But to digress for a second, I was asked about Dustin Johnson’s strategy in the playoff last week.
Obviously, the strategy paid off. But that does not always mean that it was a good strategy. If the odds of executing the shot are low and you happen to get away with it, that strategy will eventually come back to haunt you if you continue to use the same approach. But, as I’ve mentioned in previous editions of Pro Golf Synopsis, longer hitters can afford to be more aggressive with their lines off the tee and they should often seek out to be more aggressive so they can take advantage of their length off the tee. This is what DJ did. It was also a high likelihood of that he was able to carry the water from that line.
The only possible issue with taking that approach is that it can be difficult to pick the proper line to aim at. However, DJ usually hits a fade the only way he doesn’t carry the water if he takes an average swing at the ball is if he hooks it. So being able to hit his fade leans more towards being safe and in the end, it was a text book strategy for a player of his length off the tee.
TPC Boston started hosting Tour events back in 2003 with the Deutsche Bank Championship. TPC Boston was originally designed by Arnold Palmer who is, to me, perhaps the most underrated architect of golf courses. It’s a weird thing where as much as Mr. Palmer was respected, he had such mass popularity and tremendous playing credentials that most serious golfers that analyze designs tend to not take him very seriously.
They seem to take Nicklaus’ designs more seriously, but often pan Mr. Nicklaus’ designs because of their difficulty. Ben Crenshaw generally receives great praise for his designs and he is probably the most acclaimed former player turned designer in today’s game. But you almost never hear Mr. Palmer’s name in the conversation of top quality golf course designs.
Palmer’s designs usually stray from tricked up holes and prefer low laying greens to provide a more picturesque view on approach shots. He’s especially keen on creating some holes where too many players lay up off the tee when they should hit driver and usually a hole or two where virtually everybody should lay up off the tee, but it tricks too many players into thinking they can hit driver. He’s also very adept at using ‘form follows function.’ For instance, the 17th hole at Bay Hill is a great example as it’s a very difficult tee shot on the par-3, but the green is very flat and has a very high make percentage. Thus, it’s not impossible and gives in a little to the tee shot being so difficult.
Lastly, Palmer designs usually stress keeping your ball below the hole.
Of course, TPC Boston was re-designed by Gil Hanse. But, the course is still well respected. And the 18th hole is the final critical hole on the course, so it can lead to an exciting finish:
Projected Winning Score: -15
Dustin Johnson +700
Jordan Spieth +800
Rickie Fowler +1,400
Jon Rahm +1,800
Justin Thomas +2,000
3JACK’S DARK HORSE PICKS
Paul Casey +2,200
Kevin Chappell +3,500
Charley Hoffman +4,000
Kyle Stanley +12,500
Emiliano Grillo +15,000