The PGA Tour: The FedEx Cup Playoffs Preview

PGA Tour: The Wyndham Championship Preview

Our golf writer previews the FedEx Cup Playoffs set to get underway on 24 August at the Glen Oaks Golf Club. 

That oh so American ‘playoff’ tradition gets under away on the PGA Tour this weekend, with the lucrative FedEx Cup playoff series heading towards Long-Island for this course’s first ever PGA event. Formerly known as the Westchester Classic before the FedEx Cup assimilated it into the Barclays, it will be going under the moniker of the Northern Trust Open for the first time this weekend.

There’s always a fascinating dichotomy to this event, with the elite players priming themselves for a shot at the ultimate title, while the fringe characters are immersed in a ticking clock scenario to make the top 100 and earn their spot in next weekend’s event.

The FedEx Cup Playoffs | 24 August - 27 August | The Northern Trust Open | Glen Oaks Golf Club, Long-Island

Glen Oaks Golf Club takes over from Bethpage this year, with Bethpage contributing designer Craig Currier highly influential in the course’s design. It’s a typically monstrous layout, measuring over 7,350 yards (including a behemoth of a par 5 that measures over 6,000 yards). The golf course bares remarkable similarities with both Augusta and Muirfield, with tight tree-lined fairways spanning the expansive courses. There are also typically fast Poa Annua greens that will suit those with precision iron-play.

Looking back at the winner’s list of this event, it’s clear that the crème de le crème of the golfing world thrive at this point of the season. Of the last 7 winners of this event, all of those players have featured in ether a President’s Cup or Ryder Cup team. Hideki Matsuyama perhaps rightfully leads the markets, while the likes of Spieth and McIlroy typically vie for the media spotlight. Newly minted Major Winners Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas look likely to contend, while Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott are the major absentees this week.

Past Winners
2016: Patrick Reed (-9)
2015: Jason Day (-19)
2014: Hunter Mahan (-14)
2013: Adam Scott (-11)
2012: Nick Watney (-10)

To Win Outright
Hideki Matsuyama 10/1 | Jordan Spieth 11/1 | Rory McIlroy 11/1 | Ricky Fowler 12/1 | Dustin Johnson 14/1

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Value Bets

Gary Woodland- To Win (80/1), To Place (17/1)
Gary Woodland has been on my periphery for a few weeks now, and I can’t believe he sits at 80/1, giving his distance. He currently sits at 13th for total driving, which is incredible when coupled with a 15th for greens in regulation. This all points at a player in exceptional form from tee to green- which is essential here. He had a respectable T22 appearance at Quail Hollow, and really impressed with a 4th place finish in Canada. What was even more impressive about his outing in America’s more demure neighbour was his putting stats. His putting- long his Achilles heel- stabilized and he ultimately finished 26th in total putting. So it seems as if the key elements of his game look to be in lockstep for a push this week.

Louis Oosthuizen- To Win (40/1), To Place (17/2)
Completing the Grand Slam of 2nd place finishes is perhaps one of the least desired feats that a golfer could want to achieve. But it does hint at the South African’s preternatural ability to come to life in major events- let’s not also forget that 2nd place finish at the Players. Oosthuizen is clearly tremendous from tee to green and putted far more consistently at Quail Hollow. He also boasts an extraordinary record in the FedEx Cup Playoff events, with 8 top 20 finishes in 9 starts prior to East Lake. He has had tremendous results at corollary courses Augusta and Firestone and looks inviting at that price.

Paul Casey- To Win (33/1), To Place (7/1)
Going down the Paul Casey road always seems such a novel idea. His consistency and pure ball striking ability leaves me stunned that he hasn’t been in the winner’s circle for so long. He is currently T33 for proximity to the hole, while he sits in an incredible 3rd for greens in regulation. Add to that is the fact that he is 15th in total driving, which should bode well for this course. His putting has shown steady improvement, as evidenced in total putting stats that put him T27 at Bridgestone. His form at Augusta could also be telling: his last three finishes have been T6, T4 and 6th respectively.

The Man to Beat- Jason Day- To Win (18/), To Place (39/10)
Of all the elite players leading the markets, Jason Day perhaps represents the best value this week. His T9 finish at Quail Hollow could have been so different had the weekend matched Friday’s exploits. Day is something of a Poa Annua aficionado and he has shown a real love for this event in recent years. In the last three editions of this event he has finished 4th, 1st and 2nd respectively. His game seems to have turned a corner in recent weeks, with some of those remarkable long-putts even dropping at Quail Hollow.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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