Golf Pick 'Em: Northern Trust matchups

·5 min read

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Golf Pick 'Em is back for another season of picks and prizes in the NBC Sports Predictor app.

The free-to-play game has returned in 2021 and continues this week with The Northern Trust. Each week participants will choose between a series of 10 head-to-head matchups, plus select an overall tournament champion and winning score.

Participants can compete for weekly cash prizes, with a $50,000 jackpot available for any participants who earn a perfect score (increasing up to $100,000 during some of the biggest events of the year). There will also be at least $1,000 awarded each week in guaranteed cash and prizes, even if there is no player with a perfect score.

Here's a look at some of the keys to this week's set of 10 matchups as the PGA Tour kicks off the postseason at Liberty National:

Collin Morikawa vs. Jordan Spieth

Keys: The top two players in the points race as the postseason kicks off. Morikawa nearly added a bronze medal to his claret jug last month, then finished T-26 in Memphis in his most recent start. Spieth had a resurgent season highlighted by a win in San Antonio and has finished T-19 or better in five straight starts. He finished T-6 two years ago the last time this event was at Liberty National.

Edge: Spieth

Jon Rahm vs. Xander Schauffele

Keys: The U.S. Open champ against the Olympic gold medalist. Rahm missed out on Tokyo because of an ill-timed COVID-19 result, and he has not played since a T-3 at The Open after skipping the WGC in Memphis. Schauffele followed his Olympic triumph with a T-46 at TPC Southwind. Two years ago Rahm was T-3 here while Schauffele missed the cut.

Edge: Rahm

Rory McIlroy vs. Dustin Johnson

Keys: This matchup features the last two FedEx Cup champs, both needing to make a move soon to challenge for a win this time around. McIlroy captured the season-long title two years ago but starts the week at No. 26, having finished T-12 in Memphis after losing the bronze medal playoff in Tokyo. Johnson is the defending FedEx champ and is No. 17 in points with three top-10s in his last six starts dating back to June. McIlroy was T-6 in 2019, while Johnson finished T-24.

Edge: Johnson

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Patrick Reed vs. Abraham Ancer

Keys: The last time this tournament was played at Liberty National, these two finished 1-2 with Reed taking the trophy. Captain America returns this time around looking for some Ryder Cup momentum, having been a late scratch from last week's Wyndham in the wake of his last-minute call-up for the Olympics. Ancer finally broke through two weeks ago, winning his first Tour title in a playoff, and he has finished T-14 or better in three of his last four starts. Reed has won the playoff opener twice, both here in 2019 and at Bethpage in 2016.

Edge: Reed

Viktor Hovland vs. Kevin Kisner

Keys: Is this a potential Ryder Cup matchup? Kisner took a big stride toward Whistling Straits last week, topping a six-man playoff to win the Wyndham. It got him into the top 30 in the points race and marked his third top-10 finish in his last five starts. Hovland's T-36 finish in Memphis broke a run of three straight top-15 finishes including a win in Germany. Kisner finished T-12 here in 2019 and played well in the 2017 Presidents Cup.

Edge: Kisner

Adam Scott vs. Patrick Cantlay

Keys: Scott had the Wyndham title on his putter blade but let it slip away, missing a 4-foot putt that would have ended a six-man playoff. Now he'll look to bounce back on a course where he won the playoff opener back in 2013. Cantlay seems poised to make his Ryder Cup debut next month but remains in search of his first top-10 finish since winning the Memorial Tournament in June. He finished T-12 at Liberty National in 2019.

Edge: Cantlay

Hideki Matsuyama vs. Harris English

Keys: The last time these two matched up, it was in a playoff at TPC Southwind eventually won by Abraham Ancer. Matsuyama is making his fourth start in a row, having missed the cut last week in Greensboro, and he finished T-30 here two years ago. English let a third win slip away in Memphis and will look to bounce back in the playoff opener as he remains in the Ryder Cup mix. Two years ago he was in the KFT Finals when Liberty National last hosted, but now he's a top-10 player in the world.

Edge: English

Justin Thomas vs. Bryson DeChambeau

Keys: Thomas made his U.S. team debut at Liberty National, helping the Americans to a win in the 2017 Presidents Cup. He finished the regular season at No. 9 in points but hasn't cracked the top 20 in his last three starts across a major, Olympics and WGC. DeChambeau struggled down the stretch at Southwind, dropping into a T-8 finish that marked his first top-10 since May.

Edge: Thomas

Brooks Koepka vs. Webb Simpson

Keys: Koepka can probably book his ticket to Whistling Straits, while Simpson is looking to join him. Koepka broke a run of three straight top-6 finishes with an underwhelming showing two weeks ago in Memphis, and he finished T-30 at Liberty National in 2019. Simpson missed the massive Wyndham playoff by a single shot for his third straight top-20 finish, and he was T-18 here two years ago.

Edge: Koepka

Sam Burns vs. Jason Kokrak

Keys: Two players who surprised this season while racking up some wins. Burns broke through at Innisbrook and lost in a playoff two weeks ago in Memphis, pushing him to the fringe of the Ryder Cup discussion. Kokrak won twice this season, including at Colonial, and will look to improve upon a missed cut last week at Sedgefield at a course where he finished T-12 two years ago.

Edge: Kokrak