All this suggests that we’re going to see a high-class leaderboard, and that we should focus our attention on players with plenty of form on tough, championship courses. Not necessarily Tiger Woods though. He is of course a worthy short-priced favourite, but first impressions of Liberty don’t particularly suggest this is the type of course where he’ll dominate. Without taking anything away from his five 2009 victories, they all came on courses where Tiger has repeatedly dominated. In contrast, he failed to win any of the four Majors, plus Sawgrass and Quail Hollow; for my money the six hottest events of the year and all played on tough courses that demand accuracy.
 
Obviously, he remains the man to beat, but at 2/1 can be readily opposed. As usual, Tiger’s presence in the field means that much greater value is available about everyone else, particularly when it comes to each-way betting. Such are the big prices on offer, I’ve been able to select six candidates for a total of just 16 points, safe in the knowledge that just one place return will cover most of the outlay.
 
Given his twice Open champion status and a recent return to form, PADRAIG HARRINGTON rightly assumes second favouritism at 22/1. He’s won the Barclays before when it was held at Westchester, and having taken so long to get his season moving, Harrington should be hungry to resume winning ways. We shouldn’t be too critical of Pod’s failures in the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA when holding great chances, as the two disaster holes that did all the damage were freak occurences. Otherwise, he’d looked Tiger’s equal in both events, and this course favours him much more than Firestone or Hazeltine.
 
HUNTER MAHAN
was almost an automatic selection given the nature of this course. Mahan has repeatedly proved that he has the tools to conquer these tough courses that place such an emphasis on hitting greens in regulation, and is desperately overdue a second title. He has been relentlessly consistent all summer, finishing no worse than 16th on his last six US starts, including four top 6s. Such a record makes a mockery of his 33/1 odds, particularly the 8.25/1 about reaching the top 5.