The 2021 Northern Trust Power Rankings

2021 Northern Trust Power Rankings
Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele are three of the top power ranked players in the field this week at the Northern Trust. (Getty Images - PGA Graphics)

A thrilling 2020-2021 PGA Tour season, which has recently been marked by blown leads and compelling playoffs, concludes over the next three weeks with the extremely lucrative FedExCup playoffs.

The first of the three legs begins this week with The Northern Trust contested at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City. Last year’s event was a one-man show with Dustin Johnson winning by 11 strokes, but with DJ coming back to earth hard in 2021, this year’s tournament figures to be significantly more competitive.

The victor this week takes an enormous step forward to capture the $15 million FedExCup prize.

Who do we like best to make that move? We start with a past FedExCup champ:

15. Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas Scottish Open
Justin Thomas on the 3rd green during day one of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick. (Photo by Jane Barlow PA Images via Getty Images)

The 2017 FedExCup Champ currently sits fifth in the world rankings, but since winning THE PLAYERS Championship in March, he has not even looked like a top 50 player.

Thomas shockingly has zero top 10s in his ten starts since TPC Sawgrass, a real outlier for a man who had 39 of them in his previous four seasons on Tour.

Perhaps even more shocking: Thomas failed to card a single birdie on Sunday in his most recent start, finishing T26 in Memphis.

It is not all lost though; JT still ranks inside the top 5 on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and if he can figure out the greens at Liberty National, where he finished T12 in 2019, there should be optimism that he could put this slump in his rear-view mirror.

World Rank: 5
Odds To Win: 25-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T12

14. Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed 2021 U.S. Open
Patrick Reed looks on after saving par on the 3rd hole during the third round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 19, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Harry How via Getty Images)

Reed does not have a result of better than T19 in seven starts over the past two months, including four straight finishes outside the top 30, but one of his nine career Tour victories came at The Northern Trust in 2019 at Liberty National.

“Captain America” currently sits at 9th in the American Ryder Cup Standings, and is likely in need of a great week to make an impression on Captain Steve Stricker. He would rather just take the decision out of Stricker’s hands, by cracking into the top 6 and getting in automatically.

As usual, Reed’s short game has been top-notch, ranking sixth on Tour in strokes gained: putting and 12th in strokes gained: around-the-green.

World Rank: 17
Odds To Win: 40-1
2019 Liberty Natl: 1st

13. Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner Wins 2021 Wyndham Championship
Kevin Kisner celebrates after his birdie putt on the 18th green to win the Wyndham Championship in sudden death on the second playoff hole at Sedgefield CC on Aug 15, 2021 in Greensboro, NC. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images)

Kisner’s impressive playoff victory at last week’s Wyndham Championship was his third top 10 in his past five starts, meaning his game is rounding into form coming into the FedExCup playoffs, where he has played well in recent years.

The 37-year-old was T4 at last year’s The Northern Trust, and was T12 two years ago when the event was held at Liberty National.

A match-play guru, Kisner would make himself very hard to keep off the Ryder Cup team if he is able to post another good result this week.

World Rank: 34
Odds To Win: 66-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T12

12. Paul Casey

Paul Casey Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Paul Casey of Team Great Britain plays his shot from the seventh tee during the second round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki CC on July 30, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann via Getty Images)

Casey’s ranking of 45th in the FedExCup standings does not accurately depict how phenomenal the 44-year-old has been in 2021. He was relevant in multiple majors, and has 11 finishes inside the top 15 worldwide, including a win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

More recently, Casey was part of that 7-man bronze medal playoff in Tokyo, which he impressively followed up with a T5 in Memphis the very next week.

Surprisingly, this will be the Liberty National debut for Casey, but that is the closest thing there is to a knock on the man who is currently second on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green.

World Rank: 21
Odds To Win: 33-1
2019 Liberty Natl: DNP

11. Daniel Berger

Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger hits off the 7th tee during the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 11, 2016 in Memphis, TN. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Berger has been fantastic the past two seasons, and is quietly putting another good run together, with three finishes inside the top 8 in his last four starts. He finished third in this event a year ago, but has not faced Liberty National as of yet, failing to qualify for The Northern Trust in 2019.

