2014 The Barclays Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #WeTalkinAboutPlayoffs

Already somehow in its 8th year, the annual FedEx Cup “Playoffs” still seem a bit foreign and forced to me; however, there’s no question about it- having the top players in the world compete for four straight weeks during the latter part of the golfing season? = Yes, please!  So here we are again with another dose of the PGA Tour’s playoffs.  Yep, in the indelible words of Jim Mora Sr, we’re talking about playoffs!

The host course for this week’s FedEx Cup Playoffs opener- The Barclays- is Ridgewood CC in Paramus, NJ.  First, kudos to the PGA Tour for moving this event around- Liberty National, Bethpage Black, Plainfield CC and Ridgewood the past four years- they’re all revered tracks and make for great hosts of this premier event.  Ridgewood won’t provide the stunning views of the Statue of Liberty like last year’s Liberty National host did, but cut through the rolling hills in NJ with a very throwback, retro, almost Francis Ouimetty feel to it (a la “The Country Club” at Brookline), Ridgewood does itself quite well.

At 7,319 yards and a par 71, Ridgewood certainly is no pushover.  It’s actually a composite course of what the members play, taking selectively challenging holes from the courses East, Center and West courses to compile the venue for the big boys to play.  Keeping the ball in the fairway is a must this week with a plethora of trees and deep rough, meaning it’s definitely no bomb-and-gouger’s paradise.  I don’t ever want to say that length is a non-factor at a PGA Tour event, but let’s just say that players of all shapes and sizes can win this week.  Oh yeah, and thankfully we won’t have to put up with this garbage this year (#HGH).

A mighty solid week for my picks last week at the Wyndham Championship, as my Semi-Flier Freddie Jacobson finished t-2nd, my Lockzilla Brandt Snedeker finished t-5th and my Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week Carl Pettersson finished a respectable t-18th.  I also spot on nailed previously hot Kyle Stanley missing the cut.  Here’s to keeping the momentum rolling this week.

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Sneds t-5th, Hicks t-57th)

Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker
– Third straight week I’m pegging Sneds in my Lockzilla column, and I’m expecting a third straight high finish.  His t-5th last week at the Wyndham Championship may have already cemented him in as a captain’s pick by Ryder Cup Team USA captain Tom Watson, but Brandt won’t be letting off the gas pedal anytime soon.  He’s as big of a momentum player as there is on Tour, and right now he’s riding hot.  Look for another top 5 finish from Brandt again this week.

Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel
– Charl notched a sneaky solid t-4th at Firestone and a t-15th at the PGA Championship at Valhalla in his past two starts and overall has been a top 20 machine on Tour this season (ten top 20s in 15 PGA Tour starts).  Since his 2011 Masters victory, Charl has yet to really burst back through in a big way in the golf scene, but he’s simply way too talented to not turn these consistent contentions into inevitable victories.  Look for Charl to make a big splash in the FedEx Cup Playoffs these next couple weeks, starting right here this week in NJ.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Freddie Jac t-2nd)

Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan
– Don’t look now, but Hunter is making a late Ryder Cup captain’s pick chargaroo, as after finally rediscovering his game to the tune of a t-15th finish at the WGC Invitational at Firestone, he kept it rolling in the right direction and finished a solid t-7th the following week at Valhalla for the PGA Championship.  Hunter’s distance/accuracy combo will serve him well this week, and he’s poised to make some more noise in captain Tom Watson’s ears.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last Week: Stanley MC)

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
– Yep, I’ll admit slotting Rory as my BUST pick of the week after the tear that he’s been on seems more than a little wacko, but hear me out on this.  Rory was playing Playstation-like golf the past three tourneys and clearly comes free sailing into the FedEx Cup Playoffs- which I believe is exactly the problem (the free sailing part).  It’d be easy to say that Rory comes into this week as the most confident player in the world, but on the same note I’m telling you that Rory couldn’t give two sh*ts about the FedEx Cup as he already snagged his two majors this season, already has all the money in the world and won’t truly care about his game again until the Ryder Cup.  Sometimes this carefree attitude can be a good thing for a golfer’s mindset, but in the case of Rory, it’s the opposite and the errors will compound quickly.  Expect a quick, violent 180 downward for the world #1s game this week.  #Letdown

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Pettersson t-18th)

Bo Van Pelt
Bo Van Pelt
– Without practically anyone other than himself and his bank account noticing, BVP notched a pair of top 15s in two of his past three events- a t-14th last week at the Wyndham Championship and a t-7th back at the John Deere Classic.  Bo played in the Tour Championship three straight years from ’10-’12, before failing to qualify last season, which you can bet will be a motivating factor in attempt to play his way back in this season.  Just like with my Freddie Jacobson gut play last week (t-2nd), I’m expecting some fireworks from BVP this week.  Bo Van Pelt is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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