The Northern Trust Open is played at the Austin Country Club in Oak Brook, Illinois. It is a professional golf tournament played on the PGA Tour. It is the third of the season’s four major championships, and has been a major championship event since 1921. While the event is held in the US, it is not the first time it has been played in the country. The tournament was previously held at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois from 1932 to 1961. In 1963, the tournament was moved to the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, California, where it was played until 1972. It was moved to the Austin Country Club in Oak Brook, Illinois in 1973.
The Northern Trust, a private investment firm with $19.6 billion in assets under management, has hired a new investment advisor and has announced that it will stop investing in coal. The move is a dramatic change for a fund that was the largest shareholder in Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the country. Peabody’s stock has plummeted in recent weeks after reports that the company has been repaying billions of dollars to its bondholders due to lower coal prices.
Yesterday, the Northern Trust Company announced its earnings from the first quarter. This is an important announcement for investors and traders who believe in the future of the company. Here are some of the points that made the announcement important:
The Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, kicks off the FedEx Cup playoffs this week.
Whose players are the favorites this time, who has the best odds, and which props should be considered?
Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Tyler Fulghum, and Anita Marks, as well as sports betting deputy editor David Bearman and betting experts Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Tyler Fulghum, and Anita Marks, give their best bets.
Unless otherwise stated, all odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
Jon Rahm (+1000) is the favorite to win; he’ll finish in the top ten (-125)
Fallica: It’s about as obvious and chalky a choice as you can get, but it needs to be done. His past three tournaments have resulted in a victory in the US Open, a T-3 at The Open, and a win at the Memorial that he would have won if he hadn’t tested positive for COVID-19. He is currently the greatest player in the world, and he must be supported here.
Collin Morikawa (+1800) is the favorite to win; a top-10 finish (+200) is also a possibility.
Bearman: Despite being a two-time major winner and the current FedExCup points leader, the two-time major champion is still underappreciated. The 24-year-old is the leader in Shots Gained: tee-to-green and approach, is sixth in total, second in greens in regulation, and fourth in scoring average after winning The Open Championship and finishing T-4 at the Olympics. Despite this, he is now ranked fourth on most odds boards, with odds of 18-1, after Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, and Dustin Johnson. With all due respect to those exceptional players, no one is playing better than Morikawa, who finished T-4 in the US Open and lost in a playoff at the Memorial before winning the Open. Have you only played Liberty National once and finished T-53? Except, previous to any of his five PGA Tour victories, he had never played St. George’s (Open Championship), Concession Golf Club (WGC), Muirfield Village (Workday Open), Harding Park (PGA Championship), or Montreux Golf Club (Barracuda). This child doesn’t appear to mind the lack of course history. Furthermore, many people are comparing Liberty National to Royal St. George’s, and we’ve all seen how that turned out. I’ll keep shooting if I can keep getting 18-1 odds on Morikawa to win a major tournament that requires strong iron play.
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Rory McIlroy (+2200) is the favorite to win, with a top-10 finish (+225).
Bearman: Years from now, we’ll look back on McIlroy’s 2020-21 season and debate whether it was a good or terrible season. Unless he seizes control of the story and writes it for us in the following three occurrences. McIlroy began his unconventional season with finishes of T-8 at the US Open and T-5 at the Masters, as well as Top-10 finishes at the WGC-Concession and API. Poor finishes at The Players (cut), WGC-Match play (group play), and the Masters (cut) along with reports of a swing modification had you wondering when he’d win again. The next week, at the Wells Fargo, he repeated the feat, only to have dismal results in the PGA Championship and the Open Championship. However, he competed in the US Open (T-7), lost in a playoff for the bronze medal in Japan, and finished T-12 at the WGC-St. Jude with three straight 66s. Overall, he has six to-10s and is ranked 26th in the standings, indicating that he still has work to do to ensure his eighth trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship in ten seasons. McIlroy has excelled in the FedExCup playoffs, regardless of how good or terrible his season has been. Rory is one of only two players to win the FEC trophy twice (the other being Tiger Woods), and he is the all-time money leader since the playoffs began in 2007. He also has the second-most victories with five (Dustin Johnson has 6). He’s had previous success at this venue, placing T-6th in 2019 and T-19 in 2013. He is ninth in T2G and 12th in total shots gained, and he has a chance to cap off an up-and-down season with a good finale.
