The Barclays 2012: 4 Golfers to Watch at Bethpage Black

Daniel ZhuContributor IAugust 20, 2012

The Barclays 2012: 4 Golfers to Watch at Bethpage Black

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    It's official folks, the FedEx Cup Playoffs have finally arrived, and the top 125 players in the standings will be competing for all the glory, prestige and, of course, the $10 million dollars.

    The top players in the world, headlined by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, will compete in the first event of the playoffs this week, the Barclays.

    These upcoming four weeks will be one of the most compelling, as the top players in the world each try and grab a share of the prize.

    So, without further ado, let's take a look at a few golfers who will shine at this week's Barclays.

Steve Stricker

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    They call Steve Stricker "Mr. September" for a reason. He earned that title because of his consistent and superior play during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which occur in late August and September of every season.

    Since the start of the playoffs in 2007, Stricker has picked up a couple of wins in the playoff events, including a victory at the Barclays. Of course, Mr. September has had many top-10 finishes as well, but he has never walked away with the FedEx Cup trophy.

    Stricker is currently 10th in the points standings, and with four weeks left to go, it's certainly anyone's ball game. However, if Stricker can live up to his reputation, he may be the champion when all the dust settles down at the end of the playoffs.

Rory McIlroy

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    After winning the PGA Championship by a record breaking eight shots just a few weeks ago, there is no doubt that Rory McIlroy is the overwhelming favorite heading into the Barclays.

    He's currently second on the points list, trailing Tiger Woods by only a few hundred points. Then again, a few hundred points is a small deficient to overcome for a player like McIlroy.

    If McIlroy can play as well as he did at the PGA, then it's safe to say that he will leave everyone in the dust en route to being crowned champion of the FedEx Cup.

    His ball striking is solid and his putting is as good as it's ever been. With those weapons in McIlroy's arsenal, along with his confidence, he most likely won't be stopped.

Tiger Woods

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    You can't count Tiger Woods out of any tournament, and definitely not the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

    Woods has won the FedEx Cup twice since the playoffs began back in 2007. He's been out of contention the past two years due to swing changes and his personal issues, but it's safe to say that Tiger is back in 2012.

    He's got three wins under his belt this year and is currently first in the points standings.

    If you take a look at Woods' track record at the FedEx Cup, he's won a few times, and has never finished outside the top 20 in any of the four events that make up the playoffs.

    Given his history, and his current game, Tiger can still pull off a third FedEx Cup victory this year. It's totally possible, but as usual, it will depend on Woods' putter and whether or not he can keep the momentum going.

Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley has had a spectacular season so far.

    He won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, and has 12 top-25 finishes so far in 2012. He wasn't able to defend his title at the PGA Championship, but a solid tied for third finish should bode well for his confidence heading into the playoffs.

    His clutch putting is the key to his game, and Bradley can wield the belly putter as well as anyone. His ability to make clutch putts at the right time makes him a true champion.

    If Bradley gets hot with the putter, the rest of the field better watch out.