Its unlikely the 2012 Barclays is going to produce too many low scores. Sustainability has become the buzz word ever since the recession hit in late 2008 and this week looks like be a big hill to climb for the FedExCup playoffs in terms of delivering low numbers over four days.
No disrespect intended against the field after all, “Anything is Possible” with elite players. Dustin Johnson made it look easy last year posting 19-under and only needing 54 holes to do so. All three rounds were played with preferred lies in closely mown areas as Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc and forced the cancellation of the fourth round. Matt Kuchar won in 2010 but needed extra holes to defeat Martin Laird. The two were tied at 12-under par through 72 holes and Kooch needed one more birdie on the first playoff hole to complete his come from behind win. Heath Slocum holed a 21 foot putt for par at the final hole of regulation to shoot 4-under 67 and win the 2009 Barclays by one stroke over four players who tied for second – Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Slocum finished at 9-under 275.
The Barclays has rotated its venue going from Liberty National in 2009 to Ridgewood CC in 2010. Last year it was held at Plainfield CC in Edison NJ. This year it shifts across the Hudson River to Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, which has hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. The Black, as it’s often referred to, is known for its size and is the key to why scores won’t likely rival last year’s levels. It plays to a par-71 with a yardage of 7,468 for the 2012 Barclays. As a point of reference, the course played to 7,214 for the 2002 U.S. Open and 7,426 for the 2009 U.S. Open. “I drove the ball really well at Kiawah a couple weeks ago, and obviously around this golf course you're going to have to do the same,” said Rory McIlroy. “You know, if you hit the ball in the rough, it's a big disadvantage. It's a big golf course.”
Often it about going low on the PGA TOUR, but its unlikely the Black will yield the scores the tournament has produced historically. For example, the Black Course played to a stroke average of 74.902 in 2002 and 72.928 in 2009. David Duval (T2) led the field with 19 birdies in 2009, while Phil Mickelson (2nd) led the field with 17 birdies in 2002. The lowest score at the 2002 U.S. Open was a 4-under 66 by Nick Faldo in the third round. Mike Weir shot 64 in the first round in the 2009 U.S. Open and Lucas Glover matched it in the second round. Keep those numbers in the back of your mind during the four rounds of the Barclays and see if the Black holds up in 2012.