Playoffs get underway at The Barclays

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the Barclays Logo 2007PARAMUS, N.J. ' The FedExCup Playoffs start this week at Ridgewood Country Club, former host of the 1935 Ryder Cup, the 1990 U.S. Senior Open and the 2001 Senior PGA Championship.
 
The top-144 players on the FedExCup points list are eligible, but the field will be at least two players short as Tiger Woods and Luke Donald are out for the year with injuries.
 
Six more players have decided to skip the event ' Lee Westwood (No. 50 on the points list), Justin Rose (78), Alex Cejka (91), Jason Bohn (96), Bob Estes (124) and Roland Thatcher (140).
 
Of that group, Rose is playing on the European Tour this week, while Cejka joins Woods and Donald as missing the event due to injury.
 
In the first event of the 2007 FedEx playoffs, Steve Stricker fired four rounds in the 60s, including a 2-under 69 in the final round, to walk off with a two-shot win over K.J. Choi.
 
Stricker claimed his fourth PGA TOUR victory, but his first since the 2001 WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship. Choi, who held the 36-hole lead, lost for the first time in five tries when owning at least a share of the 36-hole lead.
 
Ridgewood replaces Westchester Country Club as the host of this event. Westchester had been the venue for all 41 years, but the event will now rotate among Ridgewood, Liberty National Golf Club and other courses including Westchester, which will host again by the 2012 season.
 
With the playoffs in full swing, the field will be cut from 144 to 120 after this event. Last season, just two players moved into the top 120, Rich Beem and Doug La Belle II.
 
Beem tied for seventh at Westchester and jumped from 134 to No. 113 to advance, while La Belle needed a birdie on the final hole to move into a tie for 41st. That moved him from No. 121 to No. 120 on the points list, knocking Steve Allan out of the second round of the playoffs.
 
Once again this year Beem is making waves as the playoffs begin. He shared third at the Wyndham Championship and jumped from No. 166 on the FedEx points list to No. 114.
 
Also playing their way into the playoffs at the Wyndham were Martin Laird, J.J. Henry, Justin Bolli and Lee Janzen.
 
The GOLF CHANNEL will broadcast four hours each of the first two days, while CBS has three hours of play on Saturday and four hours over coverage on Sunday.
 
Next week, the playoffs move to Massachusetts for the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Phil Mickelson won last year.
 

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