The 28-year-old has the Tour’s fifth best scoring average, and has played his irons well in 2021, ranking sixth in strokes gained: approach-the-green, and eighth in greens in regulation.

Sitting 10th in the Ryder Cup standings, Berger would make himself a near lock, if not an actual lock, were he to keep form the next two weeks.

World Rank: 16
Odds To Win: 33-1
2019 Liberty Natl: DNP

10. Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler WGC-Dell Match Play Championship
Scottie talks to his caddie on the 12th tee in his match against Matt Kuchar during the semifinal round of the WGC-Dell Match Play at Austin CC on Mar 28, 2021 in Austin, TX. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

A strong playoff performance in his 2020 FedExCup debut meant a fifth place finish in the final standings. The highlight of that playoff run came at this event, when he shot a second-round 59 on his way to a T4 finish.

The 25-year-old looks very, very close to finally notching his first victory on Tour, with eight top-10s since February. Placing highly again this week could really make a good impression on Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker, with Scheffler currently sitting 14th in the American rankings.

It should be noted though, that Scheffler has been awful on Sundays lately, failing to break 70 in any of his last 11 starts.

World Rank: 20
Odds To Win: 33-1
2019 Liberty Natl: DNP

9. Harris English

Harris English Leads WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Harris English plays his shot on the 8th hole during the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on Aug 5, 2021 in Memphis, Tenn. (Photo by Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

Two weeks ago in Memphis, English was on the verge of becoming the Tour’s only three-win player this season, but collapsed down the stretch to finish a stroke out of the three-man playoff.

That disappointment, however, should not overshadow his career year, where eight top 10s has him fourth in the FedExCup standings.

The world No. 10 has three top-4 finishes in his last four starts, including a solo-third at the U.S. Open.

World Rank: 10
Odds To Win: 40-1
2019 Liberty Natl: DNP

8. Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson 2021 U.S. Open
Dustin Johnson waves on the 4th green during the final round of the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines South Course on June 20, 2021 in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

He won by 11(!) strokes last year. He was 30-under. He played the weekend 64-63. He has won this tournament three times. He’s the reigning FedExCup Champion. He should easily be the No. 1 player on this list this week, right?

Well, it’s not that easy.

DJ has been thoroughly disappointing since his four-stroke romp at last November’s Masters Tournament, with nothing better than a T8 in nine months since. And even that T8 was troubling; he got into contention at The Open before imploding on Saturday.

His memories of Liberty National are not great either, as he sprinted out of the gates with a 63, but floundered with two rounds in the 70s on the weekend to finish T24.

A few encouraging signs though: while he has not been pushing the lead anywhere, he has finished inside the top 25 in five of his last six starts. And despite his underwhelming 2021, he still sports the Tour’s third-best scoring average.

World Rank: 2
Odds To Win: 18-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T24

7. Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 20, 2021 in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photo by Darren Carroll – PGA of America via Getty Images)

The four-time major champion has been incredibly frustrating to golf betters and fantasy players in 2021. In his last 11 starts, dating back to early February, Koepka has a win, two runner-ups, and three other top 6 finishes, but also has missed three cuts, a T38, and a T54. It is difficult to gauge quite where he is this week, as he followed three quality rounds two weeks ago at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational with a Sunday 76 to finish T54.

Koepka was T30 at Liberty National in 2019, shooting two 69s and two 70s. The world No. 8 ranks positively in all six strokes gained categories this season, and 16th or better in four of them.

World Rank: 8
Odds To Win: 25-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T30

6. Adam Scott

Adam Scott
Adam Scott watches his shot on the 4th tee during the first round of WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession on Feb 25, 2021 in Bradenton, FL. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

A thoroughly underwhelming 2021 season (nothing better than a T10 in 17 starts) turned significantly upward for the accomplished Aussie last week in Greensboro, where he shot 64-65 on the weekend to reach that epic six-man playoff at the Wyndham Championship.

Scott really should be coming into this week’s event off a victory, as an incredible approach shot on the first playoff hole would have closed the door on his five competitors had he not missed the four-foot birdie putt.

