Dell Technologies Championship preview: Rory McIlroy returns to fight for FedEx Cup

McIlroy-Rory-Getty-FTR
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

The 2018 FedEx Cup playoffs began last week with a convincing victory by Bryson DeChambeau at The Northern Trust.

DeChambeau and the rest of the top 100 players in the FedEx Cup standings now head to Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship. After skipping last week, Rory McIlroy is back in the field, ready to compete for his second FedEx Cup title.

Unlike McIlroy, Rickie Fowler announced Monday that he withdrew from this week’s field, still recovering from an oblique injury that plagued him at the PGA Championship.

This event is no longer scheduled after this season, with the FedEx Cup playoffs set to dwindle down to three events.

The Course

TPC Boston, a 7,342-yard par 71, presents golfers with one of the more interesting finishes on Tour. The final four holes all offer birdie opportunities, but also invite big numbers. The par-5 18th, which is reachable in two shots, is guarded by a large hazard. Anything over the back of the green is no good, too, because the green slopes back-to-front.

Defending Champion 

Justin Thomas earned his fifth win of the season, outlasting Jordan Spieth and Marc Leishman to propel him toward his first FedEx Cup title. Thomas was the hottest golfer in the world at the time, and he made his three-stroke victory look easy.

Favorites

DeChambeau and Thomas look like prime contenders to contend this week. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have also been playing good golf of late, and Koepka is desperate to prove he can win non majors, too.

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, last year’s European Tour Order of Merit winner, still needs a win on American soil. He’s been playing well this summer, including a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open.

Don’t sleep on Adam Scott. The sweet-swinging Australian had struggled since the end of 2016, but he finished third at the PGA Championship and t-5 last week. It apears he’s rediscovered some of the form that helped propel him to No. 1 in the world.

Sleepers

Tyrrell Hatton was so displeased with his putting last week, he went out and bought a new one in between the third and fourth rounds. It worked, as he closed out the tournament with a 7-under 64. Hatton is one of the premier ball-strikers on Tour, so if he’s making putts he’s a threat to contend.

Hideki Matsuyama is ranked 58th in the standings. It’s been an uncharacteristically quiet season for the young star. A win this week could help change his fortunes and salvage his season.