Dates: August 26th 29th, 2010
Course: Ridgewood Country Club Paramus, NJ
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
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Summer has one foot out the door already as many kids are gearing up for back to school and the PGA kicks off week 1 of the FedExCup Playoffs with the Barclays. The top-125 players on the FedExCup Points List are exempt to this weeks event that will start the four week playoff to eventually name the top player in 2010 and award a $10 million dollar annuity as the top prize. Players that are outside the top-100 in points have a lot to play for this week as only the top-100 will be invited to next weeks Deutsche Bank event in Massachusetts. The BMW and Tour Championships follow with progressively less players exempt each week and only the top-30 get a chance to compete in the final event. All that will become clearer in the coming weeks, so lets take a closer look at what is in store for the Barclays.
Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ will host its second Barclays, the first coming in 2008 with Liberty National serving as host in 2009. Vijay Singh won the 2008 event in a three way playoff and Heath Slocum is the defending champion from 2009. The course is made up of selected holes from a 27-hole layout to make a unique tournament course that will measure nearly 7,320 yards and play at par-71. The courses that make up the Playoff rotation are not easy but the PGA knows that its fans like to see birdies and there have been good scores shot at Ridgefield, including the course record 62 that Hunter Mahan shot in 2008. The course doesnt favor one type of player or another, but requires a well balanced game to score well and the winner this week will have to have a hot putter, as usual.
Each week, we take a look at the online sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we think can contend for the win. Well give you a short, middle and long odds pick and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our picks for the 2010 Barclays.
Short Favorite: Rory McIlroy (14 to 1 odds to win)
If you didnt know the young McIlroy before 2010, you sure do know. Rory proved he could win at the Wells Fargo and also proved he could storm the field to do so in firing a 66 on Saturday followed by a 62 to close it out. He has come in T3 in his the last two Majors and has reason to be disappointed with those finishes so there is no reason to think he is not one of the favorites coming into the week. McIlroy is 11th on Tour in driving distance and although his greens hit and putting are below average, you can write that off on playing in the most demanding events on the Tour schedule. Despite the less than stellar stat sheet, Rory is still in the top-20 in scoring average and will be a factor on Sunday with a top-10 rank in final round scoring average.
Middle of the Road: Dustin Johnson (28 to 1 odds to win)
Weve all had a while to forget the mishap on eighteen at the PGA Championship and likely so has Johnson. Dustin has three top-10 finishes in his last seven starts and has only missed three cuts on the entire season. Hes obviously among the longest players on Tour off the tee, but mixes in a solid GIR% and putting average to net the 14th best birdie average and 25th best scoring mark. There isnt a course out there that D.J. cant overwhelm, so look for a lot of birdie chances and you have to mention that he leads the Tour in eagles as well.
Longshot: Camilo Villegas (50 to 1 odds to win)
Villegas has been a bit of a forgotten man this year, but hes quietly notched six top-10 finishes, including a T8 at the PGA where you hardly saw a shot of his televised all week. Camilo is at 290 off the tee on average, so he can threaten the birdie holes with his distance but has a well rounded game that includes a soft touch around the greens. Maybe Villegas can tap into the same magic that saw him win two Playoff events in 2008 and finish third in another.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. Check with your favorite offshore sportsbooks for single round matches and prop bets.
Phil Mickelson (-115) v. Tiger Woods (-115) (Woods)
Wow. If youve been betting golf over the years, you know how odd it is too see these guys matched together and how odd it is too see them not at -150 or more when in a head to head. Times have changed for the Worlds #1 and #2 and they are indeed an interesting pairing this week. Both are dealing with issues that have their games in a bit of flux but everyone is expecting them both to snap out of it at any time. Even given the massive distractions that Tiger is facing, you would like him here over Mickelson in that we dont know how close Phil is to finding it. We dont know that with Woods either, but weve seen the good and the bad and the good, if it shows this week, seems enough to handle a flailing Lefty.
Zach Johnson (-115) v. Bubba Watson (-115) (Watson)
The easy task is naming the longer of the two players listed here, but the harder guess is which hits more greens and strikes the ball better. Bubba has the edge against Johnson in all the tee to green stats except fairways and is only a marginally worse putter. You can say that Zach is more consistent and steady, but its hard to bet against Bubba and the best birdie average on Tour.
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