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Woods begins quest for record 83rd PGA Tour win as Play-offs get underway

V Krishnaswamy Boston | Updated on August 19, 2020

Currently 16th in world rankings, Woods has a great record at TPC Boston

Two-time FedExCup champion Tiger Woods tees up this week at the Par-71 TPC Boston in search of record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory. It is only his third start since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Woods has thrived at the TPC Boston.

Woods has a great record at TPC Boston, and in 10 starts, his scoring average is 68.30. That includes one win, two tied second places and another Top-10. That kind of average could see him as a contender yet again, despite the presence of in-form stars and young guns.

Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Webb Simpson take the top billing while Woods is paired with Dylan Frittelli and Matthew Fitzpatrick. World No. 1 Jon Rahm goes out with Xander Schauffele and Lanto Griffin. Bryson DeChambeau plays with Patrick Reed, winner of Northern Trust in 2019, and Sungjae Im. In 2018, DeChambeau became the youngest winner of the Northern Trust during the FedExCup era and went on to win the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston in his next start.

The defending champion at the $9.5 million event is Reed, but Woods will be in focus. He has a packed schedule from here on. Three events till the Tour Championship, assuming he qualifies for that. Then there is the Masters and US Open, besides the Hero World Challenge in December first week, making it a total of at least six starts, plus possibly one between the play-offs at the two Majors. That is quite heavy considering how careful Woods is in terms of the number of tournaments he plays these days. Since the outbreak of Covid, Woods has played only two events — the Memorial and the PGA Championship.

Woods, currently 16th in world rankings, is tied with Sam Snead at 82 PGA Tour wins. He won the FedExCup in 2007 and 2009 and overall has four wins during the FedExCup Playoffs.

Strong field

While Justin Thomas enters the week as No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, the Northern Trust Championship will see one of the strongest fields this season with 124 of the top 125 — only Vaughn Taylor, ranked 75, is not in the field. Also, 40 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, led by No. 1 Jon Rahm, No. 2 Justin Thomas and No. 3 Rory McIlroy embellish the field.

Adding spice to the field are eight rookies from the 15 who are making their FedExCup debut, and it includes Xinjun Zhang, the first player from mainland China to get into the Playoffs.

Among the players who will be watched closely are World No. 2 Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Woods, McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.

Thomas, the 2017 the FedExCup winner, has qualified for the Tour Championship in each of the last four seasons. Morikawa, the World No. 5, is the latest Major winner from the PGA Championship and he has missed just one cut in 27 starts as a professional.

McIlroy, World No. 3 and two-time FedExCup champion (2016 and 2019), is hoping to become the first player to win the FedExCup in consecutive seasons. McIlroy’s five wins during the FedExCup Playoffs is the most all-time; Woods has four wins.

Johnson, the World No. 4 who won his 21st PGA Tour title at the 2020 Travelers Championship, finished second at the PGA Championship in his most recent start, and is trying to win his first FedExCup.

Points reduced

Due to schedule changes because of Covid, the FedExCup points available during the three Playoff events have been reduced from four times standard Regular Season events to three times. The winner receives 1,500 points.

Some of the well-known players who need a good finish to get into Top-70 and the next event, the BMW Championship, are Rickie Fowler (88), Tommy Fleetwood (89), Brooks Koepka (97), Jordan Spieth (100), Justin Rose (109) and Shane Lowry (122).

The top 70 players in the FedExCup standings following the Northern Trust advance to the BMW Championship and then the Top-30 move into the Tour Championships in Atlanta.

Published on August 19, 2020

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