The Barclays | Thursday 27 August – Sunday 30 August | Plainfield Country Club
This week the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs tees off at Plainfield Country Club and for the first time in a while Tiger Woods will be absent from proceedings. Although Tiger will be missed, it’s certainly a case of out with the old and in with the new as a host of talented youngsters have stepped up and are making moves to fill his shoes. First on that list is Jordan Spieth, who showed in all four Majors that he’s got what it takes to be a massive force in golf for the next few years. Unsurprisingly, he finds himself as the favourite here this week but there are a number of golfers hot on his tail and you can be certain they’ll all be looking to knock Spieth off his pedestal.
So what can we expect at Plainfield this week? The last time the course hosted the Barclays was in 2011 and in that event play was reduced to 54 holes as Hurricane Irene crashed through New Jersey. Never one to miss an opportunity, Dustin Johnson stepped up to the plate and won and the question now is whether he can win again. Since 2011 the course has been reduced to a par 70 which seems fitting considering it only measures 7,030 yards. Although it plays relatively short there are numerous hazards to avoid and tight, tree lined fairways so keep an eye on those who are accurate in every aspect of their game. With this kind of lineup there are no shortage of players who tick that box though so this will be hotly contested. Let’s have a look at who stands out this week.
To Win Outright
Jordan Spieth 11/2
Jason Day 15/2
Dustin Johnson 10/1
Justin Rose 10/1
Bubba Watson 20/1
Brooks Koepka (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
This week Brooks Koepka will play Plainfield for the first time in his career and although lack of course experience may be a concern when it comes to some golfers, there are no such worries when Koepka tees off. He’s turning into one of the most consistent golfers on the Tour and his results over the past two months show a player who is due a win. He hasn’t been outside the Top 25 in his last eight starts and finished a very respectable T6 last week, a finish that he owed to his outstanding GIR%. I’m backing Koepka each way.
Jim Furyk (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
It’s difficult to look past Jim Furyk in these playoff events and he will arrive here ready to challenge after a respectable Top 30 finish in the final Major of the season. Sure, that wasn’t anything to write home about but the course didn’t really suit his game and I don’t think too many golf fans really gave him a chance. This week is different though as he arrives to play a course that suits him perfectly. The price looks to be big considering his form this season, I’m hoping Furyk can lift his second trophy of the year on Sunday.
Matt Kuchar (35/1 a win, 77/10 a place)
Matt Kuchar will arrive here this week looking to right the wrongs of 2011. In that installment of the Barclays he was narrowly edged out by Dustin Johnson and he’ll certainly be keen to one-up Johnson this week. He hasn’t played as much golf as most of the others in this field and I’m hoping that’s because he’s kept his eye on the prize and has been focussing on making sure he arrives in the Playoffs fresh and ready to challenge. He certainly has the ability to win tournaments like this and with his game in the shape it’s in at the moment I see no reason why he won’t be in the mix over the weekend. I’m backing Kuchar each way.
Bubba Watson (20/1 a win, 44/10 a place)
The last time Bubba teed off here he hit the bush almost as much as he hit the fairway off the tee box and never really got going. That could all change this week though as he now has his driver under control. His game looks to be falling into place at just the right time of the season and he’s been in the mix a few times over the past few weeks. With his ability to hit the ball a mile he’ll give himself plenty of birdie opportunities and if his putter is hot and he can convert those then I see no reason why he can’t win here this week. The price looks about right on Watson, I’m giving him a big chance.