Molinari switches focus to FedEx Cup glory
Ten months on from the first tee shot of the season, the PGA Tour has finally reached the FedEx Cup play-offs and all the big hitters are in town for the start of the season's denouement.
From Tiger Woods to Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari, it’s a who’s who of golf at the Northern Trust this weekend.
Here’s what to look out for:
Can Molinari complete incredible year?
Three wins in eight starts, a maiden major at The Open and a top-10 finish in another - Francesco Molinari might not be the top-ranked player this week but he’s without doubt the man in form.
The Champion Golfer of the Year is ranked eighth in the FedEx Cup standings, over 1000 points behind Dustin Johnson, but, as he said at Carnoustie with the Claret Jug in his arms, something has clicked this summer.
The final round of The 147th Open was 1 month ago today. Relive some of the highlights from Championship Sunday 👇 pic.twitter.com/W0eKUGrOCD— The Open (@TheOpen) August 22, 2018
Since holding off Rory McIlroy to win the BMW Championship in May, Molinari has claimed further wins at the Quickens Loan National and then, of course, The 147th Open.
Was that a one-off? A tied-sixth finish at the PGA Championship suggests not and Ridgewood Country Club, the host of the Northern Trust this weekend, is right up Molinari’s street.
With the weather set to be calm, the course rewards those who balance patience and aggression in equal measure – just like Carnoustie. And we all know what happened there.
Woods begins packed schedule
Tiger Woods has carefully managed his schedule this season but there is no time to rest in the next month and a half.
The 42-year-old is set to compete in five tournaments in six weeks, if he gets the nod from USA captain Jim Furyk to compete in the Ryder Cup.
"At the very beginning of the year, I told Jim I wanted to be a part of the team, not just as a vice-captain but as a player, and I'm very close to making that happen," he said.
"The interesting role here is that I'm a vice captain, so we're talking about myself in the third person a lot. So, that's one of the more interesting conversations we were having.”
Woods’ FedEx Cup record is the envy of everyone in the field. Between 2007 and 2013, he arrived as the leading player and went on to win the title twice and record two other top-three finishes.
This is, however, his first play-off appearance since 2013 and only his second ever appearance at Ridgewood.
How Woods’ body copes with the added strain over the next month will be intriguing but he should be fit and firing this week following his second-place finish at the PGA Championship.
The leaderboard at Bellerive could look similar to one on Sunday, with most of the same big-hitters in town.
Steady Johnson in with a chance
With six consecutive top-20 finishes, few players are in better form then 2015 Champion Golfer of the Year Zach Johnson.
The 42-year-old, who co-led The 147th Open at Carnoustie after two rounds, has not won since lifting the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2015.
But he’s one of the form horses heading into the FedEx Cup play-offs and Ridgewood Country Club is a place that suits him and his putter.
Daly thrills fans in Prague
John Daly is a rare presence on the European Tour these days but one place supporters are guaranteed to catch a glimpse of the 1995 Champion Golfer is the Czech Masters.
This is the third consecutive year the three-time major winner will tee it up in Prague and he is joined by fellow Champion Golfer Padraig Harrington.
Former Masters champion Danny Willett completes a trio of major winners, while South Africa’s Haydn Porteous is the defending champion after he held off Lee Slattery a year ago.