Still, the Aussie rounding into form should be scary for the field: he won The Northern Trust at Liberty National in 2013, beating Tiger Woods by one shot, and he was T5 at Liberty in 2019. This course obviously fits his eye well.

World Rank: 37
Odds To Win: 40-1
2019 Liberty Natl: 5th

5. Abraham Ancer

Abraham Ancer Wins WGC-Fedex-St Jude Invitational
Abraham Ancer reacts after making birdie on the 18th green during the second playoff hole at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind on Aug 8, 2021 in Memphis, Tenn. (Photo by Sam Greenwood via Getty Images)

When Ancer finished solo second at Liberty National to Patrick Reed in 2019, it looked like just a matter of time before the pride of Mexican golf would land in the winner’s circle. That win finally came in his most recent start, when he prevailed in a three-man playoff at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Now with a victory finally on his resume, could the flood gates open? Some of his best work has been during playoff season, and at 11th in the world rankings, the 30-year-old is on the brink of cracking the top 10.

World Rank: 11
Odds To Win: 33-1
2019 Liberty Natl: 2nd

4. Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele Wins Olympic Gold Medal
USA’s Xander Schauffele (R) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (L) on the 5th tee in round 4 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kasumigaseki CC in Kawagoe on Aug 1, 2021. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP via Getty Images)

It would be foolish to read anything negative into Xander’s T46 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in his last start. He was less than a week removed from winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, his first win anywhere in two years, and immediately had to fly across the Pacific to compete in Memphis.

Now, Schauffele will be hoping his new gold will give him momentum to add a win to a PGA Tour season where he has three runner-ups and another third-place finish.

World Rank: 4
Odds To Win: 20-1
2019 Liberty Natl: MC

3. Collin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa Wins 149th Open Championship Royal St Georges
Collin Morikawa celebrates after his shot on the 14th hole during Day Four of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 18, 2021 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Chris Trotman via Getty Images)

The FedExCup points leader is likely still riding the high that came from winning The Open Championship last month, which he followed with a late medal run in Tokyo, being the last player in the 7-man bronze medal playoff eliminated.

The 24-year-old is hands-down the best iron player in the world at the moment, and it’s difficult to see to Morikawa not finishing significantly better than he has in his previous two tries in this event (CUT, T52).

His $7 million in earnings this season is tops on Tour as he looks to put some distance to his lead during the season’s most lucrative stretch.

World Rank: 3
Odds To Win: 18-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T52

2. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth 2021 Masters Tournament
Jordan Spieth reacts to his shot on the fourth hole during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, GA. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A year ago, Spieth’s disappointing 2020 season concluded after missing the cut at The Northern Trust, finishing 107th in the FedExCup standings.

Now, he arrives at Liberty National second in the standings, guaranteeing that he will be in the mix through East Lake. In the past six months, the rejuvenated three-time major champion has seven top-5 finishes, and was solo-second just two starts ago at The Open Championship.

Spieth was T6 at Liberty National in 2019, and that was while struggling. He is going to be motivated to give this season story a great ending.

World Rank: 12
Odds To Win: 16-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T6

1. Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm Scottish Open
Jon Rahm on the 4th hole during day three of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club on July 10, 2021 in North Berwick, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles via Getty Images)

The World No. 1 has had a month to rest for this event, as his second positive COVID test in the past three months prevented him from representing Spain in The Olympics. Assuming that does not happen again, it is impossible to not love his chances at Liberty National, where he finished T3 in 2019.

The 26-year-old leads the Tour with 12 top 10 finishes, and in his last two starts, he won The U.S. Open and finished T3 at The Open Championship. He also has the Tour’s best scoring average, leads in strokes gained: total, is second in both strokes gained: off-the-tee and strokes gained: tee-to-green, and is third in greens in regulation.

In his last six FedExCup playoff events, Rahm has five finishes of T6 or better, including a win at last year’s BMW Championship.

World Rank: 1
Odds To Win: 10-1
2019 Liberty Natl: T3

Next Five: Sam Burns, Russell Henley, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Kevin Na


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