Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Barclays Preview

I bet this sign plays well on Long Island.
(Grabbing crotch) "Yeah, I gotcha
highly skilled golfer right heeya." 
The tour returns to vaunted Bethpage Black this week for the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. We know Bethpage is tough because the sign on the first tee tells us so and we also have the evidence from the grueling 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. My enduring memories of those two tournaments was that they were total grinds with Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover crawling across the finish line after not so much beating the rest of the fields but outlasting them.* (In 2009, third round leader Rickey Barnes shot 76 in the final round and lost by 2 shots to Glover who shot 73 . . . scintillating). Thus is the nature of A.W. Tillinghast courses which seem to be designed to steal a bit of your soul every time you play them.**

I assume that they're going to set the course up a little easier which is going to favor bombers like Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley while putting guys like Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk at a disadvantage. Last year I picked Adam Scott to win the FedEX Cup at the start of the playoffs. I'm not sure if I'm going to pick him again but I'm pretty confident that he's going to finish higher than he did in 2011 and it will start at Bethpage which is a good fit for his game. Not to mention, it's been weeks since we've had an Ana Ivanovic sighting on the FGR.

You two kids better
stay together.
The Barclays Top Ten

1. Adam Scott
2. Bubba Watson
3. Keegan Bradley
4. Tiger Woods
5. Dustin Johnson
6. Sergio Garcia
7. Bo Van Pelt
8. Lee Westwood
9. Louis Oosthuizen
10. Bud Cauley

Endnotes

*There was actually some excitement towards the end of the 2009 Open because Phil Mickelson, who had taken a brief sabbatical due to his wife's cancer treatment, reemerged and got everyone all jacked-up by going birdie-eagle on 12 and 13 before killing the buzz with bogeys on 15 and 17 and fading to a tie for second with, of all people, David Duval. (Yes, David Duval finished second in a major three years ago).

**My home course is a "Tilly" and, every time I walk 18, I don't feel quite like I've just played a round of golf as much as I've survived one. I don't know if this is one of his trademarks but on my course there are huge elevation changes starting on the 14th hole and going all the way through 18. (This is why you will often see me chugging a beer on the 14th tee because I don't want to sherpa that extra payload down the stretch). By the time you're hitting your approach on 18, your legs are jelly so of course he gives you one of the smallest greens on the course as a target. Not exactly what you'd expect from a good-time Charlie like Tilly who never graduated from any of the schools he attended and, in his teens, played a lot of cricket and "belonged to a cadre of wealthy, flashy and heavy drinking playboys." - The Life and Times of A.W. Tillinghast. Then again, slide No. 7 may offer some insight into why he designed such brutal golf courses as the phrase, "circumstances necessitated their marriage" is not something with which a "heavy drinking playboy" ever wants to be associated.