The Northern Trust is the first of three FedEx Cup playoffs that traditionally close out the PGA Tour calendar. This event is followed by the BMW Championship and the playoffs conclude with the season ending Tour Championship.
The tournament is limited to the 125 players who have secured the most FedEx Cup points on that year’s PGA Tour. As a result, the world’s bets golfer attend to secure one of the biggest paydays of the entire year.
First played in 1967, this event was originally known as the Westchester Classic with the inaugural tournament won by Jack Nicklaus. Over the years it has had various title sponsors including Buick and Barclays.
Originally played at the Westchester Country Club, the tournament switched to a rota system and now alternates between the TPC Boston in Massachusetts and the Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey.
|TPC Boston||Norton, Massachusetts||7,308 Yards||$9,500,000|
Ahead of the 2018 edition of the Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced that the tournament would rotate between New York, New Jersey and Boston over the coming years. It’s Massachusetts’ time to host this year with TPC Boston making a welcome return to the PGA Tour. This is the first time that the 7,308 yard, par 71 course has been used for the Northern Trust but it was a previous staple of the FedEx Cup playoffs as the host of the Dell Technologies Championship which was scrapped when the playoffs were reduced to just three events.
Many of the players who qualified for their place this week (courtesy of finishing in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup rankings after last week’s Wyndham Championship) have previous form at TPC Boston. Indeed, eight of the former winners at the venue are in the field. They’ll tell you that this is a very fitting playoff venue as it poses many of the same challenges set by a typical PGA Tour venue.
Length off the tee here has proven to be an important indicator of success but the small greens throughout the course help to mitigate against the biggest hitters simply overpowering the course. Approach shots can quite easily miss the green from the rough so finding the fairway and good second shots are important. That’s especially true of the par fives which are quite tricky so anybody finding the putting surfaces in two shots regularly should gain strokes on the field.
The Northern Trust Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||Course||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2020||Dustin Johnson||TPC Boston||-30||11 Strokes|
|2019||Patrick Reed||Liberty National||-16||1 Stroke|
|2018||Bryson DeChambeau||Ridgewood||-18||4 Strokes|
|2017||Dustin Johnson||Glen Oaks||-13||Playoff|
|2016||Patrick Reed||Bethpage Black||-9||1 Stroke|
|2015||Jason Day||Plainfield||-19||6 Strokes|
|2014||Hunter Mahan||Ridgewood||-14||2 Strokes|
|2013||Adam Scott||Liberty National||-11||1 Stroke|
|2012||Nick Watney||Bethpage Black||-10||3 Strokes|
|2011||Dustin Johnson||Plainfield||-19||2 Strokes|
About the Northern Trust
The Northern Trust is a golf tournament on the PGA Tour that is played annually and is one of the three playoff events for the FedEx Cup. Previously known as The Barclays, the tournament is open to the top 125 FedEx Cup points leaders. As the first tournament in the FedEx Cup series it is followed by the BMW Championship (that includes the top 70 points leaders) and then finally the Tour Championship (where the top 30 points leaders compete).
The first tournament was named the Westchester Classic. Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus came out on top in the inaugural event way back in 1967, securing victory by a single stroke at Westchester Country Club in New York. Since then, many of the world’s best golfers have won this tournament over the years including Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia.
From its first showing in 1967 until 2007, the tournament was played at Westchester; from 2008 the tournament has been played at a number of courses located in the states of New York and New Jersey, including Liberty National, New Jersey (2009, 2013, 2019), the Ridgewood Country Club, New Jersey (2008, 2010, 2014, 2018), Bethpage Black Course, New York (2012, 2016), and Plainfield Country Club, New Jersey (2011, 2015). The 2020 tournament was scheduled to dip its toes into a different state, Massachusetts, to play at TPC Boston.
DeChambeau Becomes Youngest Winner
In 2018, Bryson DeChambeau became the youngest Northern Trust winner of the FedEx Cup era. The then 24 year old surged to the top of the leaderboard in the third round, going on to complete an impressive four-stroke victory at the Ridgewood Country Club.
