The first event of the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs tees off on Thursday (AEDT) as this year’s points leaders descend on Liberty National in New Jersey for the 2019 Northern Trust.
This time-honoured event will feature over 20 of the world’s top golfers, including last year’s FedEx Cup winner Justin Rose and defending Northern Trust champion Bryson DeChambeau.
Australians have won this event on five separate occasions, the most recent being Jason Day in 2015. The top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings are eligible to make the Playoffs, of which Brooks Koepka opens as the early favourite.
As the field prepares to be cut in half in the early hours of Monday morning, we’ve analysed all of the top hopefuls as well as a few sleepers in our complete 2019 Northern Trust Preview below.
2019 Northern Trust Best Bet
Justin Rose – $21.00
The Englishman is absolutely rolling right now as he hopes to improve on his co-runner-up finish behind Adam Scott in 2013. Rose has finished inside the Top 20 in his last four events, including a stunning round of 68 at TPC Southwind a fortnight ago. After missing the cut at last year’s Northern Trust, you can expect a motivated style of play from Rose this weekend. He currently ranks fifth in putting on Tour, which should help Rose make birdie on the par-3 14th and par-4 16th.
2019 Northern Trust Top 5 Finish
Tommy Fleetwood – $7.00
The Englishman currently sits 19th on the FedEx leaderboard as he still searches for his first ever win on Tour. Don’t be surprised if Fleetwood finally cashes in this weekend though after following up his resounding runner-up at The Open with a T4 two weeks ago at TPC Southwind. It’s hard to fault Fleetwood right now and with some Playoff experience under his belt, the 28-year-olds maturity should shine through.
2019 Northern Trust Top 10 Finish
Francesco Molinari – $5.00
The Italian looks a real dark horse this weekend as he looks to make ground in the FedEx standings. Molinari failed to defend his title at The Open Championship, but there was no shame in his T11 finish. The good news is the 36-year-old has had nearly a month off since then to prepare for the Playoffs, which puts him in good stead to make up for back-to-back cuts at the last two Northern Trust’s.
Jason Day – $5.50
It’s been a rough go of late for the 2015 Northern Trust champion. Jason Day failed to finish inside the Top 30 at TPC Southwind a fortnight ago after missing the cut at The Open Championship the week before. Course familiarity should do him some good this weekend though as Day looks to add to a resume that includes a win, as well as T12 and a T25 at Liberty National.
2019 Northern Trust Top 20 Finish
Webb Simpson – $2.00
Back-to-back runner up performances headline Simpson’s resume as he heads into the weekend full of confidence. For the record, Simpson has also finished inside the Top 15 twice at Liberty National and is also among the best with the putter on Tour this year.
2019 Northern Trust Field
Brooks Koepka – $9.00
Returns from a stunning victory at the St. Jude Invitational hoping to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish at the Northern. Koepka is well-rested since his last tournament two weeks ago and currently ranks ninth in the PGA’s tee-to-green rating. The FedEx Cup leader is the man every player is chasing as the Playoffs begin and after leading the regular season in points, Koepka should no doubt finish inside the Top 10 yet again.
Rory McIlroy – $11.00
The World No. 3 returns to Liberty National after last year’s absence hoping to cash in on his red-hot form. McIlroy tied for fourth at TPC Southwind a fortnight ago and is hoping to cap off a frustrating run in the majors with a big victory this weekend. The Irishman has plenty on the line after missing out on a chance to knock Koepka from the top spot in the FedEx standings at the St. Jude Invitational. He’s still within reach of the American though as he looks to win his second FedEx Cup.
Jon Rahm – $15.00
Jon Rahm has finished inside the Top 20 in his last three tournaments as he searches for his second win of the season. Although Rahm has been largely successful this year, he’s yet to crack a significant win aside from his victory in the Zurich Classic. Although he has the skills to win this, Rahm’s lack of familiarity with Liberty National goes against him this weekend. With that said, the Spaniard owns 14 Top 10’s over the last nine months, so he’s worth including for a Top 10 finish.
Dustin Johnson – $17.00
The 2017 Northern Trust champion once again finds himself among the favourites despite a pretty disappointing month of July. After missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Johnson failed to finish inside the Top 50 at The Open before a T20 finish at TPC Southwind a week later. Even so, the American knows this course and performed exceptionally well when the 2017 Presidents Cup was held at Liberty National. With four Playoff victories to his name, Johnson also knows how to cope with the pressure.
Justin Thomas – $21.00
Has bounced back strongly after missing the cut at the US Open to finish inside the Top 20 at The Open and the St. Jude Invitational last month. Thomas played this course at the 2017 Presidents Cup and although he’s still searching for his first win since last year’s Bridgestone Invitational, he still presents enormous value ranking second in approach-the-green and tee-to-green.
Patrick Cantlay – $23.00
Another win could be right around the corner for the promising 27-year-old. Since winning the Memorial Tournament back in June, Cantlay has strung together two finishes inside the Top 20 to go along with one of the sharpest short games on Tour.
Tiger Woods – $29.00
Tiger’s back problems reappeared in Ireland last month as he missed the cut at The Open Championship. It appears Augusta’s thrilling win back in April has taken a toll on the 43-year-old, and with plenty of golf left to play in the Playoffs, it’s hard to know what to expect this weekend. The Northern Trust is one of the few events Tiger is yet to win, but with injuries still a concern, he’s worth leaving out this weekend.
Adam Scott – $41.00
It’s been a rollercoaster year for Adam Scott after showing so much promise heading into the Masters. Since then, the Aussie has missed the cut twice at the Zurich Classic and The Open Championship. On the flip side, he’s finished Top 10 at the PGA Championship and the US Open, which makes the 2013 Northern Trust champion a bit of a head-scratcher this weekend.
Joaquin Niemann – $81.00
It will take something special for a sleeper to win this year’s Northern Trust, but there’s nothing stopping a guy like Joaquin Niemann from finishing inside the Top 20. In fact, he’s done that on four separate occasions this year – most recently at the Wyndham Championship this week. Niemann’s putting has been phenomenal recently and although this will be his first experience in the Playoffs, don’t be surprised if he challenges some of the favourites.
Kyle Stanley – $126.00
The 31-year-old quietly finished T13 at the Wyndham Championship last week, his seventh Top 25 finish of the year. Stanley is a two-time winner on Tour but certainly hasn’t earned much respect this year. He’s a long shot to win it, but with such much-improved putting, he’s worth including as a roughie.