2021 Northern Trust Odds, Picks, Predictions: Top 5 Course Fits for Liberty National Golf Club
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Webb Simpson
- Liberty National Golf Club plays host to the Northern Trust for the fourth time.
- This is the opener for the 2021 FedExCup Playoffs and sees a 124-player field with all the best golfers in the world.
- Shane McNichol breaks down below which players are the best fits at Liberty National for bettors.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs kick off this week, with the top 125 players on the PGA TOUR teeing up at the Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.
Only the top 70 will advance to the next playoff stop, so every player will need to bring his best game this weekend to navigate one of the toughest fields in golf.
This tournament is also a challenge for bettors and handicappers, with a limited history of professional tournaments at Liberty National in prior years. This is just the fourth time the TOUR has played the course, with only four players in this week’s field having played each of the prior three trips to Liberty National.
That small sample size could skew our perceptions of players who best fit at Liberty National, but with so many of the world’s best in action, there is undoubtedly a group of players poised for success this week.
Webb Simpson (+3500)
Few players in this week’s field can match Simpson’s experience at Liberty National. All the way back in 2009, Simpson finished 8th at this event, then known as The Barclays. In 2013, he returned and finished T15. In 2019, he again played well and finished T18. That track record of success is unmatched among those with at least ten rounds at Liberty National. Simpson has more Strokes Gained per round than the other 12 players in this week’s field with double-digit rounds at Liberty National.
He enters the FedEx Cup Playoffs with some momentum. Simpson has finished in the top 20 in his last three starts, including last week where he finished just one shot out of the playoff at the Wyndham Championship.
Dustin Johnson (+1600)
DJ also enters this week having played well of late, with a top-10 finish in his last start in Memphis. More importantly, he’s shown himself to be very comfortable at Liberty National in past appearances at the course.
In 2019, he fired a first round 63 while gaining a monstrous +7.04 strokes on the field. Back in 2009, his final round 64 was good for +7.64 strokes gained on the field. Perhaps most importantly, when the President’s Cup was hosted at Liberty National in 2017, Johnson was dominant, earning an event-high 4.5 points en route to a 4-0-1 record.
When DJ is at his best, he can carve up any course, but we’ve seen him do it in Jersey City before.
Collin Morikawa (+1600)
The analytics experts at DataGolf suggest approach play is the strongest indicator of success at Liberty National. Whenever that is the case, Morikawa has to be considered a factor. He has been historically good with his irons over the past year.
No one has come close to matching Morikawa’s output in terms of Stokes Gained: Approach, especially over the last six months. That level of ball-striking puts Morikawa in the conversation every weekend, with a hot putter able to catapult him into the winner’s circle.
Adam Scott (+4000)
Though Scott ended last week with a sour note, lipping out a put for the win on the first playoff hole, his play at the Wyndham Championship was encouraging entering the playoff chase.
That is especially true given Scott’s past success at this course. The Aussie topped Tiger Woods and a group of others by just one stroke to win at Liberty National in 2013. When they event returned in 2019, Scott’s form did so as well, with a finish in 5th place.
Having not missed a cut since the PGA Championship, Scott enters the postseason on a roll with a chance to make some noise this week.
Jason Kokrak (+6500)
It’s hard to back a true underdog in a field that is as strong as the one we’ll see this weekend. Korkrak, however, is undervalued at these odds. Per DataGolf, no player in the field, with at least eight rounds of experience, has gained more strokes per round at this course than Kokrak.
In his two trips to Jersey City, Kokrak has yet to finished outside the top 12. That is music to his ears, in need of a big stretch run to potentially earn one of the final spots on the US Ryder Cup team. A strong week at Liberty National could re-ignite his chances to be one of Steve Stricker’s captain’s picks.