The PGA Tour is dead. Long live the PGA Tour. As the Wyndham Championship brought the curtain down on the regular season the Barclays this week gets the FedEx Cup Playoffs underway as the top 125 players in the rankings look to end their season with a bang and a big boost to their bank balances.
There is a $10 million prize waiting for the man who can finish top of the FedEx Cup rankings after these four Playoff events each of which carry quadruple points compared to the PGA Tour season. Those points will scarcely be tougher to win than at Bethpage’s Black Course this week. The 7,468 yard layout plays as a par 71 and tests every facet of a golfer’s game.
It is long, the greens are tough to hit, the rough can be penal and even with a lot of watering, the hot weather in the New York area means the greens will be fast and fiery. It’s a good thing the players in the field have had good seasons up to this point!
Day a Fair Favourite
Jason Day is in a strange position this week. The Aussie is the defending champion of the Barclays but his comfortable win last season came at a very different course. Still, the bookies think that the world number one is the man to beat at Bethpage and it is hard to disagree. There is not a weak part of Day’s game as is testament to the fact that he ranked first in terms of total shots gained on the PGA Tour this season. Day will be fairly disappointed not to have picked up a win at any of the majors this season but he can put that behind him by having a good few weeks from now until the Tour Championship. That could well start with victory at the Barclays at a best price of 8/1 with Ladbrokes.
Stenson to Challenge Once More
In order to win, Day is going to have to beat the best players in the world. The likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will all feel they’ve got a big performance in the tank but there is arguably nobody playing better than Henrik Stenson at the moment. The Open champion was involved in yet another incredible battle down the stretch at the Olympics and it was only a poor final hole which cost him gold. He’s big enough and experienced enough to be able to dust himself down from that disappointment and his game – based as it is around hitting a high percentage of greens in regulation – is a great fit for the Black Course. Stenson should be there or thereabouts at odds of 12/1 with Bet365.
Donald Worth an Outside Punt?
Luke Donald has been threatening to get back to form over the past few months so his second place finish at the Wyndham Championship was no big surprise. There are plenty of people tipping the former world number one for a shock return to Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team. That will be more than enough ammunition to fire Donald up at the Barclays. He’ll have to keep his drives out of trouble but when he does, he is lethal from the fairways so looks worth an each way bet at 100/1 with Coral.