The sixth edition of the FedEx Cup Playoffs tee off this week at The Barclays, where 125 players will begin the first stage in the chase for the $10 million prize that goes to the Cup champion.
Player of the Year honors could also be decided in the next five weeks as big names begin the postseason at Bethpage Black.
Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner and Rory McIlroy seem to be in a three-horse race for POY honors, each having won multiple times this year.
McIlroy’s second career major victory at the PGA Championship earlier this month may give him a slight edge over his peers for the award, however it will be difficult to not honor Woods should he manage to win a FedEx Cup playoff event or, more, his third Cup title.
Dufner has remained consistent throughout the season, winning twice (nearly a third time at Colonial), and very well could end 2012 with both the FedEx Cup and Player of the Year honors.
Of the three, however, Dufner is the only player to skip The Barclays. He cited a need to rest ahead of thru remaining playoff events and upcoming Ryder Cup.
Even if Dufner had played, the spotlight would be on Woods and McIlroy beginning Thursday as the two favorties are paired together for the first two rounds of The Barclays. Players are grouped in threesomes based on their FedEx Cup ranking.
The other star this week is the difficulty test of Bethpage Black, of course. It hosts a regular PGA Tor event for the first time after hosting the U.S. Open in 2002 and ’09. Woods won in 2002.
Only the top 100 players will move on to next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston, so the bottom third of the field will need their A-game to keep their Cup hopes alive following The Barclays.
As a testament to the work ahead for many in the postseason, last year no one who started the playoffs outside the top 100 made it to the finale at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.