Fed Ex Cup Playoffs begin at Barclays
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Barclays Classic | Preview | 19 Aug 2014
The much vaunted FedEx Cup Playoffs begin this week with the leading 125 players on the FedEx Cup points table happy in the knowledge that they not only have a start in the first of the money grabs but are assured of their immediate playing future on the PGA Tour.
The field will be reduced to 100 for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship followed by another reduction to 70 for the BMW Championship then to 30 for the Tour Championship. Each event carries a total of US$8 million with a first prize of US$1,440,000 to the winner.
It is however not only the weekly prize-money but the stunning bonuses for each player who has made it thus far. Those teeing it up this week are already assured of a US$70,000 bonus and the amounts range upwards to the massive US$10,000,000 to the eventual winner of the overall points race.
The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus in New Jersey has played host to this opening event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs on two previous occasions, the winners on those occasions Vijay Singh in 2008 and Matt Kuchar in 2010.
Adam Scott will defend the title he won at the Liberty National Golf Club last year, becoming the fourth Australian to win the event after Bruce Crampton, David Graham and Wayne Grady.
Sergio Garcia seems to have an affinity with this region having won this event at Westchester and often finishing inside the top ten at other venues in the area.
Garcia has been three times runner-up in his last five starts and although some might suggest that is a concern rather than an advantage, there is little doubting his readiness for contention once again on a golf course where he finished runner-up in 2008.
Rory McIlroy can do little wrong and as the world number one and the hottest golfer on the planet right now. He has only played this event on three previous occasions however having only just become a PGA Tour member in more recent times and when he has played it has been average at best. There is little doubting his game right now however and he must be the man to beat for many reasons.
Adam Scott finished 9th when the event was last played at Ridgewood and with arguably the most consistent record in the game at present he is expected to at least be in the mix at some stages over the weekend.
Henrik Stenson is another who just keeps reeling off good finish after good finish and although he has not played this venue he is playing too well to be ignored on that basis.
Steve Stricker finished a very impressive 7th at the PGA Championship on a golf course that perhaps suited the bomber more then it suited him but he has played this venue well making a great start in 2008 including a second round of 64 before finishing 19th then finished 3rd behind Kuchar in 2010.
Jim Furyk played well enough here in 2008 but did not play in 2010. He is though playing some of the best golf of his life with eight top tens in 2014 and three of those runner-up finishes. He comes off the back of a 5th place at the PGA and it is hard to imagine him not being in the mix on Sunday.
Of the Australians aside from Scott, Jason Day finished 5th in this event at this venue in 2010. He played well enough at the PGA but is still a day to day proposition (excuse the pun) given his injury issues. If fit and ready to go is capable of at least contending.
Other Australians in the field are John Senden, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Steve Bowditch, Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby.