PGA Tour expert picks: The Northern Trust best bets
In a most unusual year on the PGA Tour (not to mention in every other sport), the FedEx Cup Playoffs have arrived even though there are still two more majors remaining on the schedule. The PGA Championship took place less than two weeks ago, but players cannot start focusing on the U.S. Open (postponed from June to September) and the Masters (postponed from April to November). First they have the playoffs, which begin this week with The Northern Trust in Boston, Mass.
The next four tournaments will boast four of the strongest fields in golf outside of the majors—and perhaps even including the majors. Heck, even Tiger Woods is playing this week (and probably the next several weeks if he continues to advance in the playoffs). Woods is joined in Boston by Bryson DeChambeau (a +1100 favorite), Justin Thomas (a +1200 second choice), Rory McIlroy (+1400), and PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (+2200)
Let’s take a look at the best bets heading into first-round action on Thursday. And be sure to check out our outright winner pick on the PGA Tour picks page.
Xander Schauffele to beat Collin Morikawa (-110)
To say this is an intriguing matchup would be a gross understatement. Morikawa has already captured two titles since the PGA Tour returned from its three-month coronavirus hiatus; Schauffele has not yet found the winner’s circle in 2020, but he has six top-10 performances this season—including three since the restart and two in a row heading into this week. The 26-year-old American also hasn’t missed a cut since January, whereas Morikawa missed a cut in June two weeks after being runner-up at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The 23-year-old’s upside may be higher, but he is not yet as consistent as Schauffele. Heck, no one in the game is more consistent than Schauffele at the moment. Morikawa’s triumph at the PGA was nothing short of life-changing, so it would be understandable if he endures a bit of a letdown over the next few weeks.
Bryson DeChambeau to finish in the top 20 (-150)
DeChambeau looks like an absolute lock to finish in the top 20 at TPC Boston, and it is fair to say anything close to an absolute lock should have longer odds than -150. Jump on this opportunity with gusto, as DeChambeau is the hottest player on tour right now. The eighth-ranked American has posted the following results since golf returned: third, eighth, sixth, first, MC, 30th, and most recently fourth at the PGA Championship. Nobody is hitting it longer of the tee than DeChambeau, who is also managing to hit it accurately while also showcasing a solid short game. As long as he keeps his mental game intact (which he has done in every start other than that one missed cut), the 26-year-old will pretty much contend week in and week out. He is a former champion of this event (2018) and he also won the Dell Technologies Championship when it was held at TPC Boston in 2018.
Jordan Spieth to miss the cut (+150)
Spieth was so good for such a relatively long period of time (2015 through 2017) that it makes it hard to jump headlong off the bandwagon. But the time has finally come. That is not to say he can’t give you a reason to get back on the wagon and some point down the road, but for now it is time to sell, sell, sell, fade, fade, fade (kind of like his tee shots these days) when it comes to Spieth. The 27-year-old American has plunged to No. 63 in the official world golf rankings with only three top-10 results in 16 appearances this season (zero wins). Spieth has somehow managed to make four consecutive cuts despite overall poor play, but this stretch was preceded by a MC at the Workday Charity Open—where he shot 72-72 while basically everyone else was going low (Morikawa triumphed at 19-under par). And he just barely made the cuts at the FedEx-St. Jude Invitational and PGA Championship, finishing outside the top 70 at both events.