The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs get under way this week with The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Adam Scott defends the title and Henrik Stenson is defending FedEx Cup champion.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs get under way this week with The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Adam Scott defends the title and Henrik Stenson is defending FedEx Cup champion.

The top 125 players from the FedEx Cup standings through the regular PGA Tour season are eligible to take part in The Barclays and they’ll all be looking to make it into the top 100 in order to progress to the second playoff event next week – the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Rory McIlroy currently leads the FedEx Cup standings, he’s less than 100 points ahead of Jimmy Walker with Bubba Watson in third. The 125th qualifier, Robert Allenby, is over 2,000 points behind the Northern Irishman.

But anything can happen when the playoffs get underway. With five times the amount of points on offer compared to a normal PGA Tour event, even those who qualify towards the bottom of the pile have a chance to lift themselves to the peak within the space of the four playoff events.

The top 100 on the standings after The Barclays will contest the Deutsche Bank Championship, then the top 70 go through to the BMW Championship with the top 30 playing in the Tour Championship for a chance to win the FedEx Cup and the $10 million first prize.

This tournament began life in 1967 as the Westchester Classic and, until 2008, was played at Westchester Country Club. During that time the event was won by many greats of the game including: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ray Floyd, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia.

Since 2008, The Barclays has visited Ridgewood Country Club twice – in 2008 when Vijay Singh was the winner and again in 2010 when Matt Kuchar came out on top.

Designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened for play in 1929, Ridgewood has been the venue for many prestigious events over the years. In 1935 the New Jersey club welcomed the Ryder Cup, in 1990 the US Senior Open was contested at Ridgewood and, in 2001, it was the site of the Senior PGA Championship.

This tournament will be played over a composite course, made up of the most testing holes of the three nines at Ridgewood – East, Center and West.

There may be some rain during the first round this week but it should clear, leaving good playing conditions for the rest of the week.

Venue: Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, New Jersey
Date: Aug 21-24
Course stats: par 71, 7,319 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Adam Scott (-11)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 21 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 22 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm

Player Watch:
Sergio Garcia – The Spaniard has finished runner-up three times in his last five starts and is clearly on sparkling form. He lost out in a playoff at Ridgewood back in 2008.

Nick Watney – He had a chance to win last week but played poorly over the closing holes. His swing looks spot on and he’s a former winner of The Barclays (2012.)

Kevin Streelman – An outside shot, but Streelman loves this course. He was third here back in 2010 and fourth in 2008. He won The Travelers in June with an amazing seven-birdie streak on the back nine.

Key hole: 17th. A par 5 of nearly 600 yards, this is a hole full of possibilities. It’s a dog-leg to the left with thick rough and trees waiting on the right side. On approach the ball must be fired up to the small, sloping green protected by dangerous bunkering.

Skills required: Patience. This is not a course that the players can be overly aggressive on. The key will be to keep the ball in play and plot a sensible route around the layout.