The FedEx Cup playoffs begin at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, on Thursday, with more than 100 golfers vying for $10 million. Plainfield might not be as famous as Augusta National or St. Andrews, but it has a timeless charm to it – one that will make this weekend’s action even more compelling.
“It’s a great golf course,” Barclays executive director Peter Mele said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We played it back in 2011 and we got interrupted by Hurricane Irene that year, so it was not a pleasant experience. But this time we’re going to get to play the golf course fast and dry, which is the way it should be played. It’s a beautiful golf course, very photogenic. It’s very intimate. If you’ve never been to a professional tournament, it’s a great place to go because you can get up close to the players, it’s easy to get around, you can see multiple holes and multiple tees from certain vantage points. It’s a really, really nice facility. It’s actually the oldest course that any PGA Tour event will be played this year.”
Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Bubba Watson are ranked first through third, respectively, in the FedEx Cup standings, with Spieth the favorite to win.
“What a nice kid he is,” Mele said. “For him to launch out this year, to have this breakout season where he not only is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points list and on his way to the $10 million prize, but now he’s the No. 1 payer in the world – and at age 22, that’s just incredible. There’s so many young players out there: Jason Day, who just won the PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy, who’s not with us because he’e nursing the sore ankle. Golf is in such great hands right now. Rickie Fowler – these are 20-somethings, they’re just out there lighting it up.”
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, will not be in action this week. He needed a top-two finish at the Wyndham Championship last weekend to qualify for the playoff but finished tied for tenth. He shot a 64 and 65 in the first two rounds, respectively, but he finished with a 68 and a 70 on the final two days of the tournament.
Still, it was an encouraging performance overall for Woods, who has struggled with injuries and poor play over the past few seasons.
“I think he’s lost a little bit of his confidence,” Mele said, “but I watched him this weekend a little bit and you can kind of tell he was dialed in. He had that look in his eye on Thursday and Friday and didn’t quite get it done in the weekend, but he’s really close. I really think you’re going to see him come back. I root for him. I’d like to see him come back and become a factor again and be out on the tour competing again every week. I think he’s close. He almost got it done. It would have been quite a deal if he had been able to pull that off last week.”