Hideki Matsuyama has taken advantage of the “slump” Dustin Johnson had in the middle of this season, hasn’t he? With three wins and three runner-up finishes on the year, he’s now first in the FedEx Cup race, and while he won’t be able to make a serious run at DJ’s World No. 1 status any time soon, he’s made the top of the world rankings essentially a three-man race.
Matsuyama is destined to do some great things, that much is clear. The questions are – what and when? He had one of the best major seasons you can have without actually winning one in 2017. So when that’s out the window, what’s left? The FedEx Cup season championship and a $10 million bonus probably don’t hurt.
Matsuyama hasn’t started the Playoffs terribly well in the past, but that just means he stands to benefit as much as anybody from a brand-new course. There’s not a relevant stat you can find a significant weakness in this year, either. Sure, he ranks 146th in Strokes Gained: Putting. He also ranks third in adjusted scoring and first in birdie average. You tell me what’s more important.
I love what Matsuyama has done in his game this season, and I love the form he’s displayed heading into the Playoffs. He’s the favorite until he slips – and there’s no telling if that will happen.
Who’s your pick for this week’s FedEx Cup Playoff opener?