The PGA Tour's 2014-15 regular season wrapped up last week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro. I know the ratings on the weekend were way up this year because Tiger Woods was tied for the lead after 36 holes. He needed no worse than a solo second to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. Alas, Tiger wasn't quite as sharp on the weekend and finished tied for 10th, still his best result of the year. You won't see Tiger again, at least in the USA, until the 2015-16 PGA Tour season opener at the Frys.com Open. He has already committed there.
Tiger's week started with him playing nine practice holes last Tuesday with 51-year-old Davis Love. And shockingly, Love won the tournament to become the third-oldest winner of a Tour event, behind Art Wall and Sam Snead. Love shot a final-round 64 to finish at 17-under 263 and one shot ahead of Jason Gore. Love entered the tournament at No. 186 in the FedEx Cup points but the victory jumped him into the Top 125 and eligible for the first event of the playoffs. It was Love's 21st career win and third in Greensboro, although first at Sedgefield Country Club. Just to make you feel old, Love had three career wins when current No. 1 player Jordan Spieth was born. Gore, meanwhile, was the third-round leader and looking for his first win since 2005. He also jumped into the Top 125 with the runner-up.
Obviously I had no expectation of Love winning last week. I was torn between Bill Haas and Webb Simpson but went with Simpson. He and Haas both finished T6. I also got Brooks Koepka at +115 for a Top 10. Head-to-head, I hit on Paul Casey (-115) over Ryan Moore (-115), Luke Donald (-125) over Harris English (-105), Branden Grace (-125) over Billy Horschel (-105) and Simpson (-115) over Martin Kaymer (-115). Also got Charl Schwartzel at +260 as the top South African. So a pretty good tournament overall.
So now we are at the first of the four FedEx Cup events, the Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey. Love (now No. 76) and Gore (No. 98) were two of five players to move into the Top 125 last week. The others were Jonas Blixt (135 to 121), Camilo Villegas (129 to 123) and Ryo Ishikawa (130 to 124). Will MacKenzie, Brian Stuard, Scott Stallings, Jamie Donaldson and Nicholas Thompson all dropped out. Only Stuard and Thompson bothered playing last week and each missed the cut.
Only the Top 100 advance to the next playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston. If you are wondering, the No. 125 guy right now is Jeff Overton. Hunter Mahan is the defending champion of this tournament. He shot a final-round 65 for at two-shot win. But that was at a different New Jersey course, Ridgewood. The Barclays last visited Plainfield in 2011 and Dustin Johnson won at 19-under 194. That was shortened to 54 holes because of Hurricane Irene.
Not all the Top 125 are playing this week. Rory McIlroy is taking the week off to rest his ankle. Sergio Garcia also is not. But they are high enough in points that they will still be playing in Boston. Jordan Spieth has huge lead in the standings and can only be overtaken this week by Jason Day and Bubba Watson. It's Spieth's first tournament as the world No. 1.
Golf Odds: The Barclays Favorites
Spieth was the +550 Bovada favorite before the tournament started. But he had one his worst rounds of the year on Thursday with a 4-over 74 and is tied for 96th. Forget about him now. He was due a bad round, honestly.
Day, who played with Spieth and Watson on Thursday and will again Friday, was the +900 second-favorite going in. Day missed Wednesday's pro-am with a sore back but played Thursday and is T18 at 2-under. Not sure he's 100 percent.
Johnson and Justin Rose were next at +1100. Johnson is T47 after an even-par round Thursday and Rose blew up with a 7-over 77 and probably misses the cut after Friday's round.
Your first-round leaders at 5-under are Watson, Spencer Levin, Villegas and Tony Finau. Watson was +2200 going in but certainly will be the tournament favorite when updated odds are posted. Finau has had a fine season and looking for his first PGA Tour win.
Golf Odds: The Barclays Picks
For a Top 10, I had liked Spieth (-200), Johnson (even money), Rose (even) and Matt Kuchar (+275), who was second here in 2011. Those aren't looking good as Kuchar is T59 at 1-over.
Head-to-head, I recommended Kuchar (-115) over Jim Furyk (-115), Jimmy Walker (-115) over Horschel (-115), Koepka (-110) over Watson (-120), Zach Johnson (-120) over Phil Mickelson (-110), Matsuyama (-115) over Schwartzel (-115) and Spieth (-140) over Day (+110). I took Adam Scott (+500) as the top Aussie, Rose (-165) as top Englishman and Rory Sabbatini (+350) as the top South African. Scott is T59 at 1-over and so is Sabbatini.
Pre-tournament, I went with Kuchar to win at +3300 considering he had played much better of late and had success as this course in 2011.Now I like Villegas. He has to finish high to move on to Boston.
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