Power Rankings: The Barclays

August 19, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

When Heath Slocum won The Barclays in 2009 in what was the first tournament of the current point structure for the FedExCup Playoffs, he set the precedent for what could be. Slocum famously rose from 124th to third in the standings with the one-stroke victory at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.

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In theory, the variable of the unknown should level most competitions. Toss in the timing of the indoctrination by fire of a three-year-old host track and the potential for some serious churn increases. The element of patience may not be more important at any other time given the stakes. There's no question that it's a fan-friendly angle that was fulfilled by Slocum's triumph.

Liberty National took heat for its penal setup. The rough stood four inches and über-undulating putting surfaces led to the course ranking as the most difficult all season in hitting greens from lies off the fairway (34.85 percent). Hitting GIR from anywhere was a challenge as the field averaged 55.3 percent, second lowest of all courses in 2009. Its scrambling clip measured 57.45 percent, good for 17th-lowest. With a scoring average of 72.282, it played as the most difficult par 71 that year.

In response to the criticism, the Bob Cupp-Tom Kite collaboration made changes to 15 holes for its return this week. Sharp inclines on 12 greens were reduced and fairways will be wider to aid against the wind directly off New York Harbor. Five holes -- Nos. 3, 5, 6, 7 and 18 -- were shortened 7-18 yards. The par-4 16th was extended by one yard. The net 66-yard drop overall lists the course at 7,353 yards on the card. It plays as a par 36-35=71.

A small chance of rain late on Thursday serves as Mother Nature's only threat. Otherwise, primarily sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 80s are anticipated. The aforementioned wind is the X-factor, but nothing significant is forecast.

In place of Stats Suggest this week, please keep an eye out for my Power Rankings for the FedExCup Playoffs. It will feature notable nuggets, trends and a projection of the top 30 golfers.

Power Rankings: The Barclays
Rank Player   Comment
Jason DAY Jason DAY Took last week off after sharing eighth place at the PGA Championship, his sixth top 10 of the season. Twenty-one consecutive cuts made. Sits 38th in strokes gained-putting and 14th in adjusted scoring. Tied for 12th at the 2009 Barclays.
Webb SIMPSON Webb SIMPSON Polished off a T11 at Sedgefield with a 63 that included an eagle-2 and six birdies. Four top 10s and another eight top 25s this season. Held the outright lead at the midpoint of the 2009 Barclays en route to a solo eight-place finish.
Henrik STENSON Henrik STENSON The planet's hottest recent non-winner. Two seconds and two thirds in his last four starts. Ranks sixth in fairways hit and second in greens in regulation. Also fourth in adjusted scoring and first in scrambling from the rough.
Adam SCOTT Adam SCOTT Rested after a T5 at the PGA Championship where he held a share of the 18-hole lead. The result joined a historic playoff victory at the Masters and a T3 at The Open Championship for one of the best slates in majors this season.
Tiger WOODS Tiger WOODS Another season without a victory in a major is by the boards, but he begins the Playoffs atop the FedExCup standings on the shoulders of five wins. Leads the TOUR in adjusted scoring. Co-runner-up at Liberty National in 2009.
Jason DUFNER Jason DUFNER First start as a major champion. His win at Oak Hill chased a T4 at Firestone and completed a reversal of what was a disappointing season. Ranks 23rd in greens in regulation, 13th in adjusted scoring and T3 in par-4 scoring.
Jim FURYK Jim FURYK Seriously surging. Answered T9s at the RBC Canadian Open and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational with a runner-up at the PGA Championship. Sits 21st in adjusted scoring. Shared 15th place at The Barclays in 2009.
Bill HAAS Bill HAAS The PGA TOUR's leader in top 10s (nine) has another five top 25s, including in each of the last two weeks. Ranks 10th in greens in regulation, 17th in adjusted scoring and T1 in par-4 scoring. Logged a T24 at Liberty National in 2009.
Rickie FOWLER Rickie FOWLER Starts the Playoffs ranked 42nd in points. Top 25s in six of his last seven starts, including a T19 at the PGA Championship where he led the field in ball-striking. Overall, he's 17th in strokes gained-putting and 23rd in adjusted scoring.
Phil MICKELSON Phil MICKELSON He's a member at Liberty National, but finished T52 in 2009. Enjoying one of his most successful seasons this year with two wins, two seconds and two thirds in 17 starts. Leads the TOUR in par breakers; ninth in adjusted scoring.
Dustin JOHNSON Dustin JOHNSON The newly betrothed bomber placed T15 at the 2009 Barclays. Tied for eighth two weeks ago at Oak Hill, his fifth top 10 of the season. Currently 46th in strokes gained-putting, 18th in adjusted scoring and 33rd in the all-around.
Keegan BRADLEY Keegan BRADLEY Arrives in form. Top 20s in his last three starts, including a co-runner-up at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Tenth in adjusted scoring and third in the all-around. He's 2-for-2 in advancing to East Lake.
Matt KUCHAR Matt KUCHAR A T22 at the PGA Championship extended his TOUR-leading consecutive cuts made streak to 23. Seven top 10s this season, including two wins and two seconds. Nineteenth in strokes gained-putting and eighth in scrambling.
Matt JONES Matt JONES Closed out a T5 at Sedgefield on Sunday with a career-low 62 en route to a share of fifth place, his fourth top 10 in seven starts. Rose to seventh in the all-around ranking. Also ninth in scrambling and T7 in par-4 scoring.
Rory McILROY Rory McILROY Regained form at Oak Hill where he tied for eighth. Despite a roller coaster of a year, he's 47th in greens in regulation, 22nd in adjusted scoring, T23 in the all-around and 13th in par breakers. Begins the Playoffs seeded 49th.
Lee WESTWOOD Lee WESTWOOD Six top 10s on the PGA TOUR this season but starts the FedExCup Playoffs slotted 35th in points. Hasn't broken par in a final round since the Masters, but ranks 16th in total driving, adjusted scoring and in scrambling.
Rory SABBATINI Rory SABBATINI Extended brilliant form with a T8 at Sedgefield, his fifth top 20 in six starts. Ranked inside the top 10 in greens hit, strokes gained-putting and the all-around last week. For the year, he's 18th in GIR and third in par breakers.
Ernie ELS Ernie ELS One of four co-runners-up at Liberty National in 2009. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship two weeks ago, he entered the Wyndham Championship late and tied for 20th, closing with a 65. Currently 37th in adjusted scoring.
Hunter MAHAN Hunter MAHAN With this start, he'll be the only golfer to compete in all 25 FedExCup Playoff events to date. Shared 20th place at Liberty National in 2009. Four top 10s and another eight top 25s this season. Ranks 38th in adjusted scoring.
Robert GARRIGUS Robert GARRIGUS Resurfacing as a force with a T25 at Oak Hill and T11 at Sedgefield. Tied for fifth in putting average at the PGA Championship. That's the key to his success and a deep run in the FedExCup Playoffs. Starts at the 73-seed.