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Northern Trust: Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth favorites in PGA Tour playoff opener

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Northern Trust: Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth favorites in PGA Tour playoff opener
Players practice on the 18th green at the 2021 Northern Trust on Wednesday at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Jon Rahm of Spain and American Jordan Spieth are the favorites to win this week's 2021 Northern Trust, the first PGA Tour tournament of the FedExCup Playoffs.

The tournament tees off Thursday and ends Sunday at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Americans Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy also are among the Top 5 favorites.

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The tournament airs on NBC's Golf Channel and CBS.

The Top 125 players in the FedExCup rankings qualified for the Northern Trust. They will compete for a total prize purse of $9.5 million, with the winner to receive $1.7 million. The Top 65 scores and ties after two rounds advance to the third round of the tournament.

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Morikawa, the No. 3 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, leads the FedExCup standings. Spieth and Patrick Cantlay rank second and third, respectively. The trio tees off at 8:26 a.m. EDT Thursday.

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Rahm, the top player in the world, tees off alongside Harris English and Abraham Ancer at 1:06 p.m. EDT. Gold medal winner Xander Schauffele tees off at 8:15 a.m. EDT with Viktor Hovland and Jason Korak.

Rahm, who withdrew from the 2020 Summer Games due to his second positive COVID-19 test result in two months, is cleared to participate in the Northern Trust. The PGA Tour discontinued its COVID-19 testing program.

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"I'm probably going to be a little bit more rested than most people, but at the same time, I haven't played competitively in four weeks," Rahm told reporters Tuesday.

"There might be a slight bit of rust, but I'm pretty sure that's going to go quickly just because of how happy and how excited I am to be back and be competing."

The FedExCup Playoffs feature a total of $60 million in prize money.

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The Top 70 golfers in the FedExCup Cup standings after the Northern Trust advance to next week's BMW Championship. The Top 30 in the standings after the BMW Championship advance to the PGA Tour Championship, the season finale.

Johnson won the 2020 PGA Tour Championship and claimed a $15 million prize. McIlroy, the 2019 champion, tied for eighth.

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The PGA Tour Championship uses a staggered scoring system, which allows to highest-ranked players to start the tournament under par.

Johnson finished first in last year's Northern Trust and second in the BMW Championship.

Notable first round groups

7:31 a.m. EDT Tyrrell Hatton, Talor Gooch, Sebastian Munoz

7:53 a.m. EDT Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Russell Henley

8:04 a.m. EDT: Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith

8:15 a.m. EDT: Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Corey Conners

8:15 a.m. EDT Viktor Hovland, Jason Korak, Xander Schauffele

8:26 a.m. EDT Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Daniel Berger

8:26 a.m. EDT Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay

12:22 p.m. EDT Hudson Swafford, Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson

12:44 p.m. EDT Dustin Johnson, Joaquin Niemann, Stewart Cink

12:55 p.m. EDT Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns

1:06 p.m. EDT Harris English, Jon Rahm, Abraham Ancer

1:06 p.m. EDT Tony Finau, Kevin Na, Billy Horschel

How to watch

What: The Northern Trust

When: Thursday through Sunday

Where: Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.

TV: From 2 to 6 p.m. EDT Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel; from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT Saturday on Golf Channel and from 3 to 6 p.m. EDT on CBS; from noon to 2 p.m. EDT on Golf Channel and from 2 to 6 p.m. EDT on CBS

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