Monday finishes are usually a bad thing on the PGA Tour, but this week it's the norm. The Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs played at TPC Boston has a traditional Labor Day Monday finish. In theory, that should mean Tiger Woods will win, since he's won on Monday twice this year. Unfortunately, golf isn't so predictable, so let's look at some other ways to try and figure out who will do well this week.
The DBC has been around since 2003, and a majority of the winners are made up of players who have been on center stage the last decade, including Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Sticker, Webb Simpson and Rory McIlroy.
If one wants to go on history, two players stand out:
Tiger Woods - Besides the fact that he finished second last week, has five wins this year and is the No. 1 player in the world, Woods has a win and two seconds in this event. His back issue, however, is a different story, and that could be the only thing that holds him back this week.
Adam Scott - A victory last week, a victory in 2003 and a second in 2004 should bode well for the man who is 10th in ball-striking this year on the PGA Tour.
Steve Stricker - Stricker is having one of the best years of anyone on the planet, and it's gone largely unnoticed because he's ... semi-retired. In just 10(!) starts he has five top-10 finishes and eight top-25s. He's 11th in driving accuracy, first in greens in regulation, 10th in strokes-gained putting and fourth in scoring average. As a past winner here, he is a strong dark-horse pick this week.
Mickelson enters leg two of the FedEx Cup Playoffs third in the points standings, while Simpson finds himself in 18th. McIlroy would love to successfully defend his title and help his 36th position. Singh missed the playoffs altogether.
As the name suggests, the All-Around ranking is a list of players who have all facets of their games on form. Here are the top players from that category playing this week:
Tiger Woods - Another solid week - even with a back injury - has Tiger at the top.
Jordan Spieth - Spieth backed up a little bit last Sunday and ended up with a T19 finish, but it was still another solid week for a player poised to get his second win of the year at some point in the playoffs.
Keegan Bradley - Bradley had an indifferent weekend - 74-72 - after a Friday 63 put him in contention. So while he didn't finish the job like he wanted to, it does show he was playing well enough to make lots of birdies - at least over an 18 hole stretch.
Adam Scott - See above. Another thing to note about Scott: he's fifth in putting from 15-20 feet this year. That helps.
Justin Rose - The U.S. Open champion tied for second last week at The Barclays, aided by three 68s to move into fifth in the all-around ranking. His performance stats this year are impressive: 15th in greens in regulation, third in scoring average, third in sand saves and second in total driving. A smart fantasy pick for this week.
ON THE BUBBLE
The top-70 players in the FedEx Cup standings following this week move onto Chicago and the BMW Championship in two weeks. Here are some names on the bubble to keep an eye on:
Bryce Molder - Molder moved from 98th to 68th via a T25 at Liberty National. His best statistic this season: he's fifth in final-round scoring average, which bodes well on the PGA Tour when finishing strong can lead to big financial gains.
Kevin Stadler - Stadler opened up strong last week with a 64 and in the end got himself up to 75th in the points standings. Stadler is ninth this year in greens in regulation but 161st in strokes gained-putting, which explains some of his woes at times this year.
Martin Flores - Flores jumped eight spots to 78th place following The Barclays. He has two top-10 and five top-25 finishes in 24 starts this year, and has used a strong iron game out of the rough (he's 11th in proximity to the hole from the rough) to help get him in position to make birdies.
Martin Kaymer - Kaymer made a pretty sizeable jump last week - 13 spots to 90th from his 103rd starting spot. Showing that sometimes you don't need a big finish to make that big jump he merely tied for 50th at the Barclays, but saw a bunch of guys in front of him either withdraw or miss the cut, helping his plight. Kaymer's 2013 can probably be best described as decent - just four top-25 finishes in 16 starts though three of those are top-5s. Why the inconsistency? It may partly be attributable to being 111th in greens in regulation. Still, as a past major champion, Kaymer is a smart pick for this week.