Lowdown: The 2009 FedEx Cup playoffs get underway this week with The Barclays at Liberty National GC in New Jersey. Vijay Singh defends the title in this event and the FedEx Cup itself.
The top 125 players from 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.
The Barclays will be contested at a different venue in 2009. Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, designed by Tom Kite and Bob Cupp was only opened for play in 2006, it’s constructed on former industrial land on the banks of the Hudson River. With views over to Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty it’s a striking setting for a golf tournament. The event’s proximity to New York should ensure a large and vociferous crowd arrives to watch the World’s best beginning their battle for the FedEx Cup and the eventual winner’s prize of $10 million.
Last season the Barclays was contested at Ridgewood Country Club where Vijay Singh secured a memorable victory, beating Sergio Garcia and Kevin Sutherland at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Singh will be amongst the favourites again this year but he’ll have an added obstacle to overcome if he’s to retain his title. A certain Mr Woods is in the field this season after missing last year’s playoffs through injury.
Venue: Liberty National GC, New Jersey
Date: August 27-30
Course stats: par 70, 7,400 yards
Purse: $7,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending Champion: Vijay Singh (-8)
Thursday 27 – Live on British Eurosport from 8pm
Friday 28 – Live on British Eurosport from 8pm
Saturday 29 – Live on British Eurosport from 6.30pm
Sunday 30 – Live on British Eurosport from 4.45pm
Tiger Woods – His last three finishes have been: 1st, 1st, 2nd. He’s won five times already this year and will be desperate to make amends for missing out at the USPGA. He’ll be incredibly tough to beat here.
Padraig Harrington – One bad hole cost him at both the Bridgestone Invitational and the USPGA. The Irishman will be aiming to cast the demons aside with a victory here.
Lucas Glover – His last tournament outing in the New York area was at the US Open and he won there. So, he’ll be feeling good about returning to the Big Apple. And he’s on pretty decent form too having finished in the top five at the USPGA.
Key hole: 16th. At 331 yards this par 4 is driveable for the longer hitters. Those who gamble and go for the green will have to avoid the water all down the right side. Players who choose to lay up will also have to hit an accurate tee shot to find the narrow fairway. It’s a clear birdie chance but expect to see some double bogeys here as well.
Skills required: Concentration. With the incredible New York skyline on the horizon, even the most focused players might find themselves distracted. The layout of the course also creates a number of optical illusions where bunkers and hazards appear closer or further away than they actually are.