After his excellent victory in New Jersey, DeChambeau said, “If I can keep playing the way I am, I think I can do some great things.” Since then, Bryson has added a Dell Technologies Championship and a Shriners Hospital for Children Open to his list of honours. He’s never finished better than tied 15th in a Major (in the 2016 US Open), but it is perhaps only a matter of time before the Californian gets in the mix on the biggest stages of them all.
Stricker’s Sensational Success
Before Steve Stricker’s Barclays win in 2007, the Wisconsin man had not won on US soil for 11 years, even crumbling to the point at which he lost his tour card. Suffice to say, Stricker’s success in New York in 2007 had been a long time coming. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Stricker said after beating KJ Choi by two strokes at Westchester.
Stricker got his career back on track after his Barclays victory in 2007, going on to win a further eight PGA Tour titles. The last of those came in 2012, when Mr September (as he is known due to his consistency in the FedEx Cup playoffs) triumphed at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. However, his victory of The Barclays in 2007 is arguably his most important win of his career.
Harrington’s Heroics in 2005
Padraig Harrington was a rookie on the PGA Tour back in 2005. However, the Irishman certainly came of age when he won The Barclays. In doing so, Harrington became the first and only man from the Republic of Ireland to win this particular tournament.
A young Paddy needed a two-putt birdie on the 18th green to force a playoff with Jim Furyk. However, Harrington avoided a playoff in the end, as Padraig went on to secure a single-stroke win at Westchester, with an eagle putt from 65 feet doing the business for the Irishman. Since that breakthrough victory, Harrington has gone on to win three Majors: The Open in 2007 and 2008, and the US PGA Championship in 2008.
Harman’s Two Holes-in-one
Brian Harman had a Sunday to remember at the 2015 Barclays. Harman hit an ace on hole number three, then repeating the feat on hole number 14! Harman joined a group of very few to record two holes-in-one in one round on the PGA Tour. For those interested, the other two – at the time of writing – are:
- Yusaku Miyazato – in the second round of the 2006 Reno-Tahoe Open, which is now known as the Barracuda Championship
- W Whedon – An amateur who achieved the feat in the first round of the 1955 Insurance City Open, the tournament now known as the Travelers Championship
Johnson Versus Spieth
The fierce battle between American duo Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at the 2017 Northern Trust will always be a memorable one for golf fans. Spieth started the final day with a three-shot lead over Johnson and looked all set to finish the job in the final round of the tournament. But it was Johnson who performed better on the day, putting in a score of 66 to Spieth’s 69 and leading to a playoff between the paid.
Johnson birdied the first hole of the playoff when Spieth could manage only par, and thus it was Johnson who secured another PGA Tour tournament title. It was his second victory of this event, as Johnson also won The Barclays in 2011. His solitary Major victory (to date) came in 2016 when he won the US Open.
Singh the Record Winner
No player in Northern Trust history has been more successful than Fiji’s ace Vijay Singh. The veteran has had a fine career in golf, but this tournament has been very kind to ‘The Big Fijian’ over the years. Singh has picked up four wins, with the last of those coming in 2008. Vijay also won in 1993, 1995 and 2006.
Singh’s 2008 victory was certainly the most memorable of the four. Sergio Garcia was in red-hot form at Ridgewood, with Kevin Sutherland also having had a fine tournament. However, Singh took the playoff by the scruff of the neck with some excellent shots, and he duly went on to win his fourth crown.
Singh is out on his own with four victories to his name, but several players have won this tournament twice. The likes of Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed all have two wins apiece.
Vijay Singh’s Victories
|Year||Vijay Singh’s Wins||Who Singh Beat|
|1993||Buick Classic||Mark Wiebe in a playoff|
|1995||Buick Classic||Doug Martin in a playoff|
|2006||Barclays Classic||Adam Scott by two strokes|
|2008||The Barclays||Sergio Garcia and Kevin Sutherland in a playoff|