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Henrik Stenson is back to defend his title at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston as the FedExCup …

FedExCup Playoffs Event No. 2

The Deutsche Bank Championship (DBC)

TPC Boston

Norton, Mass.

TPC Boston

Yards: 7,216 via the scorecard

Par: 71 (35-36)

Greens: Bentgrass with Poa annua; 6,100 square feet on average.

Stimpmeter: 11.5’

Rough: Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass at 4”

Bunkers: 57

Water Hazards: 4

Course Architect: Arnold Palmer (2001); Gil Hanse (2006-current) redesign

Purse: $8,000,000

Winner’s Share: $1,440,000

FexExCup Points: 2,500 to the winner

Defending Champion: Henrik Stenson tied the tournament record by firing 22-under-par to win by two shots over Steve Stricker.

Dates:  Aug 28 – Aug 31

Notes: Only 94 of the top 100 are entered this week as Sergio Garcia (personal), Graeme McDowell (paternity), Paul Casey (paternity) and Dustin Johnson (personal) are not playing this week. Jason Dufner (neck) adds his name to this list just after lunch on Monday as did Justin Rose (personal).

Recent History Lessons

After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 25 of 42 events in 2013-14. This was the red, white and blue’s first win in SIX weeks as Hunter Mahan hoists the trophy. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman, Brian Harman and now Hunter Mahan have won for the USA.

Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed six victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives. Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are the European chalk that has won four of the last six majors dating back to the 2013 U.S. Open. Angel Cabrera and Camilo Villegas are flying the flag for South America; Tim Clark flies it for South Africa.

S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 42 events in 2014. 

Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys

Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. Ryan Moore (30), Zach Johnson (37), Kevin Stadler (33) and Bubba Watson (35), Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30), Matt Jones (33), all were victorious before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35), Justin Rose (33), Tim Clark (38), Geoff Ogilvy (37) Camilo Villegas (32) and Hunter Mahan, 32, have added to the prime-timers trophy case as the season moves along. Look up who else is 32 and we’ll find our winner at the DBC as we’ve now crowned two in a row at that age!

Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy THRICE (25), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.

Australian John Senden (42) and Argentine Angel Cabrera, 44, who won at Greenbrier, are the only two 40-somethings to claim victory this season.

Turn Back the Clock

At this point in the season last year there were 11, first-time winners and just four players with multiple victories Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker. Only Kuchar has cracked the winner’s circle this year and all that took was a hole-out from a bunker on the 72nd hole at RBC Heritage!

This year, Walker and McIlroy (three wins each) join Reed, Watson, Kaymer as multiple winners and there have been just 10, first-time winners.

Pay Attention: It’s FREE!

This is the 12th championship played on this track. Adam Scott won the inaugural TOUR event in 2003.

The DBC has been a part of every FedExCup Playoffs since the inception in 2007.

In 11 previous championships, six winners have been Americans. The last two have been Europeans.

Only one event has ended in a playoff as the 2011 edition was decided in extra holes with Webb Simpson defeating Chez Reavie. Only three other events have been decided by less than two shots.

Steve Stricker was eliminated last week at he did not play at The Barclays. This leaves Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson as the only two people who have a chance to play EVERY TOUR Championship. Mahan will be there as his victory last week gave him 2,500 FedExCup points. Mickelson sits at No. 57 and will need a big performance in the next two weeks to keep his streak alive.

Mahan has started every single Playoff event, 29 of them, over the last seven years.

Chesson Hadley is the only rookie remaining of two in this year’s FEC Playoffs. He’s currently No. 84 and will be eliminated after this week if he does not enter the top 70.

Only Rory Sabbatini (2007), Padraig Harrington (2009) and Dustin Johnson in 2012 have finished in the top 10 in in all four FEC events. Harrington’s worst finish was T6. We’ll see if anyone in 2014 can match this feat. Based on the history, I doubt it!

Only Phil Mickelson has a top 10 finish in at least one event of the Playoffs in every season. He was MDF last week at The Barclays.

The DBC tournament record is 22-under 262 and is shared by Vijay Singh (2008), Charley Hoffman (2010) and Henrik Stenson last year.

Vijay Singh (2006) and Mike Weir (2008) share the course record of 61.

Singh is the only player to win twice at TPC Boston.

No player has defended their championship.

Webb Simpson is the only player to claim their first victory in this event.

The average winning score here is around 19-under over the 11 events. Of the last six winners, three have set the tournament record. #easysauce

Phil Mickelson is the only player to win in his maiden voyage around TPC Boston. So did Adam Scott but it was the first time for EVERYONE in 2003!

This Will Win You a Bar Bet

Only Vijay Singh has won the first two events of the FEC Playoffs in the previous seven years. He won The Barclays and the DBC in 2008 and all he had to do was NOT WD at The TOUR Championship to claim his $10 million. Interestingly enough, Camilo Villegas won the final two events of that season but couldn’t win the title. Rory McIlroy is the only other person to win back-to-back events in the FEC Playoffs as he won the 2012 DBC and the 2012 BMW. Hunter Mahan can tick two of these boxes this week with another win.

Inside the Ropes

For the 12th consecutive season the TOUR returns to TPC Boston. Open for business in 2002, the TOUR hosted its first event the following year as Adam Scott won the inaugural event. The DBC, along with East Lake, has been the two permanent courses on the four course Playoff rota over the first seven years.

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again but anytime the best golfers in the world see the letters TPC they know they must go low to win and this week is not an exception. As I mentioned above, three of the last six winners have set the tournament record (22-under 262) to win. This means birdies, eagles, more birdies and minimal bogeys. Gil Hanse has remolded the place since 2006 to make it better for the members and professionals. Better doesn’t mean harder as the winning scores the last two years have been 20 and 22-under respectfully. The course actually played more difficult before the renovations.

As we’ve seen over the years the big hitter who can dominate the par fives will succeed here but remember Mike Weir also has a piece of the course record. Steve Stricker and Luke Donald have also had multiple podium finishes on this track as well. There is room to spray it off the tee thanks to Arnold Palmer’s original design and the greens are large enough to hold shots from places other than the fairway. With the Stimpmeter only running at 11, putts will be rammed in from everywhere this week.

The players who are in form are the greater threat than the players who must play well this week. I’m looking for guys who rack up birdies for fun because 24 or 25 will be needed to win this week. The greens are over 6,000 square feet and are only running 11’ on the Stimpmeter so it’s hardly a surprise that scores will be low. Henrik Stenson made three bogeys here en route to his record-tying score.

After a decent test in the trees last week at Ridgewood, the top 100 who are NOT on the bubble get a breath of fresh air in a birdie-fest this week. I don’t mind this course in the Playoff rotation because over half of the courses they play each season are similar to this set up. Part of life on TOUR is racking up birdies when necessary and this week qualifies. Usually a birdie barrage will bring more guys than not into the mix as most touring pros can make plenty of them but remember this is the best 100-ish players left on TOUR. It’s not the same as the fields at the birdie-fest events held during the season. Size does matter; so does skill.

Smash it off the tee. Hit the big, slowish greens. Hole putts. Don’t three-putt or make bogeys. Birdie or eagle No. 18 in all four rounds. Post 20-under. Win.

Easy peasy.

Remember that seven of the 11 champions have posted all four rounds in the 60s so getting low is a requirement, not a suggestion.

Call to Order

Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.

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Rory McIlroy (B): It’s hard to look away from a guy who won here just two years ago and has won three of the last four times he’s teed it up. Oh, and he leads the TOUR in birdie average, scoring average and he’s No. 1 in par breakers.

Matt Kuchar (A): His wonderful chip-in at the last hole put him in the top five again last week as he closed with bogey-free 67. He rolled in 20 birdies last week and 21 at TPC Boston last year in his T4 finish. He’s 14th in birdie average and fourth in adjusted scoring. I’ll gladly saddle up with the player who leads the TOUR in top 10s (11) and is hyper accurate off the tee and on the greens.

Adam Scott (A): He’s made 40 cuts in a row. He’s the 2003 champion and has hit the top 10 four other times including three of the last four years before his T53 last year. He’s No.1 in the all-around ranking, second in par breakers and third in both scoring and birdie average. Load it up!

