PGA Tour - The Barclays - 22-25 August 2013
Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, New Jersey
The Barclays is the first event of the end-of-season Fedex Cup playoffs. From this event onwards the fields are reduced for each event (125 this week, 100, 70 then the top 30 in aggregate points for the season-ending Tour Championship).
The Barclays is being played at Liberty National for the 2nd time, the prior occasion being 2009 when Heath Slocum was a shock winner holding off: Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington & Steve Stricker down the stretch.
Liberty National is spectacularly located, across New York Bay from Manhattan and with the 18th green less than a thousand yards from the Statue of Liberty.
It's a challenging mixed parkland / links at 7400yd par 71 with curving, narrow fairways and generally small A4 bentgrass (same as Augusta National) greens. The wind becomes a factor if it's coming in from the Atlantic.
Tiger Woods at 6.00 is a ready-made favourite, having finished 2nd here in 2009 and with no other player having dominated this year. He comes in off the back of a mediocre 40th in the PGA but that was not unexpected at Oak Hill given his history there.
All season, Tiger has been dominant on courses he likes and he likes this one - whereas most players don't; in fact, it was voted least liked by players among all courses used in 2009!
Next in the betting are the consistent Adam Scott at 17.00 and then arguably the comeback player of the year, Henrik Stenson, and the most disappointing player of the year, Rory McIlroy, at around 19.00.
Then come Phil Mickelson at 21.00, Dustin Johnson & Jason Dufner 26.00 and Matt Kuchar & Jason Day at 29.00.
Almost all the top players are here with the only notables skipping this one being Steve Stricker & Zach Johnson.
My win selection is Dustin Johnson at 26.00-29.00. In 2009 he shot the low tournament round here, 64, and I really like him for this. He regularly features in at least one of these playoff tournaments and this course will suit his length off the tee.
Additionally, he just announced his engagement to The Great One's daughter and his recent form has been excellent (2nd, 33rd then 8th last start in the PGA Championship).
My each way selection is Ernie Els at 67.00 which looks too big a price for one of his quality.
Ernie has done nothing notable since winning the BMW International late in June but was 2nd here in 2009 and in recent years it has been common for him to perform moderately between his brief stretches of top form.
Cheers and good luck with your golf punting!
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