Berger (+2800) to win; top-5 finisher (+600); top American (+1800); Berger wins first round 3-ball over Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Reed.
Berger has been scorching this summer, according to Marks. He had a Top-10 finish in Memphis to bring to Jersey. His game ticks all the boxes: he’s first in DA, SGA, par 5 score, and bentgrass putting. Berger has to impress Steve Stricker in order to be invited to the Team Ryder Cup, which adds to the excitement surrounding this weekend.
Paul Casey (+3500) is the favorite to win, with a top-10 finish (+275).
Casey has had a fantastic year, finishing in the Top-10 in seven of his 18 appearances, including a Top-5 at THE PLAYERS, T-4 at the PGA, T-7 at the US Open, and T-5 at the WGC-St. Jude. His statistics put him in elite company, as he ranks seventh in SG: tee-to-green and ninth in SG: total.
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Adam Scott (+4000) is the favorite to win; a top-10 finish (+350) is also a possibility.
Bearman: Scott has had a below-average season, with just two Top 10 finishes, one of which being a runner-up result in Greensboro last week, when he missed a four-foot putt to win at the first playoff hole. He didn’t play much after COVID in 2020, as he stayed in Australia throughout the epidemic, and he never really got going this year outside of a T-10 at Torrey Pines and a Top-15 result at the Honda. Scott, on the other hand, finished fifth in the PGA Tour’s previous two visits at Liberty National, finishing fifth in 2019 and besting the field for the victory in 2013. With his T-2 performance last week, he climbed from 121st to 82nd in the FedEx Cup standings, putting him in contention to enter next week’s field of 70 if he has a strong weekend. Since he has had a poor season, his stats won’t wow you, but he was third on approach, fourth T2G, and fourth overall at the Wyndham Championship last week, and he can utilize the two excellent finishes here to his advantage. In a nutshell, his season was summed up by his approach at the first playoff hole, followed by a missed putt to win. To get it to Maryland next week, he’ll have to keep up his excellent iron play.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+5000) is the favorite to win; a top-10 finish (+450) is also a possibility.
Fallica: After a strong start to the year in California and Florida, he’s really cooled down. But, as proven by a Top 10 finish at THE PLAYERS and a Top 5 finish at RBC Heritage, he can still compete at the top level. The fact that he’s a little under the radar this week definitely helps his pricing.
Jason Kokrak (+6600) is the favorite to win; a top-20 finish (+275) is a plus; and FRL (+6500) is a plus.
Bearman: I’ll gladly confess that I didn’t select the best weeks for Kokrak. He’s done well when I haven’t chosen him and has disappointed me a few times when I did. But I believe this is a good opportunity for him to make a profit. Since winning his second tournament of the season at the Charles Schwab in May, Kokrak has finished T-12 at the sub-par Rocket Mortgage field, with a missed cut at the US Open as a hot bet and a no-show at the Wyndham last week. So what makes me want to choose him? For a golfer who has had success at Liberty National, with a T-12 in 2019 and a T-9 in 2013, his recent dismal play has pushed his chances into the 65-70 area. All eight rounds he played were under par, and he finished third on the course in total strokes gained. It’s no surprise, given that Liberty National has a lot of bent grass from tee to green, and both of this year’s victories (CJ Cup and Charles Schwab) occurred on bent grass courses. Kokrak ranks 6th on Tour in shots gained: putting this year, and enters 25th in overall shots gained, after years of losing strokes and tournaments due to a weak putter. His two victories put him in 12th position and guaranteed a spot in next week’s BMW, but another strong performance may seal his spot in the Top 30 and a second career participation in the season’s final race.
Top-20 finish (+160) for Abraham Ancer
Marks: Coming off a victory at the FedEx Cup, Ancer takes on Lady Liberty’s course. Ancer finished second here in 2019, and this track is a good match for his style, since he is sixth in DA and 11th in scrambling. This seems to be simple money.
