The PGA Tour’s postseason kicks off this week, as 120 players tee it up at Glen Oaks Club for The Northern Trust. Here’s a look at a few of the marquee, early-round groupings to keep an eye on as Rory McIlroy looks to defend his title and Hideki Matsuyama attempts to capitalize on his top seed (all times ET):
7:53 a.m. Thursday, 12:33 p.m. Friday: Rory McIlroy, Sung Kang, Keegan Bradley
McIlroy’s participation this week was a question mark, but now the Ulsterman appears ready to defend the title he won in dramatic fashion last year at East Lake. Kang had three top-10 finishes this season including a runner-up in Houston, while Bradley remains in search of his first win on Tour since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
8:26 a.m. Thursday, 1:06 p.m. Friday: Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth
The top three players in the points race combined this season to win 10 events, including two WGCs and two majors. Matsuyama chased his win in Akron with a T-5 finish at the PGA, where Thomas lifted the Wanamaker for the first time. Rounding out the high-profile trio will be Spieth, who will make his first start since an unsuccessful bid to complete the career Grand Slam.
12:33 p.m. Thursday, 7:53 a.m. Friday: Patrick Reed, Ollie Schniederjans, Cameron Smith
Reed won this event last year when it was played at Bethpage Black, and he enters off a runner-up finish at Quail Hollow. He’ll be joined for the first two rounds by Schniederjans, who nearly caught Henrik Stenson last week at the Wyndham Championship, and Smith, who teamed with Jonas Blixt to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April.
1:06 p.m. Thursday, 8:26 a.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm
This group consists of Nos. 4-6 on the regular-season points list, and it’s highlighted by the world No. 1 who is still looking for his first win since a back injury sidelined him at the Masters. Fowler remains on a tear with top-10 finishes in five of his last six worldwide starts, while Rahm has cooled since his romp at the Irish Open last month.