In 2015, Jason Day won The Barclays by six strokes, but this year’s opener of the FedEx Cup playoffs will be contested at the daunting Bethpage Black course.
Bethpage, located in Farmingdale, New York, typically plays the toughest of any course used for The Barclays. The 7,468-yard par-71 layout will boast narrow fairways and fast greens, putting a premium on hitting fairways and achieving greens in regulation. Day is listed as the favorite at +750, with Dustin Johnson drawing in at +900 and Rory McIlroy at +1000.
Day will be playing for the first time since the PGA Championship, where he finished as the runner-up after handling the scrutiny and extra attention that comes with being defending champion. That part of his mental game, along with the three-week break, could help Day going into the tournament.
Johnson finished third at the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black. Johnson missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but prior to that had earned seven top-12 finishes in a row, including his U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational victories.
McIlroy has been inconsistent in 2016, with two missed cuts in majors.
Justin Rose (+2200 on The Barclays odds) and Henrik Stenson (+1200) captured the Olympic gold and silver medals last week in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, that tournament was on a links course, and Rose being 149th on the tour in driving accuracy percentage is a red flag.
Stenson, who won the British Open before getting on the Olympic podium for Sweden, is having a big year, but there’s always the question of how long he can sustain his great run.
The tournament is also the last opportunity for golfers to play their way into consideration for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Bubba Watson (+3300) is outside of an automatic qualification spot, so he has incentive to play well, on top of the momentum from his eighth-place finish while representing the United States in Rio.
Rickie Fowler (+4000) is in the top five of the PGA in strokes gained from tee to green. That kind of efficiency will come to the fore at an event where birdies could be hard to come by. Fowler needs a strong result to rate a Ryder Cup spot.
Another longshot on the golf betting lines at the sportsbooks with a great value price is the 23-year-old Argentine, Emiliano Grillo (+8000). Grillo is in the top 20 in the PGA in driving accuracy, while also being long off the tee. Being long and straight will be paramount this weekend.
The top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings after The Barclays move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Labor Day weekend.