Today begins the PGA Tour's second season at The Barclay's at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City. With its magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline as a back drop, the race for the FedEx Cup begins in earnest this morning.
Tiger Woods, as he always is in non-majors these days, is the strong favorite going in. He has complained this week about a stiff neck that's been bugging him from a "too soft" bed. But he's won five times this year, including a big win at the so-called "fifth major", The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. Despite another struggle in a major at the PGA Championship two weeks ago, he's a better bet than anyone in the field. And it would only cement his already sizable lead in the FedEx Cup point standings.
Nick Watney is the defending champion here. But it hasn't been the greatest year for him, so it would be surprising if he was able to duplicate that performance.
Forrest Gump's famous line in the movie of the same name is recalled when looking at World Ranked number two Phil Mickelson. But in this case he would say…."Life is like Phil Mickelson…you never know what you're gonna get…". If Lefty is hitting fairways, then he will most definitely be in the mix come Sunday. If he's not, then just making the cut will be an adventure.
PGA Champ Jason Dufner should also contend if his ball striking is in the same realm as two weeks ago. The Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte said this morning on "Morning Drive" that the recent success hasn't changed Dufner much
"He still takes out the garbage. That's what happens when you're a "3" and you marry a "12"…."
World number three Rory Mcllroy showed some life with his tie for eighth at the PGA Championship. The one way the young two time major winner could make this "lost" year a success would to make a charge for the FedEx Cup championship. There would be no better place than a venue with the Big Apple as a backdrop.
The galleries and experts will also be keeping eyes upon Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker coming in. Kuchar, second ranked in FedEx Cup points coming in, has won twice this year. Snedeker has the third most points and has recovered from mid-season ailments that slowed him a bit. It's only a matter of time before both of them do something spectacular like winning a major or perhaps being crowned FedEx Cup champ.
A surprise winner? Don't be too surprised if 20 year old Jordan Spieth contends. He comes in sitting at number eight in FedEx Cup points, with a win, a runner-up and another five top ten finishes on his resume.
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