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The Barclays Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 08/25/2010
The PGA regular season is in the books and now we concentrate on the FedEx Cup playoffs. The first stop is The Barclays which is being hosted by Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. This event was hosted here in 2008 before going to Liberty National last season and won by Heath Slocum. 121 of the top 125 players in the FedEx standings are in the field. It was 122 players until Jim Furyk was disqualified today because he missed his 7:30 AM pro-am tee time.
Ridgewood Country Club is a 27-hole layout and the event takes the 18 best holes for the tournament which is the same way it was done back in 2008. The track is 7,319 yards and will play to a par 71 this week. The length does not necessarily make this a long hitter’s course however as precision plays a bigger role. Hitting greens in not only a must but the accuracy into the greens is just as important. The greens at Ridgewood are full of undulations and misreading putts is common.
Seven of the top 10 players in the world are in the field with only Furyk, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer absent. This makes for a star-studded event and what we want to look for in picking a winner is finding a player that fits into the course layout and one that is playing well at the moment. The top 100 ranked players from this tournament will advance to the second round next week at The Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.
Tiger Woods (+1000) is one of three favorites this week. This is a tournament that Woods does not enter but this year is different. He is ranked 112th in the FedEx Cup standings so he needs to make a move. He is also looking to better his game for inclusion into the Ryder Cup as a captain’s pick. Even though he has not had a good season, he is always dangerous and cannot be overlooked.
Phil Mickelson (+1000) is currently fourth in the FedEx standings and once again has a chance to unseat Woods as the world’s number one player. He has missed only one cut all season, the Colonial, and he brings in five top tens in his 15 made cuts. This includes four top five finishes. He finished 19th two years ago at the Barclays when it was at Ridgewood.
Rounding out the favorites is Rory McIlroy (+1000). This is his first ever start here and first ever trip to the playoffs which may deter some people however he is playing his best golf of the season as his last three finishes at the Open Championship, Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship were T3, T9 and T3 respectively. However missing cuts at the Masters, THE PLAYERS and the U.S. Open is a concern.
Hunter Mahan (+2500) is getting solid value. He won at Firestone which has a lot of similarities to Ridgewood so he sets up well here. He finished T31 here in 2008 but that doesn’t tell the whole story as he set the course record with an opening round 62 before falling back on the weekend. With these odds, he is no longer under the radar as was the case at Bridgestone (+5000) but there is still value.
Matt Kuchar (+2500) is arguably the hottest player on tour and is definitely the best this year without a win. He is coming off a T10 at the PGA Championship, his ninth top ten of the season. This includes five top tens in his last seven starts so it is hard to find anyone playing better right now. His solid play is no accident as he is first on the PGA Tour in all-around ranking and scrambling.
One player that came up all the time but is not getting the talk is Paul Casey (+2500). He could use a strong showing to make the European Ryder Cup team and this is the course where he can regain some of his form. He finished T7 here in 2008 and his T22 at the Bridgestone shows he contend here again. He is ranked third in total putting so with his ability to hit greens, he should be able to score.
Bubba Watson (+4000) is showing he is a player to be reckoned with. We won his first every event at the Travelers and just missed out on his second at the PGA Championship where he lost in the playoff to Martin Kaymer. He has three top threes this season and he is third in all-around ranking and first in birdie average. As mentioned this is not a bombers paradise but he finished T12 here in 2008 so he knows how to play it.
This week the longshot pick is Michael Sim (+8000). He is ranked 67th in the FedEx Cup standings which is up from 102nd following his final round 62 at the Wyndham Championship last week. He has been up and down most of the year but with two top three finishes in his last three starts, he could be surging at the right time. This could be the place for his first win.
Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at The Barclays – All for 1 Unit
Phil Mickelson (+1000)
Hunter Mahan (+2500)
Matt Kuchar (+2500)
Paul Casey (+2500)
Bubba Watson (+4000)
Michael Sim (+8000)