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Deutsche Bank Preview: FedEx Cup Playoff No. 2

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

One down, three to go. The FedEx Cup got off to a rousing start last week at The Barclays, and although the biggest names in the game weren't in contention late Sunday, there was plenty of star power to go around. That's the beauty of the FedEx playoffs. With only the top players in the field, there are bound to be some high-quality players battling for the title each week. Although the FedEx Cup playoffs are really up against it with football season right around the corner, I have to give those in charge some credit for the system they've developed. Each week two unique stories are of interest: the race to the winner's circle and the battle to qualify for the next event. This week it is the top 100, next week it will be the top 70. Sure, golfers who slip just inside that magical line aren't likely to hoist the Cup at the end of the playoffs, but one win can change all that. With three events left in this year's playoffs, Nick Watney now has the lead, but there are 99 players gunning for that top spot next week and each is capable of winning. That's the beauty of the playoffs, anyone can win.

This week:
Deutsche Bank Championship

Last Year:
Webb Simpson shot a final-round 65 on his way to a playoff victory over Chez Reavie.

Players to Consider:

1. Brandt Snedeker

Snedeker has that look, and when he has that look, he's tough to beat. He's coming off a nice showing last week at The Barclays and has the track record here as well with a T3 last year and a T5 the year prior.

2. Jason Dufner

Dufner will be well rested after he took last week off to prepare for the final three weeks of the season. Dufner carded a top-20 here in 2010 and finished runner-up in 2009.

3. Dustin Johnson

Johnson looks like he's about to peak very soon. He finished in the top-five last week at The Barclays, but more impressive was his final-round 68. Johnson has struggled a bit here the last two years but did finish T4 in 2009.

4. Luke Donald

Donald quietly earned a top-10 last week at The Barclays, which should help him stay under the radar entering this week. His history here might make that difficult, however, as he's finished T2 and T3 the last two years.

5. Adam Scott

Scott struggled to the finish line at The Barclays last week, but he should find the friendly confines of the TPC Boston much more to his liking this week. Scott has finished in the top-10 the last two years here and won this event in 2003.

Players to Avoid:

1. Jason Day

I'll be the first one to praise Day if he manages to stay alive the final four weeks of the season, but one good round at The Barclays is not enough to convince me that he's figured it all out.

2. Nick Watney

Watney is obviously on top of his game, but he's had a miserable time on this course. Watney has played TPC Boston eight times and made the cut only thrice. His best finish was T33 in 2010.

3. Sang-Moon Bae

Bae's had a very nice rookie season, but it looks like he's running out of gas. Better yet, it looks like he's already run out of gas. He was 12 strokes off the cut last week, and if not for the points he accumulated throughout the season, he wouldn't be in the field this week.

4. Graeme McDowell

I surmised last week that McDowell might not be all that interested in the FedEx Cup, and if his play last week is any indication, that looks to be the case. McDowell still sits at 33 on the points list, so he may survive another week, but I don't see any top-10s in the near future.

5. Ian Poulter

Poulter finished last week with a tidy 69, but that doesn't look to be in the cards this week as Poulter has really struggled on this course. Poulter has teed it up five times here and made the cut once.


This week:
Deutsche Bank Championship

Group A

1. Luke Donald
2. Adam Scott

Plenty of good options in Group A this week but not too many names I'm worried about missing the boat on. Donald and Scott have both played well here the last couple years, and there's no reason that should change this week.

Group B

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Geoff Ogilvy
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Brandt Snedeker

Let's start with the obvious omission, Tiger Woods. I only have one Tiger start left and this is not the week to use it. As for the Group B picks, there's nothing in the stats to suggest that McIlroy is worth a selection this week, but then again, he didn't look like a good pick prior to the PGA Championship. Ogilvy enters off a good performance at The Barclays, and his track record here is solid.

Group C

1. Jason Dufner
2. Vijay Singh

Not a lot to choose from in Group C this week, but there are a couple good options. Dufner looks like the obvious choice even though he doesn't have a long history of success here, but he's played well in his only three starts at TPC Boston. Singh won here in 2004 and 2008, and though he blew up over the final two rounds at The Barclays, he was near the lead entering the weekend.

Starters Round One

1. Luke Donald
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Brandt Snedeker
4. Jason Dufner

Donald might be the best pick this week, and as such I should start him in round one. DJ and Snedeker enter with some momentum; hopefully they pick up where they left off in New York. The choice in Group C was tough because of Singh's track record, but he is coming in off a couple brutal rounds, and I'll need to see that he's put that behind him before he gets a start.

Round Two and Going Forward:

Donald has a strong hold on the starting spot in Group A this week, but that could change if Scott shows his top form. I should also note that Donald is historically sound after a poor round, so Scott might have to wait until the weekend. DJ and Snedeker look like the best picks in Group C this week, but obviously McIlroy could take a spot if he starts well. I'm a little worried about how he played last week, but I will start him Friday if he plays well Thursday. Ogilvy might have to play well the first two days to earn a starting spot on the weekend. As mentioned earlier, Singh has the track record here, but I'll have to see a good round before he gets a start.