Targets for the Northern Trust - 1st Leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs

“In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through the mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway nine,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected, and steppin’ out over the line
H-Oh, Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run”

- Bruce Springsteen

When I think of New Jersey, I think of three things. Golf isn’t one of them. I think of Seaside Heights and that funny, scripted show from MTV that glamorized overly tan men and women caring about the 3 things in life; Gym, Tanning, and Laundry. I think of America’s Armpit, and how most of our countries trash ends up in wonderful places to visit like Newark or Trenton. Finally, there’s nothing more American/New Jersey than The Boss aka Bruce Springsteen. The title of one of his albums, Ashbury Park, is statistically more dangerous than Newark and Trenton, according to a 2015 survey of reported violent crime. I’m not in the business of discussing the worst state in the country. I’m here to discuss the golf course with one of the most picturesque backdrops and subsequent tournament being played this weekend at Liberty National in Jersey City, NJ.

Playoffs? Playoffs? Love that Jim Mora video. Could watch that all day long. Anyways, it’s the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs and I couldn’t be more excited. Last weekend, we saw Vineyard Vines boy J.T. Poston win his first PGA Tour event at Sedgefield in North Carolina. We all know Webb would contend (primarily due to the fact that his daughters name is Wyndham) but apparently growing up and living nearby accentuates the play of those who have ties to NC because Poston grew up 100 miles away from Sedgefield in Hickory, NC. Webb finished 2nd, and Jason Kokrak finished 6th. Here are the specs for Liberty National.

When: August 8th -Augus 11tth, 2019

Where: Jersey City, New Jersey

Course: Liberty National Golf Club | A Par 71 playing at 7370 yards

Last Year’s Winner: Bryson DeChambeau at -18 (however, that was at Ridgewood, which is inherently a much easier course) – Eg: The course record at Liberty National is a -9 (62) by Kevin Chappell in 2013.

Last Year’s Cut: +1

Course Architect – Lindsay Newman, Robert Cup, and Tom Kite

Greens – Bentgrass A4

Key Skills: Strong T2G Play, SG: Approach, Bentgrass Putting

Key Metric: Performance on Bentgrass Greens, Performance in Strong Fields, Performance in New York/New Jersey (big, raucous crowds and Bentgrass), Performance in the FedExCup Playoffs

Additional Metrics – Local Knowledge (The self-proclaimed Bomber, Fireside-Chat Specialist, and Southpaw Deluxe Phil Mickelson is a member of Liberty National – He has been playing uncharacteristically horrible recently, but SLEEPER ALERT, because, Membership)

Bentgrass is a whole different monster than Bermuda. While courses in the Carolina’s are Bermuda-heavy, courses in the Northeast are primarily Bentgrass (A4 if you want to get technical). The exception to the rule (and there’s always one) is Augusta, which features A1 Bentgrass. That’s why I’m using history at The Masters as a frame of reference as well.

Top 10 Performers on Bentgrass Greens (2014-Current)

Dustin Johnson (3.141 strokes gained:total)
Justin Rose (2.863 strokes gained:total)
Rory McIlroy (2.846 strokes gained:total)
Jason Day (2.815 strokes gained:total)
Brooks Koepka (2.639 strokes gained:total)
Jordan Spieth (2.605 strokes gained:total)
Henrik Stenson (2.558 strokes gained:total)
Jon Rahm (2.555 strokes gained:total)
Justin Thomas (2.516 strokes gained:total)
Rickie Fowler (2.504 strokes gained:total)

I would provide the Top 10 Bentgrass Specialists, however, there are no notable players that are in the field this week that specialize in performance on Bentgrass. The closest Bentgrass Specialist is Brooks Koepka, who gains an average of nearly a half-a-shot per round on Bent compared to Bermuda. Probably just one reason why he’s the Vegas favorite of the week.

Top 10 Performers in New York/New Jersey (2014-Current)

Jason Day (3.074 sg:total)
Steve Stricker (2.144 sg:total)
Dustin Johnson (2.132 sg:total)
Rickie Fowler (2.12 sg:total)
Justin Rose (2.097 sg:total)
Jim Furyk (1.87 sg:total)
Webb Simpson (1.83 sg:total)
Bubba Watson (1.807 sg:total)
Matt Kuchar (1.803 sg:total)
Nick Watney (1.782 sg:total)

Top 10 New York/New Jersey Specialists since 2014

(NY/NJ Performance vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Padraig Harrington (1.5 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.302 sg:total)
Rory Sabbatini (1.386 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.442 sg:total)
Ernie Els (1.351 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.456 sg:total)
Nick Watney (1.782 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.944 sg:total)
Hunter Mahan (1.403 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.616 sg:total)
Steve Stricker (2.144 sg:NY/NJ vs. 1.703 sg:total)
Kevin Streelman (1.409 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.968 sg:total)
Bryce Molder (1.012 sg:NY/NJ vs. 0.617 sg:total)
Webb Simpson (1.83 sg:NY/NJ vs. 1.442 sg:total)
Jason Day (3.074 sg:NY/NJ vs. 2.687 sg:total)

Top 10 Performers in the FedExCup Playoffs since 2014

Jason Day (3.366 sg:total)
Dustin Johnson (3.025 sg:total)
Paul Casey (2.973 sg:total)
Jim Furyk (2.719 sg:total)
Adam Scott (2.605 sg:total)
Rickie Fowler (2.546 sg:total)
Henrik Stenson (2.54 sg:total)
Justin Thomas (2.506 sg:total)
Jordan Spieth (2.465 sg:total)
Justin Rose (2.451 sg:total)