Top-10 finish (+180) for Collin Morikawa
Fulghum; Currently the greatest pure ball-striker in the world, Morikawa possesses the kind of game that thrives on a course like Liberty National (long, penal, with small greens) and against a world-class field. This season, Morikawa leads the Tour in SG: Approach, is second in GIR percent, and has the most birdies per round (4.40).
Top-20 finish (+160) for Adam Scott
Scott Fulghum: A great ball-striker with a traditional swing, Fulghum is a little more unpredictable than Morikawa, but he’s had a lot of success on this course. In its existence, Liberty National has hosted three PGA Tour tournaments, with Scott finishing fifth in 2019 and winning the tournament in 2013. On approach to these tiny greens, Scott possesses the necessary wedge game, which could offer him a greater chance at birdie than his rivals. He can compete if he putsts well, which he does, ranking 20th on the tour in SG: Putting this season.
(+350) Jordan Spieth Finish in the top five; top American (+1000)
Spieth should win Comeback Player of the Year, according to Marks! He loves this song, and it’s perfect for links courses. I’d choose him to win if he wasn’t rated in the top 100 in Greens in Regulation.
Adam Scott finished in the top ten (+350) and was the top Australian (+200). Scott won the first round three ball over Harry Higgs and Wyndham Clark (-145)
Marks: Scott finished T-2 in the Wyndham Championships this week, and nothing beats being a bridesmaid for motivation! He’s the greatest ball striker on the Tour right now, and he’s won here before. Scott is ranked No. 82 in FedEx points, so he has a lot riding on his performance this weekend to ensure a spot in Baltimore next week.
Patrick Reed finished in the top ten (+400) and the top twenty (+180).
Bearman: Reed is the reigning champion at Liberty National, having defeated Abraham Ancer by one shot in the Northern Trust in 2019. During that week, he led the field in total shots gained and was third tee-to-green. Captain America also went 3-1-1 for Team USA at Liberty National in the 2017 President’s Cup, so he has more experience than most on this course. Reed has finished in the Top-10 in FedEx Cup playoff tournaments eight times since 2014, progressing to the Tour Championship in each of those seven seasons. He starts this round of the playoffs in 22nd place on the Tour, which means he’s in decent condition but far from a certainty for the top 30. I anticipate Reed to put in another strong performance tonight and perhaps pull off another win. His recent form (his previous top-10 finish was a sixth at the Memorial in June) makes me wary of betting on him to win, but a Top-10 at +400 should be just up his alley. He’s tied for 11th in total shots gained and has one of the best short games on the Tour.
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Top-20 finish (+600) for Harold Varner III
Bearman: Last week, I made a few Top-10/Top-20 selections based on the premise that to reach the Top 125, one had to play well. It worked for me with C.T. Pan (T-29, but won several head-to-heads) and Adam Scott (bet live), but Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker missed the cut. We’ll try again with Varner this week, as he enters the standings at No. 72, barely outside the Top-70 required to qualify for the BMW. So, of all the players around the Top-70 line, why HV3? Two years ago, he finished T-3 here, behind Reed and Abraham Ancer. He also seems to be on an odd, every other event trend, where he follows up a bad week with a strong week. In the past five weeks, he’s gone MC, T11, MC, T15, and T57, so let’s hope for another Top-20 this week to pay at 6-1.
Sebastian Munoz finished in the top ten (+1000) and was the first round leader (+9000).
Munoz has rounds of 66, 67, 63, 69, and 67 in his previous five opening rounds, according to Fallica. He’s also had a handful of Top 5 finishes over that time, so he’s the ideal dart toss at this pricing.
Justin Thomas is favored by Webb Simpson (-110).
JT hasn’t finished in the Top 10 since winning the Players, and he’s had a tough time on the greens this year. Simpson has recovered from his recent slump with Top 20 finishes at The Open, WGC, and Wyndham, and is now in considerably better condition than JT.
Dustin Johnson (-105), Rory McIlroy (-105)
Bearman: I explained why I favor McIlroy in the previous paragraph, but I also want to pick him in a clash. Yes, DJ won with a crazy -30 score last year, but it was at TPC Boston, not Liberty National. This is a significant difference that will deceive bettors this week. In 2019, he finished T-24 and missed the cut in 2013. Add in the fact that DJ has been excellent but not exceptional, and I believe there is value in McIlroy as the underdog.
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