FedExCup Playoffs 2016 – The Deutsche Bank Championship Preview

Unlike the vast majority of PGA Tour events, The Deutsche Bank Championship is played from Friday to Monday, ending on the same day as the American public holiday, Labour Day. The second event of the four tournament playoff series – held at TPC Boston – sees the top 100 ranked FedExCup players participating, with only the final 70 progressing.

Since the FedEx playoffs began, the lowest winning total of 22 under par has been recorded twice, with an average of 18 under winning. TPC Boston appears to favour the very best ball strikers, with plenty of birdie opportunities available for the attacking player.

Winning the first playoff event at the Barclays has provided mixed results as an indicator to The Deutsche Bank outcomes. Mahan, Scott and Johnson all finished higher than 40th position at The Deutsche, with Slocum actually missing the halfway cut (MC). However, the remaining winners all finished 20th or better the following week, with Singh being triumphant again and winning back-to-back playoff events with an overall average position of 32nd

Between 2007 and 2009, form during the Barclays served as a strong indicator for The Deutsche winner. Nevertheless, since these years the Barclays form has promised little indication as to who would succeed around TPC Boston. Perhaps the most significant statistic is the fact that each winner played the previous week, which has not always been the case – many of the leading FedExCup ranked players skip the first playoff event. Overall, the average finishing position is 27th, showing that a consistent result may be the strongest predictor.

Any player ranked outside the top 100 in the FedExCup at the end of the Barclays was eliminated from the race, and will not take part this weekend. There were five players ranked between 101 and 125 pre-Barclays who scored enough points at Bethpage to extend their season.

Sean O’Hair was the biggest mover, gaining 93 places with an impressive T2 finish which moved him up to 15th in the rankings, all but securing his place in the final Tour Championship. Sung Kang also progressed with a T18 finish, moving from 122nd to 88th (34 places), but he will need another good week at The Deutsche to extend his season. Huh, Fathauer and Aswegen all scraped through to Boston, but with them being ranked in the 90s they will need big weeks to push into the top 70.

Other than the names mentioned previously, there were only a handful of players who gained places in the race. Furyk, who has missed a large chunk of the season due to injury, progressed 10 places to 84th, and with three top 10 finishes in 13 starts - including that legendary 58 – it would be no surprise to see him climb into the top 70.

Senden gained 19 places with a 31st finish (which included a 75 in the final round) and could be showing enough form to continue at The Deutsche. Further big names Henley and Simpson also made slight gains, which could be the catalyst to a strong end of season. With Simpson having won at TPC Boston in 2011, the positive memories could push him forward.

However, other big names moving in the wrong direction are Leishman (-14), Kirk (-15) and Willett (-11). Both Leishman and Kirk have had poor seasons by their standards, with only two top 10s each, suggesting their form is reduced and progressing is unlikely at this stage. Significantly though, Willett has only played nine events this year, with three top 10s and a major championship to his name, however he has not committed to playing The Deutsche and consequently is eliminated from the race.

Finally, With TPC Boston requiring a high number of birdies and a low score to win, TSZ looks at those who rank the highest among birdie average and some who have an extra incentive to make the American Ryder Cup team.