The 2015 FedEx Cup playoffs get underway this week with The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. Hunter Mahan defends the title while Billy Horschel defends the FedEx Cup itself.

Lowdown:
The 2015 FedEx Cup playoffs get underway this week with The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. Hunter Mahan defends the title while Billy Horschel defends the FedEx Cup itself.

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.

In the playoffs there are four times the number of FedEx Cup points available than in regular PGA Tour events, so there’s a chance for players to make a large surge up the standings.

Jordan Spieth leads the way going in, but the new World Number 1 will face strong competition from the chasing pack. USPGA champion Jason Day is in second place with Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and Justin Rose rounding out the top five.

Justin Rose swing sequence:

The course at Plainfield Country Club plays host to this tournament for a second time. When the event last visited in 2011, the tournament was cut to 54 holes because of the approach of Hurricane Irene. Dustin Johnson won the shortened competition.

Originally designed by Donald Ross and dating from 1916 the layout was revamped in 1999 to bring it into line with the modern game. But if 2011 is anything to go by we could see some low scoring here – DJ was 19-under-par for 54 holes in that event. However, the course has been lengthened and altered slightly for this year, the par has been reduced from 71 to 70 and the greens are unlikely to be so receptive as in 2011.

In last year’s Barclays, Hunter Mahan birdied five of his last eight holes to fire a final round of 65 and win at Ridgewod Country Club by two strokes from Stuart Appleby, Jason Day and Cameron Tringale.

The weather forecast is relatively settled for this week: dry, mild and with only moderate winds. No hurricanes this time out with a little luck.

Venue: Plainfield Country Club, Edison, New Jersey
Date: Aug 27-30
Course stats: par 70, 7,012 yards
Purse: €8,250,000 Winner: $1,485,000
Defending Champion: Hunter Mahan

TV Coverage:
Thursday 27 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 28 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 29 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Sunday 30 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player watch:
The battle between Jordan Spieth and Jason Day will surely continue this week and it’s hard to see either of them not being in the shake up come Sunday. Who else might contend?

Brooks Koepka – He’s been on great form of late with eight straight top-25 finishes coming into this event. He’s up to 16th on the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s also one of the very longest hitters out there and could overpower this track if he can keep it on the short stuff.

Justin Rose – Another man on consistently good form right now, Rose’s worst finish in his last four starts was a tie for sixth at The Open. He was tied sixth when this tournament was last contested at Plainfield in 2011.

Dustin Johnson – Won here in 2011 when the tournament was shortened to 54 holes. He’s been on good form recently, but has been unable to close out a victory. There’s no Major pressure on this week and he could just benefit from that.

Key hole: 16th. A par-5 of 601 yards, this hole has been altered over the years. Only the very longest will be able to reach in two and even a lay-up for the second shot is testing, owing to clever cross-bunkering. The green is two-tiers and sloping from front to back. This one is no pushover.