The DFS Preview and Picks for the Dell Technologies Championship
Yardage: 7,216 – Par 71
Purse : $8.75M
Field: Top 100 players in FedEx Cup points to date
Recent Dell Technologies Championship Winners
These early stages of the FedEx Cup playoffs are important to two groups of players. There are the players who are attempting to get off the bubble and advance to the next stage of the playoffs, and the golfers who are trying to be picked for their country/continent in the Ryder Cup in October. The latter group are the ones who made the big headlines this week, with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau all but locking up their spots as captain’s picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. DeChambeau made the Northern Trust an afterthought after jumping ahead to a four-shot lead through three rounds. Sunday he calmly made his victory lap by posting four birdies and just two bogeys for a four-shot win over the other possible Ryder Cupper Tony Finau.
DeChambeau’s win moves him into the number one spot in the FedEx rankings and Finau’s solo second moves him all the way up to fourth place despite having no wins this season. As far as notable FedEx Cup exits or comeback stories, theirs did not move the needle much. Say goodbye to the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Harold Varner III, Sean O’ Hair, Rory Sabbatini, and Brandon Harkins, among others. The biggest jumps for bubble players were Jhonattan Vegas (123rd to 87th), Nick Watney (102nd to 67th), Bronson Burgoon (111th to 73rd), and Ryan Palmer (100th to 50th). Adam Scott put himself in the Tour Championship conversation by moving from 73rd to 40th, and Billy Horschel moved inside the Top 30 (41st to 14th), as did Cameron Smith (53rd to 16th).
After stopping in Jersey, the Tour heads north to the Tournament Players Club of Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship. The end of the Northern Trust Championship signified the end of 25 seasons, shrinking our field from 125 players down to 100. At the conclusion of this week’s Dell Technologies, 30 more players will see their seasons end, leaving us with 70 left for the BMW Championship next week. Those 70 players left will have one final chance at cracking the Top 30, to have a shot at a $10 million dollar payday at the Tour Championship in East Lake. As the fields continue to shrink we’ll see more and more quality players missing the cut.
This week there are a number of notables in danger of having their season end. Branden Grace (91st), Kevin Chappell (88th), Charley Hoffman (75th), Matt Kuchar (74th), Tyrrell Hatton (71st), Louis Oosthuizen (69th), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (59th), and Hideki Matsuyama (58th), and Henrik Stenson (55th) are all in “giddyup” mode, needing to make something happen to ensure entry into next week’s BMW Championship. Those in the upper-end of the field will continue to jockey for position as the Tour Championship is now just three weeks away. The Top 10 in the FedEx Cup Standings now looks like this:
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Dustin Johnson
- Justin Thomas
- Tony Finau
- Brooks Koepka
- Justin Rose
- Bubba Watson
- Jason Day
- Webb Simpson
- Phil MIckelson
The rest of the Top 100 FedEx-ranked players will be in attendance with the noticeable exception of Rickie Fowler. He will be sitting out for the second straight week with an oblique injury. Fowler is currently ranked 22nd in the standings. so if he can get back by next week, he can still secure his spot in the Tour Championship.
TPC Boston has played host to this event since the tournament’s inception in 2003. A par 71 golf course that measures 7,216 yards means that distance is not the end-all, be-all factor this week. What is important is who can bring the onslaught of birdies. The winning score has reached the 20s a handful of times and been no lower (or higher) than 14-under par in any of the 16 years this tournament has been played. That means you’ll want to pick someone who has been on a roll lately in terms of birdie-making. The course has three Par 5s that are very scoreable and at least two of them are reachable for everyone. Players must perform on the Par 5s or they’ll be left in the dust, so Par 5 birdie or better % is a key stat to value this week. Par 71 courses also increase the value of Par 4 birdie or better % with 11 Par 4s on the course.
