2007 Barclays Classic

I saw Zach Johnson on the Golf Channel this week. He was talking about the importance of the FedEx Cup playoffs, playing against the top players in the world, the $10 mil, stops in four great cities, and getting to say you won the first one ever.

There was also a weak breakdown of what it will take to win. The gist, according to the Golf Channel, is that if you're not in the top-10 or so on the FedEx points list, you have very little chance of winning the cup. And even if you are, you still have to win one of the next four playoff tournaments, starting with this week's Barclays in Westchester County, the perfect setting for a prize that comes in the form of a $10 million annuity. And, even if you win one you still have to finish in the top 10 in like two or three of the other three. In short, they made it sound like nobody can win this inaugural cup. I don't pretend to know what the math is but it seems like you have to win at least one of them. And you have to be in the top-10 or so going in. With this limited knowledge, then, and knowing that Tiger isn't playing this week, players have some hope of actually winning. That is, until el Tigre wins out after this week.

We'll see, though. We know Tiger doesn't much like playing on Tour after the PGA. He seems to be a reluctant trooper on the whole idea of these playoffs. I just know that I have about as much interest in doing math with regard to sports as I did in high school. Whether it's wild card percentage points or tiebreakers, I'm not interested in the dust, only in its clearing until the real games can begin. Since calculations are going to run through these four playoff tournaments, it's like an extended confusion, and I have much doubt as to how invested I'm going to be in the actual golf. Except, of course, I'll be invested in the outcomes of my picks.

To that end, the best strategy seems to be to take the top players going into it. They have a lot more to play for than the rest. And in strong fields we tend to see the cream rise to the top, even if they don't always win.

So, at this week's Barclays in Westchester:

Take Zach Johnson (50-1), 1/6 unit: Johnson also knows that with a major (The Masters) and a regular Tour win, he could take Player of the Year honors if he wins the FedEx Cup. He's playing well now, as he has all year, despite missing the cut in the PGA. Before that, he had a T20 at the British Open and a T11 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Westchester is a classic layout with teeth. It's going to play faster this year because we're nearing the end of August. Johnson did pretty well at another classic course with quick greens earlier this year.

Take Steve Stricker (50-1), 1/6 unit: He's been playing great for two years now. My only concern is that after the British Open he might be emotionally spent. He wants it so bad and everyone wants it for him, but I wonder if it's just not in the cards. Still, he followed the T8 at the Open with a respectable T41 at the WGC and T23 at the PGA. One of the best putters in the game.

Take Geoff Ogilvy (50-1), 1/6 unit: Ogilvy hasn't won in 2007 though it seems like he has on account of the five top-10s. He's coming off a T6 at the PGA. Nothing wrong with his game, no reason he can't win. You could say that about at least twenty other talented young guys, but Ogilvy doesn't have the damage some of the others have (Sergio comes to mind). He finished T18 at Westchester last year.

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by: Michael Cash - theSpread.com - Email Us


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