5 Players To Watch At 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

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Five Favorites At The 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship

Top Five
Bob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports

125 players started last week’s tournament at The Barclays with hopes of winning the FedEx Cup. This week, only 100 remain to play at TPC Boston, site of this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. Come Labor Day, 70 will continue their quest and 30 head home with eyes on 2014. The pressure to perform is at the highest point of the year, and it’s not going to get any easier.

If last week at Liberty National felt like a shootout, this week might just have fans’ and players’ collective heads spinning. According to the PGA Tour’s website, the track measures in a hair over 7,200 yards, but played as the fourth-easiest par-71 on the schedule in 2012. Rory McIlroy’s winning score of 20-under was actually the fourth time in the tournament’s 10-year history that particular mark had been reached. Adam Scott matched it in his win here in 2003, and Vijay Singh and Charley Hoffman both posted -22 in their wins in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

With weather expected to be ultimately pleasant in the Boston area throughout the holiday weekend, this isn’t going to be one of those tournaments won through attrition. Instead, the field will have their bravery and creativity in shot-making tested. Remember the old mantra, “drive for show, putt for dough”? Keep that in mind as the week unfolds.

Before we get into my predictions for the top of the field this week, one last statistic to show how competitive this week will be. Currently at No. 29 in the standings, Charl Schwartzel could move into third if he were to win this week. If he misses the cut, he could drop as low as 76th and out of the playoffs. The margin for error is nearly zero and getting lower every day.

With that, let’s continue on to take a look at my top-five players for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Brandon Raper is a golf writer for “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and add him to your Google+ network.

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5) Phil Mickelson

Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson is coming off a tie for sixth at The Barclays, where he shot his best round of 65 on Sunday. He’s finished in the top 10 each of the last two years at TPC Boston and won in 2007. A top finish here could put him in the driver’s seat of the points race heading into the week off before the BMW Championship.

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4) Jordan Spieth

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One question for Jordan Spieth: does the kid ever slow down? He’s playing smart, almost carefree golf lately, which is incredible considering the toll the long PGA Tour season can take on a young rookie. He’s ninth in the points still this week, and with every top finish he scores, the dream of the FedEx Cup championship gets a lot more real. There’s not a shot in the bag that he doesn’t have the courage to pull off.

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3) Jim Furyk

Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports

The slump that saw Jim Furyk miss three cuts with only one top 25 between the Masters and the Open Championship is clearly in the rear-view mirror now. Four-straight top-10 finishes have the 2010 FedEx Cup winner primed to make a run in the playoffs. He led the field in strokes gained putting last week at The Barclays, and if he can carry that into Boston, where he has five top-15s in his career, he could make a big move in the standings.

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2) Tiger Woods

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Tiger Woods finds his way to second in my rankings for a second week due to questions about his back injury. Early reports from TPC Boston indicate that he’s feeling better now that he’s had a few days to rest, but the image of him falling to his knees in pain on Sunday is sticking with me. Was that just Tiger being dramatic? Possibly, but he’s been battling nagging injuries all year, it seems. Still, he’s been the best player on Tour in 2013, and he’s dominated at TPC Boston. If he’s truly healthy, he’s one of the favorites for sure.

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1) Adam Scott

Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports

Ride the hot hand. Adam Scott’s win last week was a surprise to everybody, including Scott himself, but that was more due to the ridiculously low scores and not the way he was playing. Scott has three-straight top-10 finishes at TPC Boston, but will be looking to end the 2013 edition the same way he did in the inaugural 2003 tournament, with another victory.