The Barclays 2016 expert picks: Golfers try to start playoffs on the right foot


The FedEx Cup Playoffs here and most of the top players on the PGA Tour are back at it this week at The Barclays. After a few weeks off following the PGA Championship and 2016 Rio Olympics, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson will try and kick-start a deep playoff run with a win at Bethpage Black this weekend.

Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.

What: The Barclays | Where: Old Bethpage | When: August 25-28

How to watch (all times ET):

TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday from 2-6 p.m., Saturday from 1-2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12-1:30 p.m.) and CBS (Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and Sunday from 2-6 p.m.)

Online: Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and Sunday from 2-6 p.m. on

Participants and odds

  • Jason Day: 15-2
  • Dustin Johnson: 9-1
  • Rory McIlroy: 10-1
  • Henrik Stenson: 12-1
  • Jordan Spieth: 14-1
  • Justin Rose: 22-1
  • Brooks Koepka: 28-1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 28-1
  • Phil Mickelson: 28-1

Matsuyama at 28-1 is fun. He played great last week without putting that well (per the usual). McIlroy at 10-1 is nice, too. That’s as long as I’ve seen his odds in quite a while.

Field strength: A

It’s a great field. It feels even better because we have gotten the Travelers Championship, John Deere Classic and Wyndham Championship the last three weeks. No offense to those events or their hosts, but it’s not exactly a triumvirate of golf greatness.

Story to watch: There are a number of storylines that intrigue me this week. The first is that the U.S. Ryder Cup team automatic qualifying spots are on the line and a lot of movement can take place.

This means if Daniel Summerhays, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Na or Kevin Chappell win this week, they could qualify for Hazeltine depending on what else happens with the players ahead of them. Is that a good or bad thing?

The other story is that a win this week pretty much guarantees your spot in the Tour Championship three tournaments from now — no matter who wins, really. That’s a big deal for both the top players in the FedEx Cup points race as well as those further down the list.

“Everyone’s got their mind on (the Tour Championship at) East Lake,” said Justin Rose on Tuesday. “Everyone knows how the FedExCup is structured. Everyone knows they are in the top five going into The Tour Championship, you’ve got that opportunity to win it. So everyone’s vying for position now.”

Game on. It should be a fun month.

Past winners

  • 2015: Jason Day
  • 2014: Hunter Mahan
  • 2013: Adam Scott
  • 2012: Nick Watney
  • 2011: Dustin Johnson

That’s a big boy list of winners. Watney and Mahan are down now, but they both have a case of trophies at home to show past greatness. Johnson, Scott and Day are clearly still at the top of their games.

Let’s look at the picks this week.

Expert Picks (Kyle Porter)

Winner It doesn’t feel like anyone is talking about Jordan Spieth. That’s kind of strange given that he’s won twice this calendar year and is No. 6 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. No history to speak of at Bethpage. Odds: 14-1
Top 10 Henrik Stenson is riding a real heater. Won The Open. Top 10 at the PGA Championship. Silver medal at the Olympics. And he’s won the FedEx Cup before too. Finished T54 here in 2012. Odds: 12-1
Sleeper Russell Knox is one of the leaders to take the last three spots on the European Ryder Cup team as a captain’s pick. I would not be surprised at all to see him play great this week. One of the more underrated players on the PGA Tour Odds: 66-1

Here are my fantasy picks from our CBS Sports Pick 4 Fantasy Golf groups. Some of these are different than above because you aren’t picking with odds. It’s just straight up, and the players are tiered off.

You can set your Pick 4 Fantasy Golf lineup now to compete for this weekend’s $1,000 prize.


Expert Picks (Robby Kalland)

Winner Hideki Matsuyama is playing great golf and Bethpage is the kind of set up where his ball-striking, which has been off the charts since the PGA, can overcome his putting woes. Bethpage’s greens aren’t all that tricky, it’s the disastrous rough that lurks outside the fairways and greens that causes the most issue. I think he comes out hot and takes the first Playoff event. Odds: 26-1
Top 10 Adam Scott is a past winner at this event — not at Bethpage — and should be plenty well rested coming in to The Barclays. He’s currently third in the FedEx Cup race so he has plenty of motivation to get off to a good start and try and close the gap on Jason Day as quickly as possible. Odds: 33-1
Sleeper William McGirt struggled at the Wyndham last week, but he’s played some very good golf this year and has done so at some tough courses, most notably with his T10 finish at the PGA Championship. McGirt was T10 at the Barclays way back in 2012 the last time it was held at Bethpage and look for him to make a little noise this week. Odds: 80-1

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