This week marks the 42nd event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour begins the playoffs with The Barclays. A field of 122 players will tee it up this week at Ridgewood Country Club, which is hosting the event for the first time since 2010.
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Adam Scott returns to defend the title he won at Liberty National a year ago over a quartet of players. Here are 10 names to watch this week in New Jersey:
1. Rory McIlroy: No reason to start anywhere else. McIlroy is at an all-time high, coming off three straight wins that included two major titles. His record in this event isn't stellar - and McIlroy tied for 56th at Ridgewood in 2010 - but if he can continue the level of play on display at Hoylake, Firestone and Valhalla, he could be in line for yet another trophy presentation.
2. Adam Scott: The Aussie "only" managed a T-15 finish at the PGA Championship, which is his worst result since May. While he lost his top ranking to McIlroy, he's still playing some of the most consistent golf of anyone on Tour and will be eager to defend his title, albeit at a different venue. Scott tied for ninth at Ridgewood in 2010, highlighted by an opening-round 66.
3. Jim Furyk: While he's still without a win this year - or since 2010 - it's a drought that likely will end soon. Furyk has been one of the most consistent performers on Tour in 2014, with three runner-ups among eight top-10 finishes, and he leads the Tour in scrambling. Ridgewood's setup should favor his tee-to-green accuracy, and he tied for 12th in Paramus back in 2008.
4. Brandt Snedeker: Don't look now, but Snedeker is heating up just in time for a potential Ryder Cup pick. His tie for fifth at the Wyndham Championship was his seventh top-25 finish since the U.S. Open, and after a slow start to the year he is all the way up to 15th in strokes gained putting. Expect another above-average week on the putting surfaces at Ridgewood.
5. Rickie Fowler: Like Furyk, Fowler has had a strong year but still lacks a win. That may change in the postseason, as Fowler is riding a string of four straight top-10 finishes and hasn't finished outside the top 15 since the Memorial. After top-five finishes in each of the four majors, he's clearly comfortable playing against elite fields and now heads to a course where he was in the mix before a Sunday 74 back in 2010.
6. Justin Rose: Another player who has displayed consistency this season. Rose has finished outside the top 25 just once since the Masters, a stretch that also includes three top-five results and a win at Congressional. The Englishman is fifth on Tour in the all-around ranking and tied for 15th at Ridgewood in 2010 when he made some noise with a 65 in the third round.
7. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard underwhelmed at the PGA Championship, but he still could be poised for a strong playoff run. Garcia lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh at Ridgewood in 2008 and has five top-three finishes to his credit this summer, including three straight runner-ups at the Travelers Championship, Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
8. Henrik Stenson: The defending FedEx Cup champ comes in a little under the radar, but he tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and challenged down the stretch at Valhalla before tying for third. Stenson is strong off the tee and ranks fourth on Tour in total driving, a skill that should especially come in handy at Ridgewood.
9. Nick Watney: It looked for much of the year like this would be a lost season for Watney, but he's turned things around in the last month with three top-15 finishes in his last four starts, including a T-5 at Wyndham when he appeared to have one hand on the trophy during the final round. Watney won this event at Bethpage in 2012 and has four top-10 finishes in the last five years, although the lone outlier to that trend was a T-36 finish at Ridgewood in 2010.
10. Jimmy Walker: Hard to leave out the man that topped the FedEx Cup standings for nearly the entire season. Walker has three wins among his nine top-10 finishes this season, a list that includes a T-7 finish at the PGA. That was his third top-10 in a major this year, which is a pretty good run for a guy not named McIlroy or Fowler. Walker is second on Tour in birdie average and seventh in strokes gained putting.