The 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship will be played from August 31 to September 3 at TPC Boston in Massachusetts, with Webb Simpson looking to defend his title and Nick Watney currently leading the FedEx Cup standings with three events to go. What follows are the top three groups to watch when the event kicks off on Friday.
This will be the main group to watch on Friday, which features the top three players in the FedEx Cup standings at this point in time. Even though Woods and Watney will be garnering the most attention this week, watch out for Brandt Snedeker as well, who finished second last week and currently ranks first on the PGA Tour in strokes gained from putting. His long game can get a bit inconsistent at times, but having a great putter should allow him to be in contention heading into the weekend at this week's event, at least in my view. Look out for Tiger Woods' driving accuracy on Friday as well; if he is hitting a lot of fairways and setting himself up for good approach shots, he could definitely pull through and win this week.
McIlroy is currently fourth in the overall playoff standings and had an up and down week at the Barclay's, with the putter mostly to blame for his woes. He does rank 120th on Tour in strokes gained from putting, so it is not as if it was uncharacteristic of him or anything, but we certainly expected better of him coming off of his fantastic performance at the PGA Championship. Expect Rory to be firing on all cylinders this week, as I think the course plays well into his strengths, and watch out for Jason Dufner as well, who hasn't missed a cut since the Sony Open in January and has three top 10 finishes over his past five starts.
Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, and Rickie Fowler
All three players are well within the Top 30 who are going to play in the final event of the playoffs, but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily safe. Fowler has arguably played the best out of the three over recent weeks, but that is not really saying much considering that he only has one top 25 finish over his past five starts. Fowler was off with his irons for much of last week, hitting just over 50% of the greens in regulation for the event, and if he wants to get things turned around he is going to need to give himself more opportunities for birdie. The same thing can be said of Phil as well, although he struggled a bit with driving accuracy as well (which is really not something new when it comes to his game). I would expect Fowler to finish highest out of the three, with Phil possibly being in contention if he hits more fairways.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for well over a decade.