Rickie To End Fowl Luck At The Barclays
Can anybody stop the winning machine that Rory McIlroy has become in the last month? Let’s hope so!
Originally known as the Westchester Classic, the Barclays was founded in 1967, and was played in June until the advent of the Fed-Ex Play-Offs in 2007, when it moved to its current position in late August.
This week’s field is made up of the top 125 on the Fed-Ex Rankings, with only the top 100 at the end of this event going on to play in next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, the second Fed-Ex Play Off event.
The Barclays is shared by a number of courses in the New York metropolitan area and this year returns to Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey, which hosted the tournament in 2008 and 2010.
Designed in 1926 but renovated considerably in recent years, this tree-lined course features some enormous bunkers and tricky greens with subtle undulations. It has the feel of an old fashioned American course and is popular with most players, but is a tough course to tame.
In The Bunker
After three superb tournament wins in the row, how can anyone oppose Rory McIlroy this week?
You can scrape together one or two reasons: having been in England at the weekend to show off the Claret Jug, his preparation for this event might not be ideal and he could have one eye on being ready for the Ryder Cup, but price is the main factor.
I can’t back any golfer at 4/1 in an event as competitive as this, not even Rory.
If Rory is in the form of his life at the moment, then so is Rickie Fowler and having backed him more than once in the last few weeks, this is not the time to jump ship.
He has had seven top tens this season, and more significantly for the advancement of his career, he has produced his best in the big events. He was at it again last time, finishing third at the PGA Championship and is a solid bet at 20/1 this week.
Along with Fowler, Sergio Garcia has been one of few players to push Rory close in recent weeks and he’s also worth sticking with.. He let things slip at Valhalla, but prior to that had three consecutive runner-up spots to his name. The last time he played this course, in 2008, he lost in a play-off and he’s worth backing at 20/1 to earn compensation for that disappointment this week.
Phil Mickelson had a dreadful first half to the year, but has found his form in recent weeks and his second at the PGA Championship a fortnight ago was his best showing of 2014.
He is probably certain of a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, but will want to continue his good form over the next four weeks and has always enjoyed a good relationship with crowds in New Jersey and New York. Back him at 22/1.