Thursday, Aug. 27 Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009
Liberty National Jersey City, NJ
The Golf Channel/CBS
by Matt of Predictem.com
The first round of the FedExCup Playoffs kicks off this week with the Barclays from New Jersey. The 124-man field has been set after a year of regular season play and each week the field will be cut until only 30 players are left for the TOUR Championship. The players will not only be looking for the win this week, but the main goal is to be inside the top-100 in points to qualify for the Deutsche Bank next week. The Barclays has been kind to the big names on Tour over the last few years with Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington each winning since 2004.
Liberty National will host the Barclays this week, marking the first PGA event for the course. The track will measure 7,400 yards and play at par-70 with three par-5s. With no prior experience, its anyones guess who the course will favor or what type of player is most suited to fare well. The length seems to favor the bombers on Tour, but that can always be limited if the roughs and fescues are allowed grow out. 2009 is the third year of the playoffs and most of the pros know what it will take to make it to the end, so look for solid efforts and smart golf by the veterans with the risks taken by the fringe guys trying to sneak in to the TOUR Championship.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players we like to take the trophy. Well pick a short, middle and long odds golfer to win and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our picks for the 2009 Barclays.
Short: Hunter Mahan (25 to 1 to win)
Without a real good idea on what Liberty National will bring, you need a guy with a strong overall stat sheet, and Hunter has exactly that. Mahan has missed only one cut in 20 starts, mostly due to a 6th rank in ballstriking comprised of the 12th and 13th best driving and greens hit numbers. Hunter is about average with the putter, but makes enough to make the 2nd most birdies per round and comes in at 4th in scoring average. Mahan is hot of late, with four top-10 finishes in his last six starts.
Middle: Sergio Garcia (30 to 1)
Garcia hasnt made much noise on Tour this year with only five top-25s in 14 U.S. starts, so he knows he needs to get it going early in the Playoffs. Sergio is coming off a 4th at the Wyndam last week and his 21st rank in driving distance should give him the opportunity to overpower Liberty National. Garcias birdie average is only 125th but his scoring mark is ranked 25th so he isnt making mistakes, just a ton of pars. The putter is always the issue for the Spaniard, but a few birdies early could get the ball rolling for one of the top-20 approach proximity players on Tour.
Longshot: Kenny Perry (40 to 1)
The boards are being a bit harsh to Perry here at 40 to 1 considering he is only a year removed from four wins and one of the favorites to win the 2008 Playoffs. Kenny does have two wins this year and has not missed a cut in 20 chances, making him the current leader in consecutive cuts made. His stat sheet includes top-10 ranks in total driving, scoring average, ballstriking and the all around. Perry is also 12th in greens hit and all that is great to have when going into unfamiliar territory.
Head to Head Matches (our pick)
Stewart Cink (-115) v. Zach Johnson (-115) (Johnson)
The British Open Champion is always a nice player to have in your corner, but it just doesnt add up for Cink this week. Johnson outranks Cink by 100 spots in fairways, greens, putting average and ballstriking. A bad stat sheet from a veteran can be overlooked against a young buck, but Zach is a Major Champ himself, just check his closet for that green jacket.
Jim Furyk (-115) v. Geoff Ogilvy (-115) (Furyk)
If youve followed golf recently, you know that Furyk is on one heck of a winless streak, but that might actually help him this week. He hasnt won, but it hasnt stopped him from averaging a top-25 finish every time out. A new course should reward his no mistakes approach and his stat sheet is better than Ogilvys to boot.