Onto the Playoffs, a time when finally…FINALLY…all of the FedEx Cup talk is relevant.
And for the 125 players left remaining in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the test of Bethpage Black is a stern one. Equipped with long, punishing par-4s and challenging green complexes amidst severe elevation change, Bethpage Black has earned the warning sign on the first tee box.
Bethpage Black is not for the faint of heart. pic.twitter.com/FfPPKxcxv6
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 22, 2016
Pretty much all of the players from the field should fit into this description.
A course with two majors hosted since 2000 (the 2002 U.S. Open and the 2009 U.S. Open), this venue should give the players a test that’s meatier than it’s own rough.
Let’s give it a dive:
Only four players from the top-125 are not in the field. Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett, and Shane Lowry are all comfortably inside the top-100. Anirban Lahiri? Well…
— Joy Chakravarty (@TheJoyofGolf) August 23, 2016
Last 5 Winners
2015: Jason Day (Read recap here)
2014: Hunter Mahan (Read recap here)
2013: Adam Scott (Read recap here)
2012: Nick Watney
2011: Dustin Johnson
2010: Matt Kuchar
This Week’s Picks
Two from the Fairway (Contenders)
Slowly climbing his way into the position of most underrated golfer of an era, Henrik Stenson is one of the top dogs to compete on a course this week that should fit his eye and game superbly. His 3-wood will be heavily employed and relied upon and his deadly iron game should set up plenty of opportunities on a course which typically doesn’t provide many.
I’m going to ride Henrik Stenson’s golf game until he no longer does it for me anymore.
He was a top-10 finisher here at the 2009 U.S. Open, too.
The shagadelic feller, Snedeker, is a player that not many will be keen on. But you’ll be more keen than them. Coming off a nice performance last week at the Wyndham where his putting was absolutely incredible (1.802 strokes gained), Snedeker will be a guy to put together a tidy little week for those of you willing to trust him.
With a 2nd place finish here last time the Barclays was played at Bethpage in 2012 and great form coming in, Sneds is a guy ready to make the #SnedExCup a possibility, again.
One from the Rough (Sleeper)
He’s two weeks out from a top-5 finish on the PGA Tour and returns to the place where he’s had nice success before. His almost winning the U.S. Open here in 2009 was the closest he ever came to winning a major championship and he followed up with a nice finish here in 2012.
Decent form coming in has me thinking Barnes may channel something this week. Sleeper status for the 66th ranked player in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
One with the Trophy (Winners)
His golf in the Olympics was disappointing outside of a beautiful round of 64. But 64 isn’t something a golfer in completely shoddy form shoots. Now Rickie’s game hasn’t been the best in a winless 2016 (or at least up to Rickie standards), but his game isn’t lacking all too considerably either. Four straight rounds under 68 at the Wyndham last week, good ball-striking statistics, and a positive strokes gained putting number give me optimism for the world’s 8th-ranked player.
Now he’s traveled a lot in the past few months, enough to in the short term give me concern. But I think his amount of play and desperation to give himself validation for a Ryder Cup spot, Rickie gets his game in fantastic shape this week in New York.
He top-25’d here in 2012 at the Barclays and still hasn’t missed the cut since the U.S. Open back in June.
Time for a headliner in New York, where the fans will absolutely be pulling for him all week.
He’s your winner.