Deutsche Bank Championship 2014: Complete Guide to the Tournament
The top 100 players exiting The Barclays make the trip north and east to TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, for the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs: the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Hunter Mahan, winner of The Barclays, vaulted to the lead in the FedEx Cup standings with his resounding win at Ridgewood Country Club. A huge putt on No. 17 allowed him to win without too much trepidation.
Defending Deutsche Bank champion (and FedEx Cup champion) Henrik Stenson was in the mix at The Barclays, but a Sasquatch-rare quintuple bogey on Saturday ended any shot he had at winning the first leg.
The field has been whittled, and it’s on to Boston. Here’s all you need to know for the Friday start to the second leg of these FedEx Cup playoffs.
All About TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
The man more famously known for a drink named in his honor designed TPC Boston for its ribbon-cutting in 2003. That would be Arnold Palmer.
TPC Boston is a par-71, 7,214-yard course on which players can and will go low. Stenson, the defending champ, shot 22 under to defeat Steve Stricker by two strokes in 2013.
In 2007, TPC Boston got a makeover by Gil Hanse and Brad Faxon just in time for the playoff event.
Hanse is a premier course designers. He won the William Frederick Dreer Award during his time at Cornell, an honor allowing him to spend time in Great Britain to study courses in the home of golf.
For those who respect the natural environment, Hanse’s philosophy focuses on “preserving and protecting the integrity of the land, maximizing the natural characteristics of the terrain and minimizing human impact on the landscape during construction.”
It's a fine spectacle to see in person, but if you can’t, there’s always…
Where to Watch on Television
From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, PGATour.com will air coverage of some featured groups throughout the weekend, but here's where you can catch it on your TV. All times are Eastern Standard.
2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Golf Channel
3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Golf Channel
1 to 3 p.m., Golf Channel
3 p.m. to 6 p.m., NBC
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Golf Channel
1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., NBC
The Biggest Storylines
Will Phil Mickelson Show?
The hashtag "#PhilWasHere" may not apply at TPC Boston this week. Phil Mickelson, who drove his Titleist into the hospitality pavilion two times during his frustrating rounds at The Barclays, may skip the DBC.
Mickelson, who has just one top-10 finish in 2014 (the PGA Championship), failed to make the secondary cut and flew home to San Diego and had some thinking to do.
Mickelson told Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel, “I’ve got four or five days off here with the late start. We’ll see when I get back home. I’m frustrated with my game, but I love playing in Boston. I love the golf course ... but I’m not playing very inspired golf right now."
Mickelson is 57th in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 70 advance to Denver for the BMW Championship. Should Lefty skip this tournament, only 13 of the other 99 need to catapult Mickelson out of the playoffs. Mickelson, in the end, may not mind.
Can Hunter Mahan Stay Hot?
Mahan, if nothing else, has been a model of consistency in the FedEx Cup playoffs. After a so-so year, he is atop the standings with 3,276 points, 466 points ahead of Rory McIlroy (2,810 points). He’s the only golfer to play in all 29 playoff tournaments to date.
“I think that’s basically saying that I haven’t really had a bad year in that span, and that feels really good,” Mahan told The Boston Globe. “There’s been a lot of great players who haven’t done that. I’m extremely proud of that fact.”
Mahan needs the momentum he earned from The Barclays. The Deutsche Bank Championship hasn’t been Mahan’s best tournament of the playoffs.
The Boston Globe’s Michael Whitmer wrote, "Of the four playoff tournaments, the DBC is the one in which Mahan has had the least success (a tie for eighth in 2011 is his best showing). But since the playoff format made its debut in 2007, he has been the one always playing."
Mahan is rounding into form just when he needs to. With a Ryder Cup berth in the wings and 10 million reasons to keep playing well (insert Johnny Manziel money sign here), Mahan is primed for a peak performance.
Will the Real Stenson Please Stand Up?
Stenson was six under and just two strokes back heading into the third round at The Barclays. Then, he quintuple-bogeyed the par-four fourth to register a score of seven-over for the front nine and a six-over day that sunk him faster than a U-boat.
Stenson is the defending champion of the FedEx Cup playoffs and the DBC, and he needs to put The Barclays behind him.
As it stands, he’s 66th in the points and needs a strong effort to prove he belongs at the BMW Championship in Denver.
The Top Pairings
Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth (9:08 a.m., from the 10th tee)
Day shared the lead at The Barclays but couldn't keep pace with Mahan. He finished tied for second and is seventh in the standings, with 2,111 points.
