Week 1 of the FedEx Cup Playoff is in the books, and here's what we've learned. Rory McIlroy is the best golfer in the world, but he is not a cyborg. Yes, Rory is human, and as humans often do, he had a not-so-great week at The Barclays. It didn't come as a huge surprise, though. After all, how can you adequately get up for The Barclays when you're coming off the high of back-to-back majors.
We learned that Hunter Mahan is a damn fine player ... when he's locked-in. I know, I know, that could be said of just about anyone on the PGA Tour, but I mean Mahan is surgeon-like when he's locked-in. It's one of the reasons he was so highly thought of when he first came onto the PGA Tour. No, he didn't hit the ground running years ago, but he's done just fine for himself over the last decade.
Most important, though, we learned that golf entering fall can be really fun to watch when the best players in the world are at the top of their respective games. Entering the final round at The Barclays there were two intriguing story lines. Could Jim Furyk finally pull out a win and would Jason Day stake claim to the FedEx Cup Playoff race after a frustrating season? Neither of those story lines came to fruition, however, because there were so many golfers playing at a high level. Last week it was Mahan, this week it will be someone else and with any luck we'll get another exciting Sunday of golf just as football season approaches. Who would have thought?
This week: Deutsche Bank Classic - TPC of Boston - Norton, Mass.
Last Year: Henrik Stenson shot a final-round 69 on his way to a four-stroke victory over Graham DeLeat.
PLAYERS TO CONSIDER
Day has that look. No, he wasn't able to close last week, but that would have been a difficult task even if he had his best game on Sunday. Day is trying to salvage what is pretty much a lost season for him because of nagging injuries. A win here, where he's finished runner-up and T3, would go a long way to securing a realistic shot at the FedEx Cup.
If not for a poor start last week, McIlroy may have grabbed yet another victory. While I still question his motivation during the FedEx Cup playoffs, I think he's got enough in the tank to make a run this week.
It's all the usual suspects again this week. Kuchar has been known to get it going at this time of year, and if last week is any indication, he may be about to go on a mini-tear for the remainder of the FedEx. His back doesn't appear to be an issue any longer, as well.
It's hard to say Furyk has a chance at winning this week given his ever-expanding Sunday troubles the last few years, but he's just as likely as anyone to be in contention come Sunday. That could mean another top-5 or top-10.
It's easy to forget that Stenson was playing well heading into the FedEx Cup last year, but he absolutely exploded during the playoffs and took his game to a new level. His run started here last year, and that could again be the case this year.
PLAYERS TO AVOID
Johnson has yet to recapture the form that had him on top of the golf world last fall and into this year, and while he's capable of winning any given week, this week his prospects don't look so hot. Johnson has zero top-10s in eight starts here.
Donald has a solid track record at this event, but he's not shown the ability to put together four solid rounds all season. To expect him to suddenly figure everything out this late in the season is a bit unrealistic.
Great week for Appleby at the Barclays, but that fact of the matter is, he's not that guy anymore who can rip off two, three or four great weeks in a row. The odds are against another strong performance this week.
Choi has never had much luck at this event. In eight starts he's never cracked the top-10, failing to do better than T41. Too many strong players in the field this week to take a chance on Choi.
Time for the monthly disclosure. *I'm not saying Fowler is a bad pick this week, but if you are in a one-and-done, or have limited starts left, this is probably the best spot among the final three weeks to sit him. Fowler's best finish among four starts here was a T41 in 2010.
ONE AND DONE GOLFER
Last week: Matt Kuchar (T5) - $292,000; Season - $6,652,000
This week: Jason Day - Full disclosure, I lost track of who I took this season. Hey, this feature is new to me. Anyhow, Day looks like the pick this week.
Group A: Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar
Group B: Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan
Group C: John Senden, Jimmy Walker
Last week: Luke Donald (MC); Streak - 0
This week: Hunter Mahan - I doubt he contends this week, but his game is too sharp to miss the cut.