One of the strongest fields of the year lands in Boston this week for the Dell Technologies Championship, as TPC Boston hosts this event for one final Labor Day finish. The par-71, 7,342-yard Arnold Palmer design and Gil Hanse re-design layout is unmistakably New England. With interesting angles into the greens and putting surfaces that demand your attention. Only the top 70 players in the FedExCup Playoffs standings will move to the BMW Championship two weeks from now. Here are five things you need to know about the Dell Technologies Championship as the second of four playoff events gets underway in Boston.
Inside the FieldBryson DeChambeau is on an absolute tear right now and is a man on a mission – two missions actually. One is to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team (which seems a certainty after his win last week in the opening playoff event), and the other is to be the 11th FedExCup champion in history. This week could be a crucial week to that goal, as three of the last five FedExCup champions also won the Dell Technologies Championship. Barring a last-minute withdrawal, 98 of the top 100 eligible players are in the field this week, including defending champion Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods.
Major Storylines2018 marks the end of an era for TPC Boston at the Dell Technologies Championship, but it will remain a part of the FedExCup Playoffs picture. Beginning in 2020 the track will host THE NORTHERN TRUST as the event alternates between courses in the New York and Boston areas starting next year. Entering the playoffs, Tiger Woods ranked 20th in the FedExCup standings and 29th in the OWGR. Tiger last played TPC Boston in 2013 when he finished 65th, however, Woods has enjoyed success here in the past – winning the event in 2006, and picking up a pair of runner-ups in 2004 and 2007.
European Ryder Cup Spots on the LineThis is the final event for European players to earn Ryder Cup points and secure one of eight automatic qualification berths. With four spots taken from a compilation of world ranking points, Ian Poulter (21), Henrik Stenson (16), and Rafa Cabrera Bela (12) have not yet qualified and likely need solid performances to impress captain Thomas Bjorn.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk will announce his first three wild-card picks on Tuesday after the conclusion of the Dell. Bryson DeChambeau (9) appears to be a lock, leaving Phil Mickelson (10), Tiger Woods (11), Xander Schauffele (12), Matt Kuchar (13), Kevin Kisner (14), and 18Birdies Ambassador Tony Finau (15) competing for the final three spots.
Inside the Course
TPC Boston has been the PGA Tour’s Labor Day finish since 2003. Low scores have been commonplace because the par-5s are generally reachable in two, and six of the par-4s weigh in shorter than 450 yards. The front-nine is relatively tame in terms of risk and reward shot values, however, the back-nine more than makes up for it with dramatic elevation changes and cross hazards, high-faced bunkers with ragged edges, and scruffy native elements with dramatic mounding. A spectrum of scores ranging from eagle to double-bogey or worse are possible on the par-5, 530-yard finishing hole. The small heavily contoured green is one of the toughest on the course.
Moving on to the Next StageThe Dell Technologies Championship is the final tournament of the season with a cut, so any player currently outside the top 70 who misses the cut this Saturday will be eliminated from the playoffs. Some big names are tucked just inside or just outside the playoff bubble. Here’s a look at who they are and where they’ll need to finish to advance:
Hideki Matsuyama: 70th place to advance. Daniel Berger: 43rd place to advance. Jimmy Walker: 34th place to advance. Matt Kuchar: 28th place to advance. J.B. Holmes: 20th place to advance. Russell Knox: 13th place to advance. Jason Dufner: 11th place to advance.
Winner PredictionAfter an impressive runner-up finish last week in the opening round of the playoffs, Tony Finau cracked the top-20 in the world for the first time in his career. Finau is all but assured a spot in the coveted TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP in Atlanta, but he’s poised to break out in a big way right now. Tony is long and accurate off the tee, and makes birdies seemingly at will - remember his record-setting and mesmerizing 10-birdie performance in the second round at the PGA Championship? Finau is also putting better right now than he has at any point in his career. Tony is hungry, he wants to win, and knows he can win. It all comes together for Finau this week in Boston.