Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider will include reviews by Hideki Matsuyama, Sam Burns, Cameron Smith, Tony Finau and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Following the 2020 playoffs, where FedExCup points were tripled to accommodate lost playing time due to the unplanned shortening of the regular season, points has again quadrupled for the 2021 edition. THE NORTHERN TRUST is the season’s final tournament with a cut. The low 65 and tie after 36 holes will survive. The top 70 in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of THE NORTHERN TRUST advance to next week’s BMW Championship.
86 golfers in the field at Liberty National competed when the course last hosted this tournament in 2019. The highest finisher who has not returned is Louis Oosthuizen (T6), who is also the only qualifier to sit out. the series opening. He rests a sore throat. The South African opens as an 8-seed and is expected to advance to the TOUR Championship.
Following its debut in 2009, Liberty National underwent significant changes for its second staging in 2013. The track routing was reconfigured for the 2017 Presidents Cup, and then traditionally played for this tournament in 2019, but the setup continues to evolve.
With new space for back-tees on par-3 fourth, par-4 seventh and par-5 13th holes, but with par-3 11th promised to be no longer than 230 yards (reflecting a minimum reduction of 20 yards), total length is up 40 yards to 7,410. Pairs are 36-35—71 with three pairs of 5s. Recent updates for contour, bunkering and other improvements will be new to everyone.
Because greens average around 4,650 square feet, which is below average by PGA TOUR standards, hitting them in regulation is the most challenging component to rise on this leaderboard. However, after scoring an average of 71,151 in 2013, the field jumped to 70,246 two years ago. It was an average of 11.1 greens in regulation per. Round and 3.87 pairs of breakers per. GIR, which is a cut that is beneficial to the golfer. Bentgrass greens are ready to touch as long as 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, but they reward precision because of their size.
On the way to a victory with a blow at Liberty National in 2019, Patrick Reed ranked T8 in fairway hit, T5 in GIR and 29th in converting those chances into par-breakers. He also showcased his famous touch by finishing second in scrambling (17-for-21) for writing 16-under 268.
Liberty National’s exposure to open water makes it more vulnerable to wind, but at worst, breezes will be moderate during the tournament. The threat of rain and boomers exists everywhere, but a smaller field of 13 and a half hours of daylight will help with long delays. Daytime temperatures will rise in the 80s.
In addition to a projection of the top 30 to reach the finals, Tuesday’s special Power Rankings for the FedExCup Playoffs will include trends and historical data.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton resumes watching each tournament from many angles. Look for his next contribution as planned.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (FedExCup Playoffs); Sleepers; Fantasy Insider
SUNDAY: Qualifications, Restructure, Medical extensions, Rookie Watch
* – Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s expert selection for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which will also be released on Tuesday.