The Barclays @ Bethpage Black – Fed Ex Cup PLAYOFFS (Week 1 – Top 125 guys from the 2015-2016 season)
I’ll get this week started with a copy/paste from PGA Tour.com
• COURSE: Bethpage State Park (Black), 7,468 yards, par 71. Built by A.W. Tillinghast, the Black opened in 1936 and was a treasured public gem for locals for decades until the 2002 U.S. Open thrust the course onto the world stage. A famous sign greets golfers near the first tee warning that only “highly skilled” golfers should play the Black, and its reputation for toughness attracted such pros as Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson early on to test its strength. Snead famously called it “an unfair test” after beating Nelson in a 1940 exhibition. Tiger Woods captured the 2002 Open at Bethpage, and the event returned just seven years later when Lucas Glover won a rain-soaked edition. The Black joined The Barclays rota in 2012, as Nick Watney prevailed.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,000 points.
• FIELD WATCH: FedExCup points leader Jason Day, also the reigning Barclays champion, and U.S. Open titleholder Dustin Johnson head a roster currently set for 122 at the opening playoff stop. … Sergio Garcia will sit out The Barclays for the second consecutive year, while Shane Lowry has opted to play the final European Tour stop before the automatic Ryder Cup berths are locked in. Masters champion Danny Willett is the third missing name. … Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman, who won the season’s first two events back in October, top a list of six rookies expected to crack the 2016 playoff lineup.
• LAST YEAR: Day won for the third time in a five-week span, distancing himself from everyone with a 63-62 weekend at Plainfield Country Club that produced a six-stroke romp over Henrik Stenson. Three long birdies on the back nine helped the Aussie to pour it on, matching the tournament’s 33-year-old scoring record set in its days at Westchester Country Club. Stenson kept within striking distance with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, but Day rolled home a 30-foot birdie of his own at the 14th and struck from similar distance at No.15. The triumph came just two weeks after Day made the PGA Championship his first major title, preceded two weeks earlier by victory at the RBC Canadian Open.
• STORYLINES: Day and Johnson are separated by only 34 points atop the FedExCup points race, with a gap of more than 600 points down to Adam Scott in third. Just 98 points separate Scott, No.4 Russell Knox and No.5 Jordan Spieth. … That quintet also represents the only men to record multiple victories during the 2015-16 regular season. … Though Day has cooled off since a torrid spring in which he scored all three of his wins, his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship was his third top-10 of the summer. He hasn’t finished lower than 14th in his past five starts. … Johnson makes his first start since missing the cut at Baltusrol, following a run in which he hadn’t finished outside the top 10 since May. That includes his breakthrough U.S. Open win and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. … At the back of the points list, entrants take aim at cracking the top 100 for a place in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Typically, a half-dozen play their way into the second playoff stop from outside the top 100.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). Saturday, 8:10 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups). Sunday, 8:20 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).