EDISON, N.J. -- The Barclays, the first of four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, will feature 124 of the top 125 players on the PGA TOUR, with Nick Watney, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Luke Donald and Keegan Bradley leading the way as the top five players, respectively, in the FedExCup standings following the conclusion of today's Wyndham Championship.
Simpson won his first PGA TOUR title at the Wyndham Championship to jump No. 3 in the standings, while on the other end of the spectrum, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and William McGirt played well enough in Greensboro to move inside the top 125 and earn a trip to Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., for The Barclays, Aug. 25-28.
Simpson, in his third year on the PGA TOUR, saved his best performance of the Regular Season for last. Heading into the Wyndham Championship, Simpson was the second-highest ranked player in the FedExCup standings without a victory. The 26-year-old shot a bogey-free final round to become the TOUR's 12th first-time winner of the season. Simpson's season also included two runner-up finishes.
He came in second to Gary Woodland at the Transitions Championship and lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The Wake Forest grad has never made it to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. This will be Simpson's third time playing in The Barclays.
The top five spots in the FedExCup standings are where players ultimately want to be by the time the Playoffs reach the culminating event in Atlanta. The top five players in the standings entering the TOUR Championship will control their own destiny and can win the FedExCup with a victory.
Els, who was the No. 1-ranked player in the FedExCup standings entering The Barclays last year, had to fight for his Playoff survival at the Wyndham Championship. On the outside looking in at No. 126, Els posted a T30 finish to move to No. 118 in the standings and safely in The Barclays field. He'll need another strong finish at Plainfield Country Club to advance to the second Playoff event in Boston, which includes only the top 100 in the standings.
Harrington, another major champion, was in similar position as Els, needing to play his way into The Barclays field. Harrington was ranked No. 130 in the FedExCup standings and had to cancel a family vacation in order to play the Wyndham Championship in an attempt to earn a trip to New Jersey. He did just that, squeaking in at No. 124, thanks to a T47 finish.
McGirt began the week ranked No. 127 and is now the last man in The Barclays field at No. 125 after a T52 finish. The former Wofford College standout owes his Playoff berth as much to Justin Leonard's misfortune as to his own performance in Greensboro. Leonard, No. 142 heading into the Wyndham Championship, looked to be on his way to posting a top-15 finish and earning just enough points to be No. 125, but a bogey on the final hole of the Regular Season put him on the outside looking in, with McGirt sewing up the final spot.
Of the current top 125, only Charl Schwartzel (No. 21) elected not to play The Barclays. Schwartzel is committed to the remaining three events of the Playoffs.
Matt Jones (No. 122 to No. 127), David Mathis (No. 123 to No. 129) and Cameron Beckman (No. 124 to No. 130) all missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship and fell out of the top 125, ending their FedExCup hopes for 2011.