2017 Northern Trust Open: Glen Oaks Club (8/22/17)
The PGA Tour Playoffs will start this week with the Northern Trust Open at Glen Oaks in New York. The top 125 in the season points list will assemble to compete where the bottom 25 players in the season points list will be cut at the end of the week.
As usual, I'll go through the key metrics at Glen Oaks to find which players have value. Historically, Glen Oaks is a ball-strikers heaven. Putting is nearly irrelevant this week. The top of the leaderboard will be filled with guys who knocked it close. That being said, the typical top golfers tend to be the top ball-strikers. It's not incredibly easy to find value this week past the top favorites, but I'll give it a try.
I'll break down the top Favorite, Long Shot, and Dud with a number of valuable other players in each category. Favorites will be considered as those with better than 50 to 1 odds, Long Shots will be 50 to 1 odds and greater, and Duds will be better than 50 to 1 odds players to avoid. Odds will be courtesy of Bovada.
Historically, the winners at Glen Oaks knock it close from inside 100 yards, and Dustin Johnson is as good as anyone on tour with a wedge in his hands. Not to mention, DJ is the second best tee-to-green player on tour next to Rory McIlroy at 1.9 strokes gained per round on the field. I must point out that the run DJ was on at the beginning of the season contributed to that total; however, he's beginning to strike the ball a little better after a solid showings at the PGA Championship, WGC Bridgestone, and RBC Canadian Open. Now that it counts towards DJ's tour champion hopes, I think he pulls it together this week and competes at the top of the board.
Other Favorites with value in order of preference: Rory McIlroy (+1400), Justin Thomas (+2000), Jon Rahm (+2500), Paul Casey (+3300)
Speaking of great wedge players, Daniel Berger only sits behind Phil Mickelson in proximity to the hole on shots inside 100 yards. Berger, in general, is a superior iron player for a long shot. He ranks 25th in the field in shots gained tee-to-green despite only ranking 45th in shots gained off-the-tee. Berger is above the field's average in four key categories this week: proximity inside 100 yards, greens in regulations, shots gain off-the-tee, and shots gained tee-to-green. Long shots do not come without concern. Glen Oaks won't play all that different than the PGA Championship where Berger missed the cut, but the distance off the tee may have been his downfall at Quail Hollow. Glen Oaks will not include that massive advantage to the top players. In Berger's previous seven starts, he has two missed cuts at the two majors; however, they include a win, a solo-second, T5, and five performances inside the top-27. Take advantage of Berger's impressive wedge play this week and hope he brushes in a few putts down the stretch.
Other Long Shots with value in order of preference: Francesco Molinari (+6600), Tony Finau (+6600), Webb Simpson (+8000), Jason Dufner (+8000)
Patrick Reed's name has been popping up this week, and rightfully so. Reed has historically been a great ball-striker who won at this even last year. However, I'm fading Reed this week due to his struggles this season as a ball-striker. Of the golfers in the field, Reed ranks 63rd in proximity inside 100 yards, 110th in greens in regulation, 47th in shots gained off-the-tee, and 66th in shots gained tee-to-green. Reed has been playing better as of late, including a T2 at the PGA Championship, but I am not convinced quite yet. Reed only has two top-five finishes all season and I don't expect a run at the Northern Trust Open, either.
Other Duds without value in order of avoidance: Louis Oosthuizen (+4500), Brooks Koepka (+2000), Matt Kuchar (+3300)