This week marks the 42nd event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to Ridgewood Country Club for The Barclays. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Because he has won his last three PGA Tour starts. Because he is the world No. 1. Because the way he is hitting his driver, there is not a golf course anywhere in the world that he can't overpower.
Group 2: Rickie Fowler: Although it’s not a major it may be the next best thing for the player who has elevated his game at the biggest events.
Group 3: Ryan Palmer: Four years ago the veteran found himself in a similar Ryder Cup predicament and gave then U.S. captain Corey Pavin something to think about with top-11 finishes in his first two playoff starts. Expect the same kind of resolve this time around.
Group 4: Camilo Villegas: Villegas has a history of getting hot in the FedEx Cup playoffs, he won two of four post-season stops in 2008, and last week’s victory at the Wyndham Championship was the confidence boost he needed.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: I mean, come on. Is this a trick question or something? I’ve heard he’s been playing well lately. Figured I’d take a chance on the guy.
Group 2: Phil Mickelson: Phil loves New York and New York loves Phil right back. Forget this is actually New Jersey. He’ll play to the crowds.
Group 3: Billy Horschel: Trending in the right direction and great ball-striking always comes in handy on a classic track like Ridgewood.
Group 4: Morgan Hoffmann: Gotta love the storyline: New Jersey native sneaks into the playoffs, now playing with nothing to lose.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: I mean, there's no reason not to stay with the hot hand even if he doesn't have a stellar record in the Barclays.
Group 2: Phil Mickelson: Lefty, too, is hot, and it's worth riding him for another week. He's running out of chances to extend his streak of consecutive years with a victory and he always gets excited playing to the New York City galleries.
Group 3: Ryan Palmer: He's another player who had a solid turn at the PGA Championship (T-5, his best-ever finish in a major), and he has had success at Ridgewood CC in the past with T-5 in 2010, only three back of winner Matt Kuchar.
Group 4: Rory Sabbatini: It hasn't been the best of seasons for Sabbo, but like Palmer, he has a good pedigree at Ridgewood with that same T-5 in 2010.