And so it begins, the Fedex Playoff series that will culminate in just over a months time at East Lake. Personally I love this format. The top 125 in the Fedex standings are eligible to tee it up this week and this gets whittled down to a final 30 for the Tour Championship. This is when it gets serious. A 10 million dollar bonus is on offer for the winner of the Fedex and despite many of these having plenty in the bank, try to dissuade Mark Zuckerberg to take part in a social media contest for 10 million. These guys are more hungry than ever to bag this satchel and it makes for some great viewing.

First up is the Barclays event where 121 dollar hungry golfers go to post at Plainfield CC in New Jersey. As far as form guides go there is little in the way to help us. The last and only time this event was held here was 2011. Dustin Johnson won then in a shortened 54 hole event due to an incoming hurricane. I do remember a lot of the venue as I had backed Dusty that week so I'm quite familiar. The course is a relatively short par 70. It has had over 1000 trees removed in the last ten years so is a lot more open for those who like to open their shoulders and have a real dig. That's what Dustin did in 2011. He ripped it off the tee at every opportunity and made the majority of his 19 under par total from being within 50 yards of the greens off the tee. He putted quite well and that is a must this week. The weather has been a lot more kind to the venue in the run up to this event so this somewhat changes the dynamics as it will definitely be a bit firmer. I don't think it'll play much different to those big hitters mind you. They'll all be trying to get as close to the green as possible. This was the tactics of many a few weeks back at the Bridgestone and it worked fairly well for the winner Shane Lowry. The rough can be nasty enough, but with little in the way of rain about it should be manageable.

On the face of it the shorter hitters have every chance to make a score around here. That will probably be the case and a few in that category will play well. I am of the opinion the bombers have the advantage and they can attack this course from the get go.

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Once again Spieth heads the market at an uninviting 6/1. Some prices just make up my mind every week, and that's one. Win or lose, anybody investing in Spieth at these odds is a tad foolish. It just won't pay in the long run as Spieth, despite being the quality golfer that he is, won't consistently go off at the odds Tiger was in his pomp, nor McIlroy when he is firing. We will await better opportunities and better prices to land Spieth, which I suspect won't be too long. Jason Day and Justin Rose turn up in fine form and either could contend this week. Day could possibly be a bit drained as his PGA victory really did require hard work. He may also leave plenty in the tank for East Lake where I think he could be a big force. Rose still isn't firing on the greens however his streaky nature means he could contend. We'll leave both of the staking plan at the minute.

We'll start this week with Dustin Johnson. His 'demise' as some people like to call it at Whistling Straits was another tranche of evidence that Dusty still has some ghosts to exorcise in the majors. With 8 top 7 finishes in this season he is without doubt one of the most consistent. Many naively thought this would be a tough year after his comeback at the start of the season. There are a lot of opinions about DJ. Through my spectacles I see one of the games most talented artists who attacks 100% every time he tees it up. This will inevitably result in disasters. It did so for Phil Mickelson before he landed a well overdue major. Dusty is in the same mould, and his time will come in the major sphere. As it is this week he arrives as being the last champion at this venue. He tore the place apart in 2011 attacking many of the par 4s and it resulted in him stretching the field before overcoming Matt Kuchar down the stretch. I expect him to take the course on again and make a bold fist of defending. He'll make plenty of birdies and it'll be a matter of keeping the ricks off the card. I expected to see him priced a bit higher than 12s if I'm honest. I suspected the bookies might be looking to get him in the book and offer a 14/1 carrot. Unfortunately not but I'm happy to have a smaller investment at the 12/1.
Dustin Johnson - 2.5pt @ 13/1Lost 2.5pt
I wanted bigger than the 35/1 about Matt Kuchar also. The price almost made him unbackable, but I feel he is on the verge of something special and I have to support him on a venue on which he played so well on last time. He chased Dustin home that weekend in the bad weather and had every chance of overhauling him. That was impressive to keep up with the winner that week and I do feel the course suits him a lot. He finished tied 7th at Whistling Straits two weeks ago, a venue which he played well the last time in 2010 before capturing the 2010 Barclays title a few weeks later. He has been trending towards this and a similar pattern may emerge to his 2010 campaign. All parts of his game are in fine shape and the tall gentleman has all the tools to contend here once again. A shade skinny price at 35/1, however we'll still go in.
Matt Kuchar - 1pt e/w @ 35/1Lost 2pt
I'll side with another who had a decent performance here in 2011 with a top ten in the shape of Webb Simpson. Simpson has failed to fire on all cylinders ever since landing his US Open. Bigger things were expected but Simpson has stalled and will more than likely have a successful career without reaching multiple major status. He has a solid chance this week though. He has had his troubles on the greens and can be described as streaky at best. There was a definite positive last week though with a change to a conventional length Ping Cadence putter and it resulted in a strong tied 6th finish in the Wyndham. Simpson is always a tad risky to get involved with however we have to act at the correct times. This week he is certainly overpriced at 66/1 with form shown at Plainfield. He is gearing towards some better finishes and although this may be a step too far, he is certainly worth the risk.

This is as far as the staking goes for the Barclays. Absolutely nothing else appeals in the market so we'll go to war with these three.
Webb Simpson - 0.75pt e/w @ 66/1Lost 1.5pt