Barclays 2014: Complete Guide to the Tournament
With all four of the majors complete, it's time to look toward the FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour's version of the postseason.
The first playoff event is The Barclays, which is taking place at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey this year. The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup points standings qualify to play in the event, but with Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker and Dustin Johnson all sitting out, this year's field will officially be 122.
With Rory McIlroy on a roll, Phil Mickelson discovering his form just in time and Adam Scott coming in as the defending champion, the 2014 Barclays tournament is setting up to be a fantastic one.
So forget all that talk about the golf season being over—in reality, the fun is just beginning. Here's what you need to know to get ready for The Barclays.
All About Ridgewood Country Club
Ridgewood Country Club was originally built in Ridgewood, New Jersey, in 1890, but it moved to Paramus, New Jersey, in 1926 and has been there ever since. It is 7,319 yards long and a par-71 course.
This will be the third year Ridgewood has hosted The Barclays and the first since 2010.
The experience will be similar for the players, but as Andy Vasquez of NorthJersey.com reports, spectators will see a difference:
"The size of the event has grown significantly," said Peter Mele, the tournament director who confirmed that this year's Barclays will be the grandest in scale that the tournament has ever undertaken.
That means more and larger structures across the course to entertain fans. It means increased and more comfortable spectator seating. And The Barclays hopes it means a better overall experience for those who attend.
Matt Kuchar won the last Barclays at Ridgewood CC back in 2010, and Vijay Singh won the 2008 edition.
Where to Watch on Television
Thankfully, you can catch all of the action at PGATour.com from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET all four days of play. But if you prefer to watch golf on television, here's where to tune in:
2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Golf Channel
2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Golf Channel
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Golf Channel
3 p.m. to 6 p.m., CBS
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Golf Channel
2 p.m. to 6 p.m., CBS
Will the Drama Continue?
The PGA Tour got a big boost two weeks ago thanks to a fantastically dramatic finish at the PGA Championship, which featured some of the most famous names in golf. Last year's Barclays was just as exciting; Adam Scott won by holding off Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, among others, by just one stroke.
With Woods out for the year, the PGA Tour is going to need another magical Sunday to keep the excitement alive.
Can Rickie Fowler Get a Big Win?
As you've probably heard, Fowler has been the most consistent guy on big stages this year, finishing tied for fifth at the Masters, tied for second at the U.S. Open and the British Open, and tied for third at the PGA Championship. According to Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com, Fowler beat an unprecedented 98.04 percent of the field at majors this year.
But Fowler only has one win in his career on the PGA Tour, and it's been over two years since he hoisted a trophy. It's time for the 25-year-old to take the next step in his career, and The Barclays would be a perfect time to do so.
Is Rory McIlroy Going to Keep His Streak Going?
McIlroy has won the last three events he's entered, a streak that includes two majors and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It seems unfathomable that he could win a fourth tournament in a row—that just doesn't happen in golf—but McIlroy is playing so well that it's hard to see him losing.
The Top Pairings
Martin Kaymer, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler (Thursday, 8:04 a.m. ET)
This is one gifted trio. Kaymer, of course, won the U.S. Open this year in a rout over the field. Fowler finished in the top five in all of the majors and was in the final pairing with Kaymer on his day of glory at Pinehurst. Scott was No. 1 for most of the summer and is the defending champion of the event. There will be shotmaking, and it will be a blast.
Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson (Thursday, 8:26 a.m. ET)
The top three guys in the FedEx Cup standings in 2014 will be playing together the first two days. McIlroy is trying to win his fourth event in a row, Watson is trying to recover from his tantrum at the PGA Championship, and Walker is trying to remind fans why he's in such prestigious company. One thing is for certain: The drives will be long.
Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia (Thursday, 1:06 p.m. ET)
This group is hungry for some glory. Garcia has been spectacular at times this season but doesn't have a win in the States. The same goes for Furyk, who doesn't have a win since 2010. Kuchar is trying to rebound after missing the PGA Championship with a bad back. This is a must-watch trio.
The Top Contenders
Remember this guy? He hasn't been making many splashy headlines the last couple of months, but the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world is the defending champion of this event, and he deserves some respect.
Scott has been pretty steady all year and occasionally spectacular. He finished in the top 10 in five of his last six events and tied for 15th at the PGA Championship in the odd event out. He should definitely be in the mix this week.
Lefty found his mojo again in his last five rounds of golf, dating back to his 62 in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He was the runner-up at the PGA Championship, and he could very easily get his first win since the 2013 British Open.
If you're surprised to see Furyk's name on this list, you shouldn't be. Furyk has been knocking on the door over and over again this year, and it's time for the 44-year-old to finally break through.
The veteran American finished fourth at the British Open, tied for fifth at the PGA Championship and was the runner-up at the RBC-Canadian Open, all in the past six weeks. He's dangerous.
The Dark Horses
With the best 122 golfers of 2014 in the field, everyone is in the mix. You could make a case for Rose, Garcia, Kaymer and Watson to all be top contenders for the win.
However, there are some slightly more under-the-radar golfers you should pay attention to this week.
Zach Johnson did not have a good year at the majors, but the 2007 Masters champion certainly has the firepower to get a big win. He finished as the runner-up at the John Deere Classic and had a great beginning of the year, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He's struggled with consistency since, but if he can put four rounds together at Ridgewood, he's going to be one of the contenders.
Ernie Els is one to watch too. He found a run of form late in the season at the PGA Championship, finishing tied for seventh, and should be able to carry that over to this week.
Also keep an eye on Jason Day, Victor Dubuisson and Jimmy Walker. All three golfers are capable of walking away with the trophy.
Did you think I had forgotten about this guy? Nope, I was simply saving the best for last.
Right now, McIlroy has earned the right to be the favorite in every tournament he enters. That's prime Tiger territory, but it's more than deserved. Over the past six weeks, he has looked unstoppable.
Plus, moments after winning the PGA Championship for the fourth major of his young career, the 25-year-old announced at a press conference what a big priority winning the FedEx Cup is to him: "I think first and foremost, [my priority is the] FedEx Cup. I came close a couple of years ago. Didn't quite get the job done. But I feel like my game's in good enough shape that I can keep this run of golf going and try and win that."
McIlroy's not going to overlook this week at The Barclays—there's money, points and pride at stake. With his recent run of form, he should be able to walk away with his fourth win in a row.
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