The Deutsche Bank Championship got a new lease on life, when the PGA Tour announced on Thursday that local technology firm EMC Corporation will take over as title sponsor of the second leg of the FedEx Cup series. The German bank's long-running contract will expire at the end of play on Monday.
The name of the event is yet to be determined, but it’s good news for New Englanders, who have made TPC Boston a traditional Labor Day weekend destination since 2003 (the tour made it part of the FEC in 2007), and for the players, who seem to enjoy the mother of all sports towns.
Phil Mickelson traveled to nearby Gillette Stadium, home of the four-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, with his seven U.S. Ryder Cup brethren for some team-building and, of course, a little off-course competition.
Not sure that this bodes well for the home team at Hazeltine, but Lefty, who’s actually a righty, who plays golf as a southpaw, beat his squad mates in a wedge contest from the starboard side. Using captain Davis Love III’s wedge, Phil jammed his second attempt four feet from the hole some 78 yards away on Tom Brady’s field and made birdie.
"There was no left-handed clubs and he hit it righty ... to about four feet," Jordan Spieth said. "Made us all feel really bad because he sure let us know about it."
Mickelson draws Ryan Moore and Kevin Kisner for his opening round that starts on the first tee at 1:28 p.m. ET on Friday. One group behind will be Spieth, Adam Scott, and Emiliano Grillo, at 1:40 p.m.
Grillo, meanwhile, took in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
There are several marquee groupings in the 99-man field of players hoping to make it to the top 70 and advance to next week’s BMW Championship at Crooked Stick.
After winning The Barclays, Patrick Reed sits atop the FedEx Cup standings. He’ll share the first two rounds at the DBC with his closest FEC challengers — world No. 1 Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. They’re off at 9:15 a.m. on Friday.
Henrik Stenson will play through a meniscus tear that forced him to withdraw from last week’s tilt after the first round. He gets Bubba Watson, who hopes to earn a nod from Love as one of the skipper’s four wild-card picks, and Jason Dufner.
Rickie Fowler is another Ryder Cup hopeful. The DBC defending champ not only looks to put last week’s discouraging finish that cost him an automatic spot on the team behind him, but also impress DL3 enough to punch his ticket to Hazeltine. Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, and William McGirt have a 1:16 p.m. tee time on Friday.
Then there’s Rory McIlroy, who hopes new putting coach Phil Kenyon can help the weakest part of his game round into form by the time the Masters comes around in April. McIlroy has tried new grips, switched putters, and still needed 65 putts through the two rounds he played at the PGA Championship before missing the cut.
"It’s a work in progress," said McIlroy, who shares his new short-game guru with Stenson.
McIlroy, Tony Finau, and Jim Herman take the 10th tee at 1:04 p.m. on Friday.
Here’s a complete list of tee times for Round 1 (all times ET):
Friday tee sheet
8:15 a.m. (Tee No. 1) — Jerry Kelly, Kyle Reifers, Martin Laird
8:15 a.m. (10) — Chez Reavie, Marc Leishman. Patton Kizzire
8:27 a.m. (1) — David Lingmerth, Paul Casey, Jon Curran
8:27 a.m. (10) — Ryan Palmer, Charles Howell III, Billy Horschel
8:39 a.m. (1) — Jason Kokrak, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose
8:39 a.m. (10) — Brendan Steele, Daniel Summerhays, Fabian Gomez
8:51 a.m. (1) — Scott Piercy, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace
8:51 a.m. (10) — Kevin Chappell, Sean O'Hair
9:03 a.m. (1) — Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka, Charley Hoffman
9:03 a.m. (10) — Russell Knox, Justin Thomas, Brandt Snedeker
9:15 a.m. (1) — Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Henrik Stenson
9:15 a.m. (10) — Patrick Reed, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson
9:27 a.m. (1) — Hudson Swafford, K.J. Choi, Jim Furyk
9:27 a.m. (10) — Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk
9:39 a.m. (1) — Danny Lee, Harold Varner III, Sung Kang
9:39 a.m. (10) — Vijay Singh, Spencer Levin, Steve Stricker
12:40 p.m. (1) — Brian Harman, Ricky Barnes, Johnson Wagner
12:40 p.m. (10) — Roberto Castro, Colt Knost, Brian Stuard
12:52 p.m. (1) — Zach Johnson, Luke Donald, Ben Martin
12:52 p.m. (10) — James Hahn, Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Streelman
1:04 p.m. (1) — Jamie Lovemark, Harris English, J.B. Holmes
1:04 p.m. (10) — Tony Finau, Rory McIlroy, Jim Herman
1:16 p.m. (1) — Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, William McGirt
1:16 p.m. (10) — Smylie Kaufman, Graeme McDowell, Bill Haas
1:28 p.m. (1) — Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore, Kevin Kisner
1:28 p.m. (10) — Sergio Garcia, Jhonattan Vegas, Daniel Berger
1:40 p.m. (1) — Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Emiliano Grillo
1:40 p.m. (10) — Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland
1:52 p.m. (1) — Patrick Rodgers, Billy Hurley III, Russell Henley
1:52 p.m. (10) — Vaughn Taylor, John Senden, Freddie Jacobson
2:04 p.m. (1) — David Hearn, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Bryce Molder
2:04 p.m. (10) — Jason Bohn, John Huh, Adam Hadwin
2:16 p.m. (1) — Scott Brown, Derek Fathauer, Chad Campbell