Jim Furyk (B): In 18 starts this season he’s racked up nine top 10s. He’s hit the top eight in four of his last five with the other finish T15. In his last six DBCs he’s finished in the top 10 in half of them. He’s only made 25 cuts in a row and leads the TOUR in scrambling. #grindingaway

Rickie Fowler (A): He’s played here the last four years and has exactly three rounds of 14 in the 60s. His current form trumps those numbers into the ground but if there was a week he didn’t fire, one could see this week being it. Undaunted, I’m supporting the man in the form of his career as he looks to find win No. 2 on TOUR. He’s posted eight top 10s this year and is 22nd in birdie average.

Henrik Stenson (A): His 22-under last year made him the third player in the last six years to tie the tournament scoring record. He gave us a preview last week at Ridgewood as he fired 64 on Friday before a 77-68 finish. Last year he rolled in 25 birdies as he led the field in GIR and I wouldn’t expect much different in the ball-striking department this week either. He’s currently No. 66 in the standings and needs a big week. He was T3 at the PGA with a pair of 66s and a 67 so it won’t surprise me to see him racking up birdies all weekend.

Jason Day (B): He’s six-for-six on this track and was T2 in 2010, T3 in 2011 and T13 last year. If he’s healthy, I’m in. His T2 last week was disappointing and encouraging at the same time. He didn’t regress and I haven’t heard that he’s had any problems with his thumb or wrist. In 24 rounds, 20 of them are par or better so he should be in the mix.

Hunter Mahan (B): He’s the only player in the field that has played every event in the Playoffs and every event at the TPC Boston as he tees it up for a 12th time. He looks to join Vijay Singh as the second player to win the first two events of the FEC. He looks to join Singh, Camilo Villegas and Rory McIlroy as players who have won two playoff events in a row. He’s healthy and happy and even happier after making five birdies in his last eigth holes to easily win The Barclays. He made 21 birdies and led the field in GIR on a considerably harder course.

Patrick Reed (A): Remember that he was 27-under after 54 holes at the Humana? Now you do. He closed with 65 at Firestone for T4. He closed 67-66 at Wyndham to hit the top 25. He had the co-low round on Sunday last week, 65, to finish T9 at The Barclays. He’ll think he’s back at a Monday qualifier with all the birdies he’s going to need to win this week. He should be very comfortable having to have to get low all weekend and his arrows are pointing in the proper direction.

Bill Haas (B): He’s played his last 12 rounds on TOUR (PGA, Wyndham, Barclays) at par or better. He fired 64 on Sunday at Wyndham to share second and his 67 at The Barclays moved him to T15. The only weekend in 25 events he hasn’t played this year was a WD at RBC Heritage. He has scored at will on par fives (2nd) this year and is 38th in par-four scoring. His recent history at TPC Boston is nothing special but he’s been knocking for the last three weeks.

Jordan Spieth (B): In his first trip around this track last season opened 67-66 before sputtering to a round three 72. He tied his shoes a bit tighter on Sunday and rolled out a 62 to back-door the top five (T4). After a T36, 49th and MC run, Spieth started showing signs of life last Sunday with his first round in the 60s in 10. I believe there is nothing better than a big ol’ birdie fest to get his bearings back on track. His best finish this summer is T7 defending his title at the JDC.

Jimmy Walker (C): A week of bombing and gouging saw him finish T7 at Valhalla and I would expect another big finish this week with that recipe. Walker hits it a mile and can really putt. He’s second in birdie average, 10th in scoring and is second in par breakers. He ranks in the top 10 in ALL FOUR birdie stat categories (par 3 birdie or better; par 4 BOB; par 5 BOB and BOB conversion %). He’ll be happy to have a chance to swing his driver comfortably this week as he continues his march to Atlanta.

