FARMINGDALE, NY -- With two of golf's four major championships in the books and approximately two months to go before the first tee shot is struck in the FedExCup Playoffs, the excitement on the PGA TOUR in 2012 should make for a competitive and thrilling finishing stretch as much remains to be sorted before the top-125 players in the FedExCup standings gather on Aug. 21-26 at Bethpage State Park: The Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y. Winners on the PGA TOUR in 2012 include an exciting mix of some of the game's biggest names as well as a group of fresh and up-and-coming players.
Webb Simpson, 26, entered the final round trailing by four strokes, but carded a 2-under 68 to finish 1-over 281 to win the 112th U.S. Open, edging out Michael Thompson and Graeme McDowell by one stroke for his third PGA TOUR victory and his first win at a major championship. Simpson's victory means that a player in his 20s has won six of the last eight major championships (Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen). He joins Dustin Johnson (6), Sean O'Hair (4), Anthony Kim (3) and Rory McIlroy (3) as players under the age of 30 with three or more victories on the PGA TOUR. In three appearances at The Barclays, Simpson has finished 8th, T10 and T36. He held the second-round lead at The Barclays in 2009 when it was held at Liberty National. Simpson finished 2nd in the FedExCup standings in 2011 and is currently 9th in the standings following his U.S. Open victory.
The Barclays defending champion Dustin Johnson returned from injury with his sixth career victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic two weeks ago. The 27-year-old's victory made him the first player since Tiger Woods (1996-2000) to go directly from college and win in each of his first five seasons on the PGA TOUR. No player currently in his 20s has more wins than Johnson.
Just a week before Johnson won in Memphis, Tiger Woods recorded his second victory of the PGA TOUR season in dramatic fashion with birdies on three of the final four holes, including a memorable chip-in on the 16th hole for his fifth career win at The Memorial. Tournament host and World Golf Hall of Fame member Jack Nicklaus called the flop shot at the par-3 16th, "One of the greatest shots I have ever seen." The win tied Woods with Nicklaus for the second-most victories on the PGA TOUR with 73.
Hunter Mahan won his second World Golf Championships event earlier this year at the Accenture Match Play Championship, defeating Rory McIlroy in the finals. Mahan, who also won the Shell Houston Open, has six additional top-25 finishes this season to go along with his two victories. The five-time PGA TOUR winner is looking to win three events in a season for the first time in his career.
England's Luke Donald has made the cut in nine of the 10 PGA TOUR events in which he has played, recording four top-10 finishes, including his playoff victory at the Transitions Championship. Since the start of the 2010 season, no player has finished in the top 10 more than Donald's 25 top-10 finishes.
Rickie Fowler, one of the most recognizable young players in the game, broke through at the Wells Fargo Championship for his first PGA TOUR win in a memorable playoff against McIlroy and D.A. Points. Fowler nearly went on to win the following week but finished T2 at THE PLAYERS Championship. For the season, Fowler has five top-10 finishes and is 10th in the FedExCup standings. Fowler finished T2, with Donald, at last year's Bridgestone Invitational.
In 2011, of the players who were in the FedExCup top 30 entering The Barclays, a total of 23 continued their strong play through the Playoffs and advanced to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. And while all 30 players at the TOUR Championship will have a mathematical chance to win the FedExCup, the top five in the standings control their own destiny and can win the FedExCup with a victory in Atlanta. Position in the FedExCup standings entering the Playoffs is key.