The PGA Tour travels to Massachusetts this week for the Deutsche Bank Championship and the second leg of the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs. Webb Simpson defends the title at TPC Boston.

After the first FedEx Cup playoff event, the top 100 on the standings have moved on to contest this tournament with Nick Watney leading the way and Brandt Snedeker in second. It’s an important week for both players, not just in terms of their FedEx Cup ambitions, but also because Davis Love III will announce his four Captain’s picks for the 2012 Ryder Cup after this event.

Watney and Snedeker are in the running together with Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan. Each of those men will be hoping to put on a good showing in this event to grab Love’s attention.

Played over Labor Day weekend the tournament finishes on Monday. Labor Day is a holiday celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.

The TPC Boston opened for play in June 2002, it’s a private members’ course designed by Arnold Palmer course design. It tends to play as one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour schedule so expect to see low scoring this week

This tournament began life in 2003 and only one of the former champions has not qualified to tee it up this time around – that’s Olin Browne who won in 2005. The other past winners are: Adam Scott (2003,) Vijay Singh (2004 and 2008,) Tiger Woods (2006,) Phil Mickelson (2007,) Steve Stricker (2009,) Charley Hoffman (2010,) and Webb Simpson who won last year after a playoff with Chez Reavie.

Venue: TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
Date: August 31 – September 3
Course stats: par 71, 7,214 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Webb Simpson (-15)

TV Coverage:
Friday 31 – Live on Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 1 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 9pm
Sunday 2 – Live on Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Monday 3 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 4.30pm

Player Watch:
Brandt Snedeker – He was runner-up last week and will desperately want a good result here to play his way into the Ryder Cup. He tends to make a good number of birdies and that’s crucial for success around this layout.

Jason Dufner – He didn’t play at The Barclays last week so comes into this event well rested. Again he’s something of a birdie machine and one of the most consistent ball-strikers on tour.

Luke Donald – This course suits his game and he’s finished in the top three here in each of the last two seasons. He was tied 10th last week and will look to move forward from that.

Key hole:
18th. Traditionally one of the most straightforward holes on the course, this par 5 has been altered slightly for 2012. It’s still reachable in two for most of the players but the green has been moved, lifted and reduced in size. Tricky run-off areas have been created around the playing surface, placing a premium on the short-game here. Expect some excitement if a player needs to get up and down for the title.

Where next?
European Tour –
Omega European Masters preview