Barclays gets FedEx Finals underway
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 Barclays Classic | Preview | 20 Aug 2013
123 of the leading 125 from the 2013 FedEx Cup points race will play this week’s first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Barclays at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City in New Jersey.
Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson will not play, Stricker playing on a restricted schedule because on injury issues and Zach Johnson, attending a family wedding, the only absentees from the official 125 FeEx Cup points earners.
The event is the first of four FedEx Cup Final series events, each worth US$8 million dollars and each containing a lesser number of participants than the previous after the initial 123 in this week’s Barclays.
The Liberty National Golf Club, on the banks of the Hudson River and within view of the Statue of Liberty, has played host to this event on one previous occasion that being in 2009 when Heath Slocum defeated Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.
At the completion of this week’s event the field for the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston next week will be reduced to 100, reduced again to 70 for the BMW Championship in Illinois two weeks later and to 30 for the Tour Championship in Atlanta on September 19th.
The leading top ten in world ranking are included in the field the favourite no doubt Tiger Woods who is not only the clear leader in the FedEx Cup points table but he did finish runner-up at this venue in 2009.
Following his brilliant run of success through June and July, Phil Mickelson has been below his best in recent starts but although seldom playing this event well he could bounce back this week. He finished 52nd at Liberty in 2009.
Rory McIlory finally showed a little bit of form at the PGA Championship after what has been a disappointing year by his standards. He is still the world number three however and on that alone he deserves respect but he must improve further if he is to contend.
Adam Scott was just average here in 2009 finishing well back in the field then. He is a significantly better player now and in the outstanding form he has been in 2013, he stands a chance of continuing a great season.
Dustin Johnson has a very good record in this event including when winning in 2011. In his only appearance at Liberty National he finished 15th and has played well of late including when 8th at his last start at the PGA Championship and runner-up in Canada.
Webb Simpson might be one for longer odds this week as he played well at Liberty National in 2009 and has been putting together several good tournaments of late.
Jason Dufner has missed the cut the last three times he has played this event including when missing by some way at this golf course in 2009. Dufner though has developed into one of the game’s elite following his win at the PGA Championship. 4th at the US Open, 4th at the Bridgestone and the win at the PGA indicates where he is at with his game at present.
Ten Australians have earned their way into the field, an achievement in itself. Those players are Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Steven Bowditch and Greg Chalmers.
Another incentive for one or two Australians in the field in addition to the US$8 million dollar purse is securing a place on the Presidents Cup Team. The leading ten qualifiers as per world ranking on September 2nd will secure a place on both the International and US sides for the event to be played in Ohio in early October.
Adam Scott and Jason Day are locks but for Marc Leishman (12th) and Geoff Ogilvy (18th) they will need a couple of very good weeks to either move inside the top ten or alternatively impress captain Nick Price sufficiently to include them.