Ryan Moore (B): He’s 10th in par breaks, 11th in the all-around category and he destroys par threes (first on TOUR) and par fours (10th) routinely. His ball-striking would be higher if he hit it a tad further but he’s 15th in fairways and 10th in greens so I’m down. He has accumulated seven top 10s the season and has been T10 two of the last three years at TPC Boston. He did finish 75th last year after a closing round 77.He’s opened with 64 in two of his last four trips to Boston. #FRL

Charl Schwartzel (C): Last year he broke a two-year curse of not crapping the bed on the weekend. In 2011 he opened 66-66 before 72-73 on the long weekend to cash T21. LAY OFF THE CHOWDAH. In 2012 it was 68-65 before SEVENTY NINE-71 to regress to T47. Last year it was 67-68-67 before even par 71 kept him barely inside the top 25 at T22. If he’s in the preview column, count on a nice, steady top 50. If I don’t rate him, he falls comfortably inside the top 15. #fadeorfollow

Next Best Form/Course Horse

Brandt Snedeker: His streak of three consecutive top six finishes at TPC Boston was busted up last year as he didn’t fire on the weekend and finished T47. He proved to us at Wyndham that he’s very comfortable on tracks where he’s done well before as he finished T5, his best finish of the season. His MC last week broke up a streak of nine straight weekends and I expect him to bounce back this week on a course with perfect slowish greens. He’ll have a chance to be plenty aggressive with his putter and that usually means good things to Sneds. At No. 71 on FEC list, he needs to fire this week.

Marc Leishman: He bombed home 62 in his first trip to Boston to finish T15 and four years later, in 2013, he found 67-64 in the middle of his tourney to finish T16. He also enjoys golf in the North East as he won at the Travelers in 2011 and was T11 this year. He’s figured out the Bentgrass. He’s quietly ranked 12th in the all-around.

John Senden: He’s 10-for-10 at TPC Boston and his last four he’s racked up T11, solo eighth, T21 and solo 12th so this might be what the doctor ordered for the Australian to get back on track. He closed with 66 at The Barclays and now he’s on a track where he’s been comfortable. I like how this is coming together…

Gary Woodland: His problem has been the flat stick and with slow, true greens this week, that should be the least of his worries. He’s advantage is his length and ability to pepper greens and if he makes anything this week he should be in the conversation. His last three have been T19-MC-T13.

Brendon Todd: He’s made 23 cuts from 26 tries this season and he’s also picked up his first win. Gamers might be down on him over the last month as he’s stepped up in class and his results haven’t followed. His last four events have been two majors, a WGC and a FEC Playoff. His best finish in that group was T39. I believe an old-fashioned, TOUR-esque birdie-fest is exactly what the doctor ordered. Sure it’s a big field but it’s a very easy course unlike Hoylake, Firestone, Valhalla or Ridgewood.

Keegan Bradley: Wow, I’m torn here. The simpleton in me says HE’S BACK IN BAHSTAHN AND HE WILL WIN NO DOUBT. The realist in me is wondering what’s been taking him so long to fire in the run up to the Ryder Cup where he is currently status-less. Impressing Tom Watson will take more than MC at Valhalla and one round in the 60s at The Barclays for T53. His last six rounds here are 70 or better and have resulted in T13 and T16 last year. If he doesn’t fire at home this week I’m not sure when he’s going to fire.

Graham DeLaet: Speaking of players who’ll be encouraged that the putter won’t be the most important club in the bag this week, DeLaet blasted his way to third here last year with four rounds under par. He found time for 62 on Sunday before his 69 on Monday put him alone in third as he racked up 23 birdies and an eagle. He bounced from a flu WD at WGC-BI to hit T15 at the PGA but MC last week with 78-67. The 67 tells me that he figured it out quickly and should be back on song this week.

Charley Hoffman: The 2010 winner and tournament record holder has backed up his victory with T31, T26 and T27 in his last three. He’s played Labor Day in six straight at TPC Boston and should be encouraged after his 69-69-69 to close at The Barclays. He’s also had successes in the NE at TPC courses as he’s played well at TPC River Highlands multiple times over the recent past.

Jerry Kelly: With a T11 and T10 in two of his last three at TPC Boston (T53 last year) and seven straight weekends there’s nothing wrong with leaning on the veteran this week. He makes plenty of birdies and is currently 11th in par four birdie percentage. A short-ish course won’t hurt either this week for University of Hartford grad.

William McGirt: He should probably be higher up the list this week based on his back-to-back top 10s and four finishes inside the top 25 but he’s never fired lower than 69 in 10 rounds at TPC Boston. The only other time he’s bagged back-to-back top 10s he followed with a pair of MCs.