Top 15 FedExCup Specialists since 2014

Top 15 FEC Playoff Specialists
(FEC Playoff Performance vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Jim Furyk (2.719 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.514 sg:total)
Ryan Palmer (2.413 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.27 sg:total)
Cameron Tringale (1.505 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.537 sg:total)
John Senden (1.522 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.781 sg:total)
David Hearn (1.491 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.782 sg:total)
Hudson Swafford (1.635 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.935 sg:total)
Paul Casey (2.973 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.391 sg:total)
Morgan Hoffmann (1.214 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.633 sg:total)
Jason Day (3.366 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.807 sg:total)
Bubba Watson (2.301 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.792 sg:total)
Adam Scott (2.605 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.16 sg:total)
Robert Streb (1.257 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.844 sg:total)
Kevin Chappell (1.896 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.487 sg:total)
Jason Kokrak (1.679 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.284 sg:total)
Chris Kirk (1.643 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.305 sg:total)

Top 25 Tee-to-Green Shots Gained 2019

Y-T-D-statistics through: Wyndham Championship, Aug 4, 2019
This Week vs. Last Week
1 1 Rory McIlroy
2 2 Justin Thomas
3 3 Patrick Cantlay
4 4 Dustin Johnson
5 7 Paul Casey
6 5 Hideki Matsuyama
7 6 Adam Scott
8 8 Byeong Hun An
9 9 Brooks Koepka
10 10 Corey Conners
11 11 Tommy Fleetwood
12 12 Gary Woodland
13 13 Jon Rahm
14 17 Webb Simpson
15 14 Matt Kuchar
16 15 Xander Schauffele
17 16 Emiliano Grillo
18 18 Jason Kokrak
19 21 Sergio Garcia
20 20 Lucas Glover
21 25 Adam Svensson
22 22 Jim Furyk
23 19 Kevin Streelman
24 23 Matthew Fitzpatrick
25 26 Justin Rose

Love and Hate for the Northern Trust


Justin Rose – ($9,600 on DK)

Rose likes putting on Bentgrass (2nd on Tour with 2.86 SG since 2014), he plays well when it matters (10th in FEC Performance since 2014), currently ranked 5th in Performance in the Tri-State Area (2.09 SG since 2014) and I’ll add that he finished 2nd in the Barclays in 2013 when LNGC hosted with an -11 (Adam Scott won with a -12). Other notables from that tournament are Tiger who finished 5th, and new daddy of twins Gary Woodland finished 3rd.

Tiger Woods – ($9,000 on DK)

This price seems criminally low for El Tigre. I’m gonna share a few things I know about Tiger – He thrives in big moments, loves big crowds (and easy women), he loves NY/NJ more than I love NY Pizza, he likes Bentgrass greens (2.23 SG), and when the spotlight is on him, he gets it done. He’s well rested, and should be ready for the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

Gary Woodland – ($7,800 on DK)

Maybe I should just change this to the value-section instead. The risk-vs-reward here is appetizing. Gary and his wife just had twins last weekend. Not to get emotional and totally off-topic, but you may remember that Gary and wife Gabby were expecting twins not too long ago and due to complications, one of the two babies did not make it. Gabby must be fertile as hell, because she just gave birth to (Maddox and Lennox). I’m taking the proud Dad this week. As mentioned, he finished 3rd in the Barclays here back in 2013, and since 2014, gained 1.96 shots on the field in FEC.


Hate is a strong word, but it’s easy to pick guys who don’t excel when the heat is on them to play well. Rather than going through the metrics, here are names of guys to potentially avoid due to lack of performance in the FEC.

Top 15 FEC Playoff Anti-Specialists
(FEC Playoff Performance vs. Expected Strokes Gained)

Ben Martin (-0.313 sg:FedExCup vs. 0.859 sg:total)
Ryan Moore (0.661 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.725 sg:total)
Brooks Koepka (1.184 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.244 sg:total)
Marc Leishman (0.948 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.932 sg:total)
Brandt Snedeker (0.771 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.73 sg:total)
Phil Mickelson (1.197 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.15 sg:total)
Brendan Steele (0.675 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.587 sg:total)
Charles Howell III (0.687 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.568 sg:total)
Webb Simpson (1.102 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.925 sg:total)
Charley Hoffman (0.927 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.646 sg:total)
Tony Finau (1.249 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.931 sg:total)
Hideki Matsuyama (1.704 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.337 sg:total)
Kevin Kisner (0.962 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.527 sg:total)
Kevin Streelman (0.737 sg:FedExCup vs. 1.288 sg:total)
Rory McIlroy (2.418 sg:FedExCup vs. 2.792 sg:total)

Again, doesn’t mean avoid these guys, just means that their SG in events that are FEC-related is lower than that of how they play in Non-FEC related events.

That’s all I got. May the Golf Gods forever be on your side. “Liberty Liberty Liberty, Liberty” (god I hate that commercial)

About the Author


  • Etid1976

    Let me know what awesome state you’re from so I can make fun of it.

  • johnnyjakes

    Pennsylvania. Feel free. We’re basicaly West Virginia’s big brother; except that we don’t kiss our cousins. 😎

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