Northern Trust Open Kicks Off PGA Tour Playoffs in Old Westbury

Steve Strickler practices at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury this week (Photo by Kevin Kane/Long Island Press)

Tensions are high as the top golfers on the PGA Tour teed off Thursday at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury for the first day of the Northern Trust Open, the first stop of the FedExCup Playoffs Tour.

Tournament favorite and current FedExCup point leader Hideki Matsuyama will be battling it out against other top contenders Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Ricke Folwer for 2,000 points and a purse of $8.75 million, with $1.17 million awarded to the winner.

“It has been a really good season, great season for me,” Matsuyama told reporters this week. “But it really just begins now because unless I play well in the next four events, I’m not going to be the FedExCup Champion. This is the time that all of us really need to up our games because you need to win one of those tournaments to even have a chance.”

Despite a narrow loss to Thomas at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, Matsuyama said his focus is ultimately shifting toward a FedExCup win. Coming off three wins at Bridgestone and HSBC in the World Golf Championships and a win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he is looking to solidify his spot for the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.

“Unfortunately Justin Thomas played better than I did, and it was a bitter defeat for me,” he said. “I was really hoping and praying and doing my best to win the PGA. But hopefully I can take that experience, what I learned there, to play better in majors to come, and hopefully someday, that first major will show itself.”

The course at Glen Oaks, renovated in 2014 by club superintendent Craig Currier and Joel Weiman, had received praise by a majority of players in press conferences this week. Despite rain in the beginning of the week, the weather forecast calls for temperatures around 75 degrees and winds around 10 mph on Saturday and Sunday.

Beyond golf, the Northern Trust Open will also highlight the intersection of fashion, food and golf at the club with kiosks from TrendyGolf and Kendra Scott onsite as well as Taste NY marketplace for fans to try the best food that New York has to offer like Junior’s and Momofuku.

“We’re proud to bring this world-renowned golf tournament back to the Empire State and we are using this opportunity to expose more people from New York and beyond to the great products grown and produced in every corner of this great state,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of the Taste NY Marketplace spotlighting local businesses at the event.

Northern Trust Open concludes Sunday.