TPC Boston challenges players from Tee-to-Green with a handful of hazards to avoid on every hole. Water comes into play on close to half of the holes at the site, and bunkers surround most of the greens with a total of 58 on the course. Most of the bunkers are greenside, and there are a few greenside water hazards as well, so as usual strokes gained: approach will make its way into the key stats category. Lastly, take a look at course history at the site. This course has been on the schedule since 2003, so there’s now 16 years’ worth of results to look at. If you’re having trouble finding pre-2017 results, it was called the Deutsche Bank Championship before switching to the Dell Technologies Championship.
Par 5 Birdie or Better %
Par 4 Birdie or Better %
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Strokes Gained: Approach
Rory McIlroy ($10,600): A season in which McIlroy has a win and eight Top 10s feels like a total down year for him. He may not have won any majors this year, but he’s still playing solid golf in most weeks. McIlroy’s lofty expectations have him at semi-bargain pricing right now despite being the only player in the field to have won this event two times. This is one of McIlroy’s favorite courses on Tour, and just because he hasn’t won four tournaments this season doesn’t mean he can’t win this event for the third time.
Jon Rahm ($9,100): If McIlroy is underpriced by $500-$700 for his “down year”, then Rahm is being penalized about $1,000 for a down week at the Northern Trust. I’m not sure who that was out there last week, but it sure as hell wasn’t Jon Rahm. I’ll double down on the 23-year old Spaniard, who comes in as DailyRoto’s fourth best value play this week. Rahm had a solid showing at the site last year finishing T4. He ranks 13th in tee-to-green, third in Par 5 birdie or better %, and sixth in Par 4 birdie or better %. The odds of seeing Rahm miss the cut two weeks in a row are extremely low, and with his birdie barrages and solid history at TPC Boston, I’m predicting a big bounce-back from him.
Tommy Fleetwood ($8,500): A few weeks back, Fleetwood was going for 9-10K in price. He hasn’t finished lower than T35 since June, so I’m not sure why there is such a steep drop-off. The only reasoning could maybe be because he has less familiarity at TPC Boston than other players. My point is that Fleetwood is too talented a player to be going for mid-8K. His floor is pretty much Top 30, as he’s only finished outside of that once this year on the PGA Tour. Despite no wins this year, he’s had some close calls and certainly has the ability to take home a victory no matter how strong the field.
Kevin Na ($7,400): Kevin Na will make a nice sleeper pick this week. Na proved his comfort here last year with a T6 at the Dell last year. This lengthier course works out beautifully for Na. There’s maybe on Par 5 that he can’t reach, and no drivable Par 4s where he’ll be laying up and others will be bombing the green. This course is made for shot-makers and will reward players who can scramble around the greenside bunkers, which Na does extremely well. Na is a jack of all trades, ranking inside the Top 60 in all of the key statistics this week out of a total of 199 qualifying players.
Keegan Bradley ($7,200): Keegan Bradley was 16 shots worse on Sunday than he was on Saturday at the Northern Trust. That’s not supposed to get you interested in him, that’s just a perfect picture of how crazy golf can be. Bradley shot 62 on Saturday and followed it up with a 78 on Sunday. A better finish may have put Bradley priced closer to the 8K range, but you can just chalk it up as “one of those days”, because 24 hours earlier Bradley had it dialed in. Bradley is the second best on Tour in strokes gained: approach, and the seventh best in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Bradley had those two parts of his game on lock on Saturday, and for whatever reason lost everything on Sunday. However, he had three solid rounds before the Sunday collapse. Sometimes no matter who a golfer is, they will have inexplicably bad days. I’m willing to take the upside that Bradley showed and plug him in again this week.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,100): Grillo was heating up midway through the year, racking up Top 10s and contending for tournaments. He’s cooled down lately, but still has an astounding 21/23 cuts made this year. His upside has been limited lately, but we all know that Grillo has the talent to finish inside the Top 10 in any tournament he enters. At this price I think most of us would take his result at the site last year, which was the rare solo 22nd finish.