Scott Langley: After a pair of 65s and 69s at Wyndham to finish T12, Langley closed with 66 at Ridgewood for T30 so he’s knocking. He starts the week at No. 65.

Bo Van Pelt: With only one round of his last 16 here over par, BVP gets a look this week. With T7, MC, T14 and T13 and only ONE round over 70 in his last four, he’s trying again this week for a big finish that will keep him alive for Cherry Hills. He’s currently No. 73 and the top 70 qualify for next week’s BMW. His course form and current form make sense in most formats this week, especially in deep drafts.

Kevin Stadler: His T10 and T4 in his last two at the DBC will put him on the radar this week. After he couldn’t close the deal in the French Open, he’s only had one top 25 finish in his last four (T19 at Firestone). His ball-striking, as usual, will carry him this week and this track obviously fits his eye.

Take a Chance


Desperation takes on all kinds of forms this time of year

Brian Harman: He won the last birdie-fest on TOUR, the JDC but doesn’t have anything inside the top 25 in his five events since. He leads the TOUR in rounds in the 60s. He’ll need four more this week.

Jason Bohn: His calling card over the years has been racking up birdies on the easier courses on TOUR and this qualifies. He was second here in 2005.

Daniel Summerhays: He makes plenty of eagles and birdies as his ball-striking mirrors his putting. This is a huge step-up in class but this will be his third trip in a row to the DBC. He put all four rounds in the 60s last year to finish T22 and has made three cuts on the bounce and nine of his last 10.

Chris Stroud: He ranks T8 on TOUR in rounds in the 60s and has had most of his successes on tracks where multiple birdies are required. He’s made eight of his last nine weekends.

Ryo Ishikawa: He’s 10th in par-breakers this season so if a longshot is in the cards, make it a guy who can at least rake in birdies and eagles.

Brendan Steele: He’s posted seven of his eight career rounds at 69 or better in finishes of T10 (2011) and T20 last year.

Stewart Cink: He replaces Retief Goosen as the go-to veteran to plug into your deep lineup if a cut-made is all that is required. He’s made 14 of the last 15 weekends on TOUR and his T15 last week was his best finish since the Masters.

David Hearn: Throw out his two final rounds in his last two starts here and he has all six rounds 69 or better. His 75 in 2012 and 71 last year kept him out of the top 25.

Fades

K.J. Choi: In six events since his T2 at Travelers, Choi has missed half of the weekends and his best finish is T64.

Tim Clark: He WD after 27 holes last weekend with an elbow problem. Find a healthy option when there are only 96 guys to choose from this week.

Ben Crane: With back-to-back WDs before his MC last week at Ridgewood, I can’t possibly endorse him this week.

Brendon de Jonge: Sure he was T9 here last year but he was also busting it to get on Nick Price’s Presidents Cup roster. He has nothing better than T37 in his last seven on TOUR. No, thanks.

Charles Howell III: His first three starts here were T9, T4 and T18 from 2004-2006. In seven tries as a Playoff event (2007-2013) he’s never been better than T30. He’s never had a top 20 in any Playoff event. #statsdon’ttellthewholestory

Bubble Boys

These gentlemen have business to attend to this week if they would like to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs:

No. 75 David Hearn: See above

No. 74 Jason Dufner: WD Monday lunch

No. 73 Bo Van Pelt: See above

No. 72 Morgan Hoffmann: he stayed at home and played in front of friends and family on a course he’s seen plenty of times. None of that is happening this week.

No. 71 Brandt Snedeker: See above

No. 70 Scott Brown: Off back-to-back MCs Brown will need his putter to get hot this week. Top five on TOUR in birdies.

No. 69 KJ Choi: No, thanks.

No. 68 Jason Bohn: See above.

No. 67 Shawn Stefani: His driving won’t be as big of an advantage this week but it’s easier to make birdies from the fairway than the rough.

No. 66 Henrik Stenson: He set the course record here last year before winning the whole enchilada.

No. 65 Scott Langley: See above.

Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon

Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.

Coming Wednesday

And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the DBC and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.

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