Are you a rabid golf fan who has trouble caring about the FedExCup playoffs? Are you puzzled by the fact that golf’s post-season uses weird mathematical formulas to determine an eventual $10m booty winner rather than one-on-one match-ups?
Are you shocked that FedExCup is all one word? Are you weirded out by the fact that I’m talking to you like some guy in a 3am infomercial? If you answered “no” to that last question, will you send me money for an old rag that picks up dirt really well?
Before we went off the rails there, I asked a serious question: Do you care about the PGA Tour’s playoffs?
If you’re like most golf fans, the answer is, “ehhh…kinda.” The great part about the four FedExCup events is that they bring together the best players in the world. And unless your name is Rory McIlroy, nobody skips.
The downside is that the PGA Tour hasn’t gotten its act together and instituted a fun match-play finale, so the whole thing is a giant cluster…ball…of math and probability and potential outcomes and other elements that I’d rather not see on a sports telecast.
But there’s an obvious cure for your apathy, and it’s simple: Try to back the winner. Boom! Done.
And if you do end up punting the Barclays Championship here are six players to consider with prices correct at noon on Tuesday:
1. Dustin Johnson — 12/1
The last time the Barclays was played at Plainfield Country Club DJ set a tournament record with an insane -19 total in 2011. Here’s the crazy part: That was over 54 holes before the threat of Hurricane Irene getting medieval on New Jersey’s ass forced a final-day abandonment.
And while DJ sabotaged himself with a series of choke jobs over the past few months, the Barclays isn’t a Major, and he might actually be able to avoid a collapse if he decimates the course this Thursday and Friday—which is way more likely than you might think.
Going each-way the first 6 on DJ is the closest you’ll find to a sure thing in this field.
2. Brooks Koepka — 25/1
What odds the casual golf fan couldn’t have picked the 25-year-old out of a line-up earlier this season? Showed he has the cojones to bring it home when winning the Phoenix Open to back up his Turkish Open win on the European Tour last term and leads the US Tour in eagle scoring.
If you look at his last seven events he’s finished sixth or better more than half the time. You think you should back him each-way on a bomber’s course like Plainfield?
YOU THINK?! (Now is the point in real life where I’d slap you for effect.)
3. Matt Kuchar — 30/1
Modus operandi: Play consistently amazing, make every cut, do well in Majors but not well enough to win, poke your head up once a year to win a tournament…usually a big-ish one like the Barclays or a WGC or the Players or the Memorial.
This year ‘Kuch’ has followed that old reliable formula, apart from the ‘winning a tournament’ part. He’s playing well, he’s due and he finished second to DJ at Plainfield in 2011, so we know he can play the course. Jump on it, kemosabe.
4. Brandt Snedeker 40/1
A closing day 61 here in 2011 saw Snedeker pole-vault 26 places up the leaderboard to finish T3 – three shots off DJ in the 54-hole tournie.
For symmetry, Snedeker carded a course record 61 at Sedgefield last Friday before dropping to T43 behind first-time-since-2008-winner Davis Love III.
But Snedeker had five Top 15s in his previous seven starts and the 2012 FedEcCup winner still has the game after winning at Pebble Beach last February.
5. Robert Streb — 50/1
At this point, Streb should just go ahead and copyright the words “on the verge”.
In nine events since a T30 at The Players Championship in mid-May the dude has only been out of the Top 20 once (T42 US Open) and he had an excellent stretch from the Open Championship at St Andrews through the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
He’s going to win soon and if you’re on at 50/1 – you’ll be eating cake for years. (If that’s what you’re into).
6. Harris English — 125/1
He’s on my fantasy team, and he is by far the most frustrating athlete I’ve ever fake-managed. Let me put it politely: The guy is a nightmare on weekends, especially in big events.
He’s had a chance to post some really great results, but the minute he gets in contention, he seems to crumble. Now look, I know this isn’t the best endorsement in the world but I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s money to be made for those with the courage to take a flyer on English.
He’s actually played really great golf when he’s not in a total freefall. It’s a back-handed compliment, but it’s also a sign that he might be close. This guy has won tournaments before, after all, and he’s made nine straight cuts.
Shane Ryan is the author of ‘Slaying the Tiger: A year inside the ropes on the PGA Tour’ & the European version ‘Chasing the Legends: The rise of the young guns in golf’ revealing the stories that the insiders know, but rarely share. You can follow @ShaneRyanhere on Twitter