt estate south of Long Island’s Lake Success. A need to expand in the late 1960s sent the club to a 250-acre site in Old Westbury, where Joe Finger was brought in to design three nine-hole loops. The layout remained largely unchanged until 2011, when members approved a major renovation and hired Craig Currier away from Bethpage State Park to oversee the project. The PGA TOUR came calling two years ago when seeking a site to step in for Liberty National, which was set as host until being awarded the Presidents Cup. The tournament course will draw from all three nines – Nos. 1-3 and 6-9 of the White course, Nos. 4 and 5 from the Red and the entire Blue layout.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,000 points.
• CHARITY: The Tackle Kids Cancer program is the official charity of The Northern Trust, helping provide care for young patients and fund pediatric cancer research. Other donations are made to the American Red Cross, the YMCA of Long Island, The First Tee of Metropolitan New York and Birdies for the Brave.
• FIELD WATCH: FedExCup points leader Hideki Matsuyama and new PGA Championship king Justin Thomas head a lineup currently set for 120 at the opening playoff stop. … Defending FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy is entered, after hinting of taking a long break after the PGA Championship to rest a rib flareup. … Masters champ Sergio Garcia will sit out the playoff opener for the third consecutive year, while Adam Scott is awaiting the birth of his second child. Brandt Snedeker (ribs), Scott Piercy and Dominic Bozzelli (both undisclosed) are the other absentees. … Summer winners Xander Schauffele (Greenbrier Classic) and Grayson Murray (Barbasol Championship) head up the list of dozen rookies expected to crack the 2017 playoff lineup.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Bob Gilder (1982 at Westchester CC), Jason Day (2015 at Plainfield CC).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Brandt Snedeker (3rd round, 2011 at Plainfield CC).
• LAST YEAR: Patrick Reed picked up a playoffs victory and a Ryder Cup berth in one fell swoop, overcoming an early two-shot deficit to take control on the back nine and end a 55-start winless drought. An early bogey left Reed two shots behind Rickie Fowler at Bethpage Black, but he birdied three of his next four holes to pull even. He pushed in front with Fowler’s bogey at No.11 and never looked back, able to absorb a closing bogey for a one-stroke win over Sean O’Hair and Emiliano Grillo. The victory locked up a Ryder Cup return for Reed, who delivered a rousing performance in the U.S. win at Hazeltine. Fowler’s closing 74 dropped him to seventh and out of an automatic Ryder Cup spot, though Davis Love III later made him a captain’s pick.
• STORYLINES: Matsuyama, Thomas and No.3 Jordan Spieth are separated by just 198 points atop the FedExCup points race, with a gap of 205 points down to Dustin Johnson in fourth. That quartet also stands as the only men to claim multiple victories during the regular season. … Thomas tees it up for the first time since becoming a major champion, which also happened to be his first top-25 finish since June. His first three wins of 2016-17 came in a 12-week span that bookended the Christmas break. … Though Johnson has cooled off since back-to-back-to-back wins just before the Masters, he’s been no worse than 17th since returning from the Open Championship. ... At the back of the points list, entrants endeavor to crack the top 100 for a berth in the Dell Technologies Championship outside Boston. Typically, a half-dozen play their way into the second playoff stop from outside the top 100.
• SHORT CHIPS: Jim Furyk, whose 34 FedExCup playoff starts are tied for No.7 all-time, won’t be around at all this year after failing to qualify for the postseason. He had just one top-10 finish in 18 starts. … Spieth last year became just the second defending FedExCup champion to make it all the way back to East Lake 12 months later, placing ninth in the final standings. Snedeker was the other, returning in 2013.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). Saturday, 8:10 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups). Sunday, 8:20 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).