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The playoffs are here and so am I

PARAMUS, N.J. – The good news is, I got here.

That's no small feat, as anyone who has ever driven in the New York City area can attest. Of course, the Golf Channel production team provided detailed directions from the Newark airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the golf course, and yes, the roads here are fairly well-marked. What they cannot capture on paper, however, is the Defcon-5-level of urgency with which drivers around here treat their commutes, and the fact that many roads in north Jersey are divided (making U-turns almost impossible), and the frequent lack of warning that your exit is coming up.

But I got here.

'Here' is the magnificent Ridgewood Country Club, tucked away amidst the clutter of Paramus. The 27-hole A.W. Tillinghast layout opened in 1929, but the club itself dates to 1890, and you can feel it as soon as you walk through the gates.

The Barclay's will be contested on a hybrid 18 carved out of the three existing nines, but despite the contrived routing, it's still wonderfully authentic. Narrow fairways lined with towering trees, small bent-grass greens (with some poa annua thrown in), deceiving elevation changes, and not a single McMansion, waste area, or cell tower to spoil the view. This place feels like a perfect site for a U.S. Amateur (which Ridgewood hosted in 1974) or maybe even a Ryder Cup (1935), although many would consider it not brawny enough for either. I'm sure that's one of the reasons why the PGA Tour cobbled together this 'hybrid' 18, which allowed them to extend the old girl to a 7,319 yard, par-71 layout.

By the way, I tweeted this on Tuesday morning: if it stays damp, as it has been for several days, these pros will need a yak and a sherpa to find their way out of the rough. It's the really thick, really green, really gunchy stuff. Even if things get drier the most important stat at The Barclay's will surely be (teeny tiny) greens in regulation.

Lastly, speaking of small – because of all the rain, the pros have been moved up on Ridgewood's driving range to save some valuable turf for the week, which gave Tuesday's crowd the pleasure of watching Dustin Johnson air-mail the back of the range with ... a hybrid. And he wasn't just barely reaching, either. He was sending them halfway up the trees.