Not-yet-complete Barclays field promises to be very impressiveSteve Stricker could enter the Playoffs ranked No. 2 for the third consecutive year.August 19, 2011
PGA TOUR staff
EDISON, N.J. -- Now that the 5 p.m. ET commitment deadline has passed, the field for The Barclays is set -- for those who have secured there positions within the top 125 of the FedExCup standings, that is. Based on projections, any player ranked No. 109 or higher is guaranteed to make The Barclays field. Currently leading the list is a mix of young stars and established veterans with Nick Watney (No. 1); Steve Stricker (No. 2); Luke Donald (No. 3); Keegan Bradley (No. 4); and Phil Mickelson (No. 5).
Players ranked No. 110 and below are jockeying for position at the Wyndham Championship this week in the hopes of solidifying their positions in the field for The Barclays, to be held at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., August 25-28. The field will be complete at the conclusion of play at the Wyndham Championship when the 125-man field for the start of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup is finalized.
Of the current top 125, only Charl Schwartzel (No. 21) did not commit to the field for The Barclays. Schwartzel is committed to the remaining three events of the Playoffs.
While much of the focus this weekend is on those making a last-minute push toward The Barclays field, 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 by Coca-Cola will control their own destiny and can win the FedExCup with a victory.
Only David Toms (No. 8), Webb Simpson (No. 12), Bill Haas (No. 15), Brandt Snedeker (No. 18) and Jason Dufner (No. 25) could crack the top five with a strong performance this week at the Wyndham Championship. Toms could do so with a win (and move to No. 1) or a second, third or fourth-place finish (and move to No. 4). Simpson could do so with a win (and move to No. 3) or a second-place finish (and move to No. 4). Haas, Snedeker or Dufner could do so only with a win (and move to No. 4).
Here's a quick look at the current FedExCup leaders who will begin their quest for the FedExCup next week at The Barclays.
No. 1 -- Nick Watney
Nick Watney is one of three players in the top five with multiple wins in 2011 (World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, AT&T National) and he ranks second on the PGA TOUR with top-10 finishes (8, the most of his career). In the four years of the FedExCup, Watney has reached the TOUR Championship twice, finishing 12th in the final FedExCup standings in each of the last two seasons. In six times playing The Barclays, Watney has made the cut five times with his best finish (T6) coming in 2009.
No. 2 -- Steve Stricker
If the standings remain the same, Steve Stricker will enter the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup at No. 2 in the standings for the third straight year. With victories at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance and at the John Deere Classic, Stricker is the only player with multiple PGA TOUR wins in each of the last three seasons. Stricker is the only player to play in each round of the PGA TOUR Playoffs (64 rounds) and has the most career top-10 finishes in Playoff events (10). Since 2007, when The Barclays become the first tournament of the PGA TOUR Playoffs, Stricker's average finish at the event is sixth, including his victory at the inaugural playoff event in 2007, runner up in 2009 and T3 in 2010.
No. 3 -- Luke Donald
Luke Donald is riding the momentum of 10 top-10 finishes in 2011, including his victory at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Several of his top-10 finishes came at some of the biggest events and most difficult competition of the year: the PGA Championship (T8), the Masters (T4), THE PLAYERS (T4) and the other two World Golf Championships events (Cadillac Championship -T6, Bridgestone Invitational - T2). Donald finished the 2010 FedExCup ranked No. 3, thanks in large part to a runner-up finish at the TOUR Championship. His best finish at The Barclays since the start of the FedExCup was a T15 last year.
No. 4 -- Keegan Bradley
Following a win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, PGA TOUR rookie Keegan Bradley added a major championship win earlier this month at the PGA Championship. He became he first player to win a major in his first appearance since Ben Curtis in 2003. Both of Bradley's victories have come in playoff fashion. Bradley enters the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup with a higher ranking than any other rookie in the five-year history of the FedExCup. Only three rookies have reached the TOUR Championship -- Leishman, Romero and Snedeker. Romero and Snedeker went on to win Rookie of the Year on the PGA TOUR in 2008 and 2007, respectively.
No. 5 -- Phil Mickelson
If he remains ranked No. 5, Phil Mickelson will enter the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup as the only player to start the Playoffs inside the top 6 in the standings in each year of the FedExCup. Although he has yet to hoist the trophy, he has turned those top seeds into impressive FedExCup finishes: No. 3 in 2007; No. 7 in 2008; No. 2 in 2009; and No. 13 in 2010. Mickelson has two victories in PGA TOUR Playoff events (2007 Deutsche Bank Championship; 2009 TOUR Championship).