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The Northern Trust 2021 Prediction: Xander very much in play

Xander Schauffele is our Pick for the Northern Trust Open
Xander Schauffele is our Pick for the Northern Trust Open
By J.N. Campbell

Preview: The Northern Trust, FedEx Cup Playoffs

Course: Liberty National Golf Club

Location: Bayonne, New Jersey

Date: August 19-22, 2021

Par: 71 / 7.370 Yardage 

Purse: $9.5 Million / Winner $1.7 Million

Fairways/Rough: Bentgrass/Bluegrass 

Greens: Bentgrass


This week, The Northern Trust from “Jersey” takes center stage, as the picturesque course just beyond the Big Apple plays host. It is FedEx Playoff time, and that means 3 weeks of golf ecstasy as 125 top players jockey for position atop the Leaderboard. The Northern Trust leads off, followed by the BMW Championship (down to a field of 70), and finally, with the Tour Championship (finally a group of 30) … that will crown a champion who will hoist the Cup and a cash a significant check--$15 million!

Liberty National Golf Club will serve as host, and last year it was Dustin Johnson who tasted victory, enroute to an 11-stroke victory over Harris English. DJ decimated a solid field with giant drivers, and pinpoint accuracy around the greens. The course was influenced in the early 1990s by former PGA legend, Tom Kite, and is certainly a mix of tough challenges. Iron play is at a premium, and this is an angle you might want to exploit when making your selections. Short game shots funnel into smallish greens, which are treacherous. Like glass, balls can trickle off easily, and this makes for some tough scoring.

Strokes are to be used sparingly this week, as the field gets ready to be trimmed … It’s the FedEx Cup Playoffs! At this point, it is anyone’s game! Who will outlast them all? Stay tuned … 

A few promising prop bets …

Long shot to the Weekend … (Max Homa +13000)

Max Homa’s 2021 Regular Season was marked with some very impressive flashes of brilliance. The Valspar and the Memorial Tournament saw him finish in the Top 10. Winning the Genesis Invitational was also a top-of-the-line moment. I think it is rather unbelievable to think that the Cal Berkeley product is 27th in the FedEx Standings. As a 130/1 long shot, he qualifies as a massive overlay considering where he lands in the mix. I like this action quite a bit, and you never know what a guy like this can do. His numbers are not overly impressive, but he clearly has the ability to string together some excellent rounds. I think he has not only a legit shot to make it to play on Saturday, but also make some noise come Sunday. Don’t count this one out …

Rahm vs. DJ … (Jon Rahm +800) v. (Dustin Johnson +1600)

An intriguing “prop” would be to take the consensus favorite coming into the Playoffs, Jon Rahm (the current 5th FedEx Points), and pair him against former champion Dustin Johnson (2020 Champion). Both offer their own brand of power shot-making that is unique in the game. Rahm was sidelined by COVID-19 at different points, and that has to have affected his game. As for Johnson, his year was marred by injury, and inconsistent play. My sense is that they will both be at their best. DJ gets the nod for me because I am hoping he can rectify his errant drives that have plagued him all season. If he can take each shot … one at a time … carefully places those drives, it will make the difference. Head-to-head with Rahm will not be an easy task, but he is up to it. He is not the defending champion for nothing …

The Ancer Low Round … (Abe Ancer +2800)

I said it profusely … From the beginning of May to this week, Abe Ancer was one to watch. Time and again, he made the impossible happen. Whether it was the Wells Fargo with that late charge, or when he notched the win in a playoff in the St. Jude, his composure when it counted, was undeniable. I see him as a low-round kind of fellow, and what separates him from the rest is his ability to get up and down. When he gets hot, the dual citizen from Mexico and the U.S. can astound. Stringing together a bevy of birdies seems more than just possible … it can be a reality. I like his odds coming into Jersey, and no one should underestimate his numbers. They are for real … More to come from this budding star, as his time has arrived.

Aztec Pride Wins … (Schauffele +1800)

The Gold Medal-winner from the Tokyo Games is coming into the FedEx Playoffs ready for action. There is not much about this fellow’s game that I don’t like. Strong and accurate drivers, coupled with a soft touch on the greens are his bread-n-butter. The former San Diego Aztec is 13th in the Fed Standings, and he is looking for more coming into this spot. He is not that far off, and he easily has the ability to get himself into position to be there in the end when the dust settles. Rarely missing a cut, his consistency is one of his greatest weapons. Looking through his numbers, I am struck by his scoring avg., and sand save capability. That will come in handy this week, as he takes on the very best. The odds of 18/1 are more than square. Golden guy … he can add to that treasure this week.


Enjoy the final drive to the FedEx Cup! It’s time once again for The Northern Trust …

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