We're at the beginning of the end folks, as The Barclays marks the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. There are 125 players this week, so we've got a fairly substantial number of entrants still, but gone are all the pre-eminent back markers. Instead, what we've got are a mix of streaky players and consistent player who might never have really caught fire this year. Or they're Rory McIlroy, who in three starts, gave the golf equivalent of a Johnny Manziel middle-finger to the rest of the field by winning three straight starts and overtaking Jimmy Walker for first place. The Barclays features Ridgewood Country Club, one of the country's oldest, measuring at 7,306 yards. If you've got a player you're thinking about starting and you're almost out of starts, go for it, because you can't take them with you to next season!
In this week's edition of the Power Rankings, and those going forward, I'll be listing the Top-15 with their Total Aggregate (TA), a number that combines recent performance with course history and some select other metrics, and the change (CHG) from the last tournament they participated in. Total Aggregate is out of 100, with a lower number indicating a better ranking, as described in Movers and Losers.
- Jim Furyk - TA: 8.33, CHG: +2.8 - Can't say I saw this one coming, but I'm not terribly surprised either. Furyk has finished no worse than 15th in his last five starts, including three Top-5s. His kicker that puts him here? Her placed 12th here in 2008, the first time this tournament was played at Ridgewood Country club. He skipped The Barclays in 2010, the only other time the tournament was played here.
- Sergio Garcia -TA: 9.33, CHG: -0.2 - Three second place finishes in his last five starts brings Sergio to a familiar position, second place in the power rankings. Couple that trio with a playoff loss here in 2008 and he's looking good for a win, or, god forbid, another second place finish.
- Rickie Fowler - TA: 9.83, CHG: +2 - Speaking of second place finishes, Rickie Fowler has two in his last five starts and a third place finish at the PGA Championship. In those last five starts, he's finished no worse than eighth. How'd he get down here? A 36th place finish in 2010 at Ridgewood brought him back just enough. Of course, that was pre-Harmon.
- Justin Rose - TA: 11.33, CHG: -2.4 - Rose has been playing solid golf since a pair of wins just before The Open Championship. He's chalked up two Top-25 finishes and a fourth place finish since. He managed a T15 here in 2010, and he plays well on tough courses, so he should be a solid pick.
- Henrik Stenson - TA: 13.4, CHG: +0.4 - Just when I thought he was heading the wrong way after a hot stretch heading into The Open Championship, Stense put together a solid T3 at Valhalla while trying to chase down Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy. He's played The Barclays before, as he won the FedEx Cup last year, but he's never seen the course.
- Graeme McDowell - TA: 14.8, CHG: -8.2 - His T46 at Valhalla was his worst finish since The Players. Between those two tournaments, he finished no worse than 28th, include a stretch of five Top-10s that included a win. Like Henrik Stenson, McDowell has played this tournament before, but never at this course.
- Adam Scott - TA: 15.92, CHG: -2.8 - That he's fallen this far speaks to the strength of the field he's up against. Scott has finished no worse than his T15 at the PGA Championship since winning the Crowne Plaza Invitational and it is his first time outside the Top-10 in that stretch. He finished T9 here in 2010 but missed the cut in 2008.
- Angel Cabrera - TA: 17.17, CHG: +13.8 - He's continued to surprise me just about every week he's come out to play since missing the cut at the U.S. Open. He's won since then with two Top-25s and a Top-15 as well since Pinehurst. Cabrera was T15 here in 2010 and T19 in 2008. Word of caution, he withdrew from the PGA Championship after shooting an 82. If he's healthy, he should still be a solid value start.
- Phil Mickelson - TA: 23.08, CHG: +1.8 - Lefty finally got his Top-10 this year, and nearly grabbed a win a solo second at Valhalla. He's finished no worse than 28th since a T49 at The Memorial. Managed to put together a T19 in 2008 but missed the cut in 2010.
- Kevin Chappell - TA: 27, CHG: +8.4 - This was the real surprise to me when I sorted my spreadsheet. To his defense (and for my own understanding) Chappell hasn't missed a cut since The Travelers Championship, including two top-20s and a Top-15. Not stellar play, but, consistency is rewarded, and he'll be a hell of a value in DFS games. The only question mark is that he's never seen the course.
- Matt Kuchar - TA: 27.25, CHG: +0.6 - According to reports from PGATour.com, Kuchar says he's feeling 100% after withdrawing from the PGA Championship with back spasms that he caught from Tiger Woods. I'm joking, of course, but before that, Kuchar had logged three Top-15s and a Top-5 in six starts. Kuchar won here in 2010.
- Rory McIlroy - TA: 28.83, CHG: +4.4 - Three wins in three starts. Should be higher, and will, so long as he manages another solid finish. A missed cut still factors in to his total but will drop off this week. Just know that there's no one playing better golf than he is right now.
- Ryan Moore - TA: 28.83, CHG: +1.4 - Cooled off some at Valhalla with a T41, but had Top-5, two Top-10s, and Top-15 in the tournaments prior. He's missed the cut in both efforts at Ridgewood, however, but should be a solid bench play in Yahoo! leagues.
- Bill Haas - TA: 32.5, CHG: +5.6 - Ended his stretch of consistently unremarkable play with a second place finish last week at the Wyndham Championship. Technically, he's never missed a cut this season, unless you count his withdrawal at the RBC Heritage as a missed cut. He's finished no worse than 51st this season and finished T47 in 2010 and T55 in 2008.
- Brandt Snedeker - TA: 32.83, CHG:
+3.2 -He's definitely playing as well as he was coming into this season with a fifth place finish last week and two Top-15s leading into the Wyndham. He missed the cut here in 2010 and placed T66 in 2008.