Reed and Spieth are an interesting watch for those eager to see how two of the Ryder Cup players perform. Spieth is seventh and Reed is eighth in the Ryder Cup standings.
Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker (9:20 a.m., from the 10th tee)
This group needs no explanation. They are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the FedEx Cup standings. Walker was in the top five for a while. Mahan vaulted to the front after his win at The Barclays. And McIlroy? Well, who is more exciting to watch than him these days?
Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk (1:40 p.m.)
Kuchar stormed up the leaderboard at The Barclays, even holing out from off the green on 18 to end his weekend at 11 under and tied for fifth. Watson will be bombing, and Furyk will be there in the end, but can he win? Furyk was in the final pairing at The Barclays and couldn't string together enough strong holes to keep pace with Mahan.
The Top Contenders
Nothing begets winning like winning. After Mahan was joined by his wife and daughter on the 18th green at The Barclays, he climbed to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings and is assured of playing in the remaining legs.
His bogey on 18 could have been nerves, as he hadn’t won a tournament since 2012. With The Barclays win behind him, he simply needs to play steady, and he could take home the $10 million bonus.
Scott sits at No. 16 in the FedEx Cup standings and must be considered a threat to win this tournament and the entire pot. He was right in the thick of The Barclays before a lackluster Saturday.
He hasn’t played very sharp since losing his hold as the No. 1 player in the world, but the fire still burns for this Aussie.
Scott told USA Today, "I'd love to get back to No. 1 and I think this is a good stretch of golf for me to try and do that. But the standard I'll have to play at is really high. So it would be great to put myself up in the mix and hopefully have Rory think he's got to look over his shoulder—at least for me."
Bank on Scott.
Walker missed the cut at The Barclays and fell to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings. He shot three over par on the final two holes in the second round at the Barclays, and that sent him home early.
Walker spent much of the year as the No. 1 player in the FedEx Cup standings and will be hungry to rebound here and redeem his poor effort in Paramus.
The Dark Horses
Jason Day finished tied for second at The Barclays. His last few efforts have included a tie for second, a tie for 15th and a withdrawal (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational). According to Rob Bolton of PGATour.com, Day "stumbled early at Ridgewood but recovered to share second place; ranked first in par breakers. He's 6-for-6 at TPC Boston; two top threes."
Bolton also likes Patrick Reed: "Flashed taut form at Ridgewood en route to T9; ranked T12 in GIR, fourth in proximity, second in scrambling. Won another shootout (Humana)."
Day's health has been a concern all year. When he's been healthy, he's been on. The past few tournaments have seen Day perform fairly well. His best golf will likely come in 2015, but as it stands right now, he's a viable threat to win the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Reed has won two tournaments this season and has four top-10 finishes. He's also missed seven cuts. Which Reed will show at TPC Boston? Considering his tie for ninth in The Barclays, Reed could be a sleeper at the DBC.
Kuchar is another player who could sneak up and win this tournament. He wasn't in contention at The Barclays, but he finished like he was. He had that fun-loving grin on his grill throughout the back nine at Ridgewood. Holing out a birdie chip on 18 is the type of shot that can very well carry over to the DBC.
McIlroy's three-tournament win streak makes him the favorite in every tournament him enters for the foreseeable future. His play this summer has pushed Tiger Woods to the back page. Woods doesn't feel at all missed, and the folks at Nike must be pleased.
After the streak, McIlroy stalled a bit at The Barclays. He basically rolled into the tournament without any practice, and it showed on Thursday. A little tuneup on the range and he returned with a six-under flourish on Friday.
The tie for 22nd at The Barclays feels about right. His streak took an enormous mental toll on him, and if finishing T22 is the worst that could happen, that's not too bad at all. He didn't even need to win the tournament, and he still showed up.
And another thing: McIlroy won the DBC in 2012.
He told Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com, "Looking forward to going to Boston, a course where I've had success on before and I've played well there. I was thinking about [skipping] it, but you know what? I feel fine. I feel fresh. I have no problem playing a lot of golf. I'll see where I stand next week. But I'm 90 percent going to be in Denver for sure."
He's hunting this FedEx Cup like Captain Ahab. He saw this white whale get away from him a couple of years ago, and now he's closer than ever.
He said to John O'Sullivan in The Irish Times, "I think first and foremost, my priority is the FedEx Cup. I came close a couple of years ago but didn’t quite get the job done. I feel like my game’s in good enough shape that I can keep this run of golf going and try and win that."
All stats, unless otherwise noted, come from PGA Tour.com.