Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 FedEx Cup Playoffs: The Barclays from Bethpage Black

Who's ready for some playoffs?  In most sports, the playoffs are the most exciting time of the year.  In golf, though, it usually does not live up to the hype, with major championships taking the spotlight and the Ryder Cup looming.  But that does not mean the golf is not excellent.  Let's look back at some of my early season predictions for the FedEx Cup standings heading into the playoffs:

1. Lee Westwood (Actual 51)
2. Tiger Woods (Actual 1)
3. Luke Donald (Actual 16)
4. Webb Simpson (Actual 13)
5. Rory McIlroy (Actual 3)
6. Ian Poulter (Actual 55)
7. Phil Mickelson (Actual 14)
8. Nick Watney (Actual 49)
9. Sergio Garcia (Actual 33)
10. Bud Cauley (Actual 35)

And the actual top 10:

1. Tiger Woods
2. Jason Dufner
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Zach Johnson
5. Bubba Watson
6. Hunter Mahan
7. Carl Pettersson
8. Keegan Bradley
9.Matt Kuchar
10. Steve Stricker

So, two of the top 10 in the FedEx cup are European players while 8 are from the United States.  And all of them are multiple career winners, 5 are major champions, and all but Pettersson are almost guaranteed a spot on the Ryder Cup team this season.  All but Dufner are scheduled to play this week at Bethpage.

So who will take the first leg of the Playoffs?  I believe it will come down to 3 players: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Keegan Bradley.  Tiger finished T6 the last time the US Open was played at Bethpage, finishing the highest of the Early/Late tee times who had the tougher conditions.  Rory McIlroy may struggle if the ball striking is not there as Bethpage is tighter than the Ocean Course, but if he putts like he did at the PGA he'll be right there.  And Bradley is rounding into form, with a win at the WGC Bridgestone and a high finish at the PGA.  I am not going to pick a winner out of these three, but the winner of the tournament will come from these three.

I am definitely looking forward to the FedEx Cup playoffs with 4 solid tournaments in 5 weeks, culminating in the Tour Championship and leading into the Ryder Cup,

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