Expert Picks for The Barclays
This year, The Barclays will played at Plainfield Country Club, located in Edison, N.J. This site has never hosted a PGA Tour event before so there is no course data to review. Most late season events tend to favor players with momentum than their course history, anyhow. The Barclays also marks the start of the FedExCup playoffs. Only the top-125 players in points are eligible for this event. The top-100 after this week are then invited to the Deutsche Bank Championship. The BMW Championship is open to the top-70. The final event of the season, the TOUR Championship, will pit the final 30 players remaining for the title.
While he has not won a Tour stroke play event this season, Donald has three straight finishes of 17th or better and 10 such results in his last 12 events. He leads all players in scoring average, ranks second in strokes gained - putting, sixth in birdie average and sits 18th in All-Around Ranking. The Vegas odds-makers favor Donald to both this event and to win the FedEx Cup. They'll get no argument here.
With 38 consecutive cuts made, by far the longest active streak on Tour, there may not be a safer pick on a weekly basis than Stricker. In 14 stroke play events this season, Stricker has finished outside of the top-15 only three times. Stricker ranks first in both strokes gained – putting and birdie average. He’s also second in scoring average and third in All-Around Ranking.
Adam Scott - World Ranking: #14
In his last four events, Scott has been one of the best players on the Tour. He finished third at the AT&T National, T25 at The Open Championship, won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and seventh at the PGA Championship. The Australian ranks 13th in total driving, 16th in scoring average and 10th in All-Around Ranking.
After winning for the second time this season, Watney missed the cut at The Open Championship and finished T23 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. However, he bounced back at the PGA Championship with a T12 and should be a safe pick once again this week. Watney ranks third in both strokes gained – putting and scoring average. He’s also seventh in birdie average and fifth in All-Around Ranking.
After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Simpson turned around to win last week at the Wyndham Championship, which comes as no surprise given how extremely well he’s been playing all year. In 20 events, Simpson owns 15 top-25 finishes, seven top-10s, two runner-up performances and now the aforementioned victory -- the first on his career. He packs a strong game across the board and has sat first in All-Around Ranking for much of the season.
Jason Day - World Ranking: #4
After playing on an elite level from April through June, Day has taken a small step back. He struggled at the John Deere Classic, finished 30th at The Open Championship and missed the cut at the PGA Championship after recording a T4 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. However, Day still ranks 12th in scoring average, 13th birdie average and eighth in All-Around Ranking. Don’t hesitate to start him just yet.
After missing two cuts, Kuchar has bounced back to finish T19 in his last two events. That sounds like a far cry from the player that began the season with six finishes of eighth or better in his first seven stroke play events of the season. Kuchar ranks eighth in scoring average and fourth in All-Around Ranking. Take any discount you can on one of the game’s most consistent players.
After taking some time off due to injury, Toms has finished 17th or better in three straight starts, highlighted by a T4 at the PGA Championship. Although he’s not a bomber off the tee, Toms does everything else very well and is ranked third in All-Around Ranking. Even with skipping some events, Toms is ninth in the FedExCup standings and figures to stick around over the next four tournaments.
Aside from nearly coming from behind to win The Open Championship, Mickelson hasn’t made much noise as of late. In his last seven starts, Lefty has just one top-10 and three top-20 results. Not bad, but not what most owners are looking for when they tab Phil. He ranks 14th in birdie average, scoring average and All-Around Ranking. While Mickelson is always a threat, his name carries a lot of weight and could cause him to be overvalued.
In his last five starts, Fowler has two top-fives and three top-15s, including a share of second at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Going back to May, Fowler has five finishes of 16th or better in 10 starts while missing two cuts. Fowler ranks third in eagles (holes per), fourth in birdie average, 13th in scoring average and 12th in All-Around Ranking.
You never know what Johnson will give you. He’s finished in the top-four on four occasions this season, but has also posted numerous disappointing results along the way. In his last two starts, DJ finished T48 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. No one will fault you for rolling the dice, Johnson has all the skills to win, but expect another boom-or-bust performance.
With four top-fives in his last seven events, Howell appears close to winning for the first time since 2007. He hasn't missed a cut in nine starts, while never finishing worse than 32nd in that span. Now sitting ninth in scoring average, Howell is catching fire when it matters most.