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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My "5 to Watch" at The Barclays

After some debate I've decided to do a "5 to Watch" post for each of the FedExCup Playoff events... especially this week.

Jordan Spieth

Plainfield CC is another Donald Ross course, like Sedgefield CC last week. The course is a par 71, only 6964 yards long and with more of those devilish greens that drove the guys crazy at the Wyndham. Because of that, this week's event has the potential to shake up the playoff race more than any other.

After all, short knockers who scramble and putt well have a REALLY good chance at winning here!

And that really makes it difficult to pick definitive favorites. For example, although he won last time, I'm not picking Dustin Johnson this time because the course was so wet last time. (Remember, that event was shortened due to Hurricane Irene. That much rain can make anybody's ball stay in the fairway.)

Here are my (admittedly) random favorites for this week:
  • It's hard not to include Jordan Spieth anytime he tees it up these days. Jordan's game seems ideally suited to any course except the longest ones, where he still has to be taken seriously. And since Donald Ross green complexes require some special putting ability, you have to pick the man who is arguably the best putter on the planet right now.
  • Likewise, Jason Day has won his last two events on very different courses under very different conditions. With a forecast of good weather this week -- and a hard fast course as a result -- this course wouldn't seem to be up Jason's alley. But he's "in the zone" right now, so I think he's got to be a pick.
  • Beyond those two, I'm looking at players who have played well on Ross courses like Paul Casey. Casey finished T3 last week, just two strokes back after rounds of 66-66-66-67. That would be -19 on this course [OOPS! Par is only 70 this week, not 71 as I thought], which just happens to be the score DJ won with in 2011. And given how well he's played this whole year, he definitely makes the cut in my picks.
  • Jason Gore finished solo second last week, and he managed a 62 on Saturday when Sedgefield was hard and fast. I'm guessing he'll be freed up this week since he locked up his Tour card for next year and he'll carry his good play into this week.
  • And who else would my flier pick be but Davis Love III? Davis has so much experience on Ross greens... and his putting seems to be back on track... and he can probably take 2-iron around this course, just like he did last week... and oh yeah, he won at Sedgefield last week. Age means little on a Donald Ross course!
This really should be an interesting week, given that most of the top players in the world skipped the Wyndham. Those players coming off good weeks in Greensboro should have a decided advantage over the top players, even though the top players should be more rested.

With 2000 points to the winner up for grabs at each of the playoff events, the leader after The Barclays will be either Jordan, Jason or Bubba. (Everybody else is more than 2000 points back of Jordan.) But with the added intrigue of a shorter Donald Ross course at this event, we could see the Top10 of the points list change dramatically by week's end. You gotta love it!

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