Power Rankings: The Barclays

By Will GrayAugust 20, 2013, 8:48 pm

This week, the FedEx Cup Playoffs get underway as Liberty National plays host to The Barclays for the second time since 2009. A field of 125 of the world's best players will descend upon the New Jersey layout with hopes of staying inside the top 100 to earn a spot into next week's field at TPC Boston.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Nick Watney returns to defend the title he won by three shots last year over Brandt Snedeker at Bethpage Black. Here are 10 players to watch this week just outside the Big Apple:

1. Henrik Stenson: He hasn't won yet this season, but he's arguably the hottest player on the planet. Stenson has finished inside the top three in each of his last four worldwide starts, including a pair of majors, and has only one PGA Tour round over 70 since June. The Swede is second on Tour this year in GIR percentage, third in total driving and sixth in fairways hit, a combination that should yield results this week in New Jersey.

2. Adam Scott: Making his first start since a near-miss at Oak Hill, Scott has posted top-15 finishes in each of his last three starts against world-class fields. The Aussie got progressively better with each round here in 2009 and currently ranks second on Tour in scoring average. Like Stenson, his tee-to-green consistency should bode well at Liberty National.

3. Tiger Woods: A runner-up here four years ago, Woods looks to erase the disappointment of going 0-for-4 in the majors this year. He currently leads the FedEx Cup standings, and with good reason: in seven stroke-play starts outside of the majors this year, Woods has emerged victorious a whopping five times.

4. Jason Day: Though he doesn't have a major title to his name like countryman Adam Scott, Day is in the midst of a career season that included top-10 finishes in three of the four majors this year. The Aussie tied for 12th at Liberty National in 2009 and this year ranks 14th on Tour in scoring average with eight top-25 finishes in just 17 starts this year.

5. Brandt Snedeker: The defending FedEx Cup champ finished second in this event last year to jump-start his Playoff run and tied for 12th when the event last visited Liberty National. One of only four players with multiple titles this season, Snedeker ranks fifth on Tour in strokes gained putting and eighth in both scoring average and birdie average.

6. Webb Simpson: The former U.S. Open champ has fired a round of 64 or better in each of his past three starts, each time leading to a top-25 finish. Simpson finished eighth here in 2009 and will likely look to attack this week's venue, in need of Presidents Cup points as he currently holds a tenuous grip on the 10th and final automatic qualifying spot with just two weeks to go.

7. Matt Kuchar: Perhaps the most consistent player on Tour, Kuchar has not finished outside the top 35 since May, a span of eight consecutive starts. A winner twice already this year, he was tied for seventh through 54 holes here in 2009 before dropping back into a tie for 28th after a final-round 75. Currently sixth on Tour in scoring average and 19th in strokes gained putting.

8. Dustin Johnson: No matter the venue, he seems to thrive in this event. A winner at Plainfield in 2011, Johnson had top-10 finishes at both Bethpage in 2012 (T-3) and at Ridgewood in 2010 (T-9) in addition to his tie for 15th at Liberty National four years ago. His recent engagement to Paulina Gretzky could also serve to provide some extra momentum for this week's event.

9. Jordan Spieth: The kid shows no signs of slowing down. Fresh off a runner-up finish in Greensboro, Spieth is making his first Playoff appearance with a great chance to advance all the way to the Tour Championship. The 20-year-old has seven top-10 finishes in just 19 starts this year and currently sits second on Tour in the all-around ranking.

10. Jim Furyk: In his first start since his runner-up to Jason Dufner at Oak Hill, Furyk returns to a venue where he tied for 15th in 2009. Still trying to play his way onto the Presidents Cup squad, the former U.S. Open champ now has three straight top-10 finishes to his credit and has not carded a round over 72 since the British Open.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry