The top 125 PGA Tour players embark at Liberty National Golf Course for The Northern Trust, which starts on Thursday in Jersey City, N.J.
The FedEx Cup plays for huge money and heading the online betting market this week is Jon Rahm, but the field contains most top-level players.
Rory McIlroy, the 2019 FedEx Cup winner, has a lot of ground to make up but winning The Northern Trust would see his ranking rise. McIlroy, Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau are all chasing current leader Collin Morikawa, who is 32 points clear of Spieth.
It promises to be an action-packed week as players not only try to win, but also progress to the BMW Championship.
McIlroy Rampaging with Driver
Hitting off the tee has never been much of a problem for McIlroy, who is now back on top of the PGA Tour’s driving statistics.
Despite hitting straight bombs with the driver, McIlroy has struggled with consistency this season. However, if he gets the putter rolling, he’ll be tough to beat over the next few weeks.
McIlroy is averaging 335.6 yards off the tee, which is enough to make the casual golfer want to give up entirely. He has 74 percent accuracy, which puts other big hitters to shame. He went to a shorter driver shaft, allowing him to hit high draws.
“I just feel like I’ve got a little more freedom with it. I’m not squeezing it as much; I’m not trying to get on top of it as much as I was. I know what I do well with the driver – I’ve done it my whole career. I turn big, wide, wind up and then hang onto my right side and throw my arms and body at it,” McIlroy told The Golf Channel.
“But if that’s my talent, I may as well use it to the best of my ability.”
However, McIlroy ranks 104th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. He is also 87th in strokes gained around the green, so the short game is letting him down. Yet, we believe he can turn it around.
Golf betting markets have McIlroy at +2200 to win The Northern Trust, so it only makes sense that we trust the Northern Irishman this week.
Pick: Rory McIlroy +2200
Casey Making a Case
One of the most underrated golfers on tour is Paul Casey, who recorded a T-5 finish at the recent WGC St. Jude Classic.
The 44-year-old is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour and he has been in excellent form this season, including a T-15 finish at The Open Championship and a T-7 finish at the U.S. Open in June.
His finishes in big tournaments this year can’t go underappreciated. Casey also recorded a top-five finish at the PGA Championship in May and at the Players Championship in March.
Consistency is key with Casey, and although he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2019, he has since added victories in the European Open and Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour.
Adding to the appeal of Casey is his record in The Northern Trust. He lost in a playoff to James Hahn in 2015 so he plays this course well and he could go one better.
Bettors get value odds for Casey, who is +4000. We expect those odds to firm throughout the week.
Pick: Paul Casey +4000
Time for Finau to Strike
It’s a well-known adage that Tony Finau doesn’t win golf tournaments, but he gets another prime chance to silence the critics.
The big American hasn’t won since 2016, when he captured the lowly rated Puerto Rico Open. He has since lost three tournaments in a playoff, including the 2021 Genesis Invitational to Max Homa.
It’s a truth that hits home for Finau, who is desperate to prove his worth. He is quickly becoming a golfer who is always around the mark, especially in majors, but can’t seem to get over the line.
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) July 23, 2018
Finau has posted 10 top-10 finishes in majors, including a T-8 at the 2021 PGA Championship and T-10 at the Masters.
We’re keeping the faith with Finau, who is paying generous odds with bookmakers. The 31-year-old is paying +6000 and he’s a longshot chance worth locking in.
He recently changed his putter and it has had solid results. It will take time getting used to his new equipment, but he’s ready to show his best at The Northern Trust.