The Barclays Picks

The Barclays
Dates: August 23-26, 2012
Course: Bethpage State Park (Black Course) Farmingdale, NY
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Handicapper,

The PGA season has seen all four Majors come and go but the action is just heating up as the FedExCup Playoffs begin this week at The Barclays.Bethpage Black with serve as host for the first playoff event and will provide a tough test although maybe not as tough as it did during the U.S. Opens in 2002 and 2009.The top-125 on the FedEx points list are exempt for this week and while all are looking to win, those outside the top-100 are in need of strong finishes to get into the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship next week.Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy highlight the field and both are listed as 7 to 1 favorites to win at most golf sportsbooks.The field as a whole is very strong with nearly all of the top-100 in the World Rankings present, including defending champion Dustin Johnson.

We have seen Bethpage Black play at its very hardest during two U.S. Opens but the PGA of America doesnt favor the same brutal conditions that the U.S.G.A. seems to enjoy so we could see a more friendly scoring pace this week.The Black will not play easy by any means however as the 7,468 yard, par-71 course still features ribbon fairways, long rough and plenty of tree trouble.The greens are small by Tour standards and players will not like where they wind up if they miss the surface as bunkers and long rough dominate the most popular bailout areas.Tiger was the only player under par in 2002 and just a handful managed red numbers in 2009 so do not expect anything north of 10-under to win.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight a few players that we think can win it all.We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any offshore bookmaker.Here are our picks to win the 2012 Barclays.

Short Favorite: Bubba Watson (22 to 1 odds to win)
After a couple of missed cuts after his Masters win can be forgiven and Bubba is back in the last month or so with four straight top-23 finishes, including a T2 at the Travelers. Watson is the longest player on Tour and length is a factor at the Black. Bubba will miss fairways and the roughs are penalizing this week but he’s usually so close after bombing it 350 that it won’t matter that much. Watson has managed the 6th best birdie average and the 9th best scoring average despite a putting average outside the top-150. If his putter is just average in relation to the field this week, his length will gain him strokes over the field and his ballstriking has just been too good all year to not get some serious consideration to make a run at the FedExCup events.

Middle of the Road: Louis Oosthuizen (35 to 1 odds to win)
Louis is making his mark as a guy you cannot ignore when the big events roll around. Oosty rarely plays in the U.S. when the strongest fields aren’t in attendance so he knows what it takes to beat the best at the very toughest of venues. Louis has been in the top-21 in three Majors this year and nearly won the Masters that went to Bubba and was fourth at the WGC-Bridgestone. Oosthuizen is currently 34th in points so he needs some good weeks to get in the top-30 and make the Tour Championship. He enters the week 29th in driving distance and is also in the top-30 in total driving, ballstriking and parbreakers and that is a good mix to put up good numbers at the Black.

Longshot: Bill Haas (50 to 1 odds to win)
Haas is the defending FedExCup champion and his chances to repeat will hinge on the ability to win this week. He is a longshot to do both but he did win earlier this year at the Norhtern Trust and had a nice T7 last week. Bill is solid off the tee, ranking 25th in total driving and has a much better scoring average than his birdie average would normally produce. That no-mistakes approach is great at Bethpage and Haas is in the top-30 so missing those small greens shouldn’t hurt too much. There is one less par-5 this week and that will benefit the #1 ranked par-4 player on Tour.

Head to Head Matches *Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online bookie for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.

Sergio Garcia v. Dustin Johnson (our pick to win: Garcia)
Johnson is the defending Barclays champ but that win came at Plainfield Country Club and Sergio is fresh off a Wyndham win. Garcia is motivated to earn a Ryder Cup spot and has finally figured out the putting woes that have kept him down the past few years. Neither player is particularily accurate off the tee so they may struggle a bit overall but it looks like Garcia has the better game going right now. Sergio is a little more consistent right now and Johnson is misfiring enough to give the nod to last week’s winner.

Rory McIlroy v. Tiger Woods (our pick to win: Woods)
Rory dusted the field at the PGA Championship but he has been a bit inconsistent overall in 2012 and Woods has the better resume with wins this year. It’s not a Major so no chance to get the yips if that is Tiger’s issue and Woods owns solid advantages in fairways hit, ballstriking and has a better scoring average despite fewer birdies on average. McIlroy is actually running as the favorite at most sportsbooks that have this pairing so look past the names and see that you are getting better value on the better stat sheet. Rory is talented as they come but you will not find the books often giving better odds to the better statistical player and nearly never to Tiger.

Good Luck!