This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
The Northern Trust
Jersey City, New Jersey
Liberty National GC - Par 71 - 7,350
Field - 122 Entrants
Purse - $9.25M
36-Hole Cut - Top-70 and ties
The top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings will be on hand in New Jersey this week, minus Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson – both elected not to play – Sam Burns (undisclosed) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (personal), for the first round of the PGA's newly-shortened playoffs. Instead of four events, there will now just be three playoff tournaments, with the top 70 qualifying for Round 2 at the BMW Championship, and the top 35 finishers that week moving on to the TOUR Championship. This week's course is relatively lengthy for a par-71, and will feature quick, bentgrass greens with a fair amount of undulation. Two professional events were held at Liberty National previously, with Ryan Slocum winning here in 2009 with a final score of 9-under-par, and Adam Scott emerging victorious in 2013 at 11-under.
2018 - Bryson DeChambeau (Ridgewood CC)
2017 - Dustin Johnson (Glen Oaks Club)
2016 - Patrick Reed (Bethpage Black)
2015 - Jason Day (Plainfield CC)
2014 - Hunter Mahan (Ridgewood CC)
2013 - Adam Scott (Liberty National)
2012 - Nick Watney (Bethpage Black)
2011 - Dustin Johnson (Plainfield CC)
2010 - Matt Kuchar (Ridgewood CC)
2009 - Heath Slocum (Liberty National)
Key Stats to Victory
Ball Striking - Length and accuracy off the tee, as well as the ability to it hit greens, have been essential for past success at this course
Greens in Regulation - The most common denominator between Slocum's victory in 2009 and Scott's in 2013? The former finished T6 in GIR and the latter finished T4
Par 4 450-500 efficiency - Including one Par 4 at 440 yards, 7 of the18 holes will be in this range. Solid mid-to-long iron players should see an advantage
Strokes Gained: Putting - Putting is the hardest skill to predict, but often the difference between a big week or a quiet one
Yahoo Value Picks - Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Brooks Koepka - $49
This should be a pretty popular pick, but let's not try to outthink the room here. Koepka is the favorite in most sportsbooks, but just the third highest priced player in this field behind Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. His biggest knock is that he doesn't care about non-majors, and while that may be true, his victory at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational just two weeks ago indicates that argument may have been a bit circumstantial. Unsurprisingly, Koepka ranks near the top in a couple of the key stats, sitting 6th on Tour in ball striking and 9th in GIR.
Tiger Woods - $47
Tiger is normally a popular play, but a high price tag and a quiet few months figure to put a dent into his usually-high ownership percentage. He has played sparingly since winning the Masters, missing the cut at the PGA Championship, placing T9 at the Memorial, T21 at the U.S. Open, and missing another cut at The Open Championship. This seems like a prime time to gain some leverage on the field, as he rates out well in the metrics we're focused on, and has a solid tournament history here. The 43-year-old has finished runner-up at this course both times he has played it, and sports elite ball striking and GIR stats.
Webb Simpson - $39
Recent form dictates this decision, as Simpson has finished runner-up in three of his last five starts, including each of the last two. While last week's field was not the most difficult to navigate, his solo second the week prior in Memphis featured many of the same golfers teeing off this week. Simpson's efficiency on Par 4: 450-500 has been one of the best on Tour this year, and bentgrass greens have been kind to his putter throughout his career.
Adam Scott - $37
Scott rode into the The Open Championship with five straight top-20s, which included three consecutive top-10s. Everyone took notice, making him one of the chalkiest plays, only for him to implode and never even sniff the cut-line. A quick turnaround days later did at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational did not yield much better results, as he finished T40 out of a field of 63. If you're willing to chalk up those two outings to bad luck or variance, the Austrialian looks like a good play on paper once again. You are always gambling with his putter, but he excels at both ball striking and GIR. Oh yeah, he also notched a win at this course in 2013.
Hideki Matsuyama - $36
Matsuyama has cooled off a bit in recent weeks, missing two of his last three cuts. Prior to that, though, he made the cut in all 15 of his appearances in the 2019 calendar year, and often seemed on the verge of victory. While most parts of his game have been clicking, his putting has typically prevented him from any chance at holding the trophy on Sunday. We're willing to take our chances on one of the Tour's elite ball strikers this week, and hope his flat stick gets hot.
Joaquin Niemann - $23
Niemann was one of the hottest young newcomers when he debuted last year, quickly gaining the attention of DFS players. A rough go-of-it in the spring removed a lot of that shine, and a highly successful 2019 freshman class almost completely removed him from the radar. That was until he notched back-to-back top-5s in June and reeled off three more top-25s in his last four events. His missed cut came at The Open Championship, and he wasn't the only talented golfer to miss the cut that week. Niemann has yet to prove he can contend in a tough field, but the talent is there for the 20-year-old Chilean.
Collin Morikawa - $22
Speaking of that touted freshman class, it did not take Morikawa long to make his mark on Tour. He has already shown excellent ball striking skills, and if he had enough rounds to qualify, he would be leading the Tour in both GIR and SG: Approach. His putter can get in his way, but as we mentioned before, it is the hardest stat to predict.
Matthew Wolff - $21
Staying on the rookie theme, Wolff (and his unorthodox swing) was the first to earn his Tour card after winning the 3M Open in Minnesota just over a month ago. After finishing a brilliant collegiate career at Oklahoma State, he wasted no time making his impression felt. Should Wolff ultimately make the cut, his knack for stringing together birdies could help make him more valuable than his final placing. He sits 70th in the FedEx Cup standings, so if he does not drop any lower this week, he will advance to the second round of the playoffs. He has already made it known – unsurprisingly – that his goal is to make it to the Tour Championship, and a big showing this week would go a long way.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this Week
It is a relatively small field compared to a normal Tour event, but there is still a cut, and the top 70 and ties will get to play Saturday and Sunday. Thus, you likely need to get all six of your golfers to advance in order to cash this week. It would be wise to avoid players with sporadic results like Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson, to name a few, and zero in on guys with a knack for reaching the weekend.