Ridgewood Country Club plays host to the first event of the FedExCup play-off series, The Northern Trust, for the fourth time as Dustin Johnson defends the title he won at Glen Oaks last year. Johnson needed extra holes to see off the challenge of Jordan Spieth to win this event for the second time, having also taken the title back in 2011 when the tournament was known as The Barclays. Ridgewood, one of the most famous old courses in the United States and the home of the 1935 Ryder Cup, features three nine-hole loops and the championship course is a composite of all three. The chosen holes for this edition differ slightly from those in play when Hunter Mahan won here in 2014, comprising of seven holes from the East Course, five from the Center and six from the West. The selection will bring great variety, including a driveable par four and a monster par five measuring 626 yards. Patrick Reed won this event in 2016, succeeding Jason Day as champion, while other recent winners include Adam Scott and Nick Watney.
The Northern Trust Favourites
The FedEx Cup brings together the world’s best players and the first week of the play-offs has attracted a high-class field to New Jersey, although Rory McIlroy has taken the week off to work on his game and Rickie Fowler is nursing an abdominal strain. Johnson is the market leader, with the world number one priced at 9/1* across the board. Justin Thomas, winner of the recent WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, is at 12/1* with most firms, while double major winner Brooks Koepka is at 14/1* with Ladbrokes. Day, who has finished in the top five the last two times this tournament has visited Ridgewood, is a 14/1* chance with almost every bookmaker, with a revitalised Tiger Woods at 16/1* across the board as he competes in the post-season for the first time in five years.
The Northern Trust Tips
Kevin Kisner is one of the men hoping to persuade United States captain Jim Furyk to hand him a wildcard for the upcoming Ryder Cup and he has done his prospects no harm with his form in the two recent major championships, finishing second at The Open and in a tie for 12th place at the PGA Championship. That’s a return to the sort of form he was showing when he won last year’s Dean & DeLuca Invitational and he could be on the cusp of another big success. Bet365, William Hill and Betfred are all quoting 80/1*.
Patrick Cantlay was one of our selections for the recent PGA Championship, where four rounds of 70 or better earned him a share of 27th place. It wasn’t enough to put him in contention at any stage for a first major title, but it did continue a run of solid form and lifted him into the world’s top 25 for the first time. In his last six starts, he has placed in the top 15 four times, including a share of sixth at the Bridgestone Invitational in this sort of company. Ladbrokes are offering a best price of 45/1.
Stewart Cink has ended each of the last seven seasons out of the world’s top 100 and very much in the shadows, but he has enjoyed something of a revival in recent months and few players are entering the play-offs in better form. His tie for fourth place at the PGA Championship was the third time in six starts that he has earned a top-five finish and pushed him back up to 70th in the rankings. Bet365, Paddy Power and Betfred are each offering best odds of 100/1*, which looks a great each-way pick.
*(all odds subject to change)