Since Tiger Woods won the first FedExCup in 2007, the PGA playoff system has grown in stature and popularity, particularly among golfers drooling at the thought of the accompanying $10 million paycheck for the winner and $25 million remaining pot to be split up among the remaining 149 top point earners.
The FedExCup playoffs begin this week at The Barclays, which will be played at The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York. Three more rounds of playoffs will follow, culminating September 23 at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia, where the top 30 points leaders will compete for the title and paycheck.
The Barclays tournament began in 1967 as the Westchester Classic, and in 2007 was renamed The Barclays and was designated as the first event in the FedExCup playoffs. Beginning in 2008, the tournament departed from its permanent home at the Westchester Country Club and began a rotation through the best courses in the New York City area.
This year's Barclays is the first that will be played at Bethpage Black, home of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. Bethpage is one of the very best public golf courses in the country and also one of the most difficult.
Dustin Johnson, the winner of last year's Barclays, will attempt to become the first repeat victor of the tournament since Ernie Els claimed consecutive titles in 1996 and 1997. Johnson is currently in 26th place in FedEx points, and a strong finish would help him climb into contention of winning. Though four of the five winners of the FedExCup entered the playoffs in the top 10, last year's winner, Bill Haas, was 15th in points before a strong run, including a win at the Tour Championship, pushed him into first place.
Johnson's toughest competition will likely come from Tiger Woods. Woods has won two FedExCups, finished on top of the leaderboard at the 2002 U.S. open at Bethpage Black, and is currently 159 Cup points ahead of Jason Dufner, who is in second place. Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson finish out the top five, and each has a strong chance of winning both this weekend's tournament and the FedExCup.
The Golf Channel will provide exclusive television coverage of much of the first two rounds of the 2012 Barclays. Coverage begins on both Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24 at 2 p.m. EDT and continues until 6 p.m. EST.
On Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26, coverage will be split between the Golf Channel and CBS. On Saturday, the Golf Channel will cover the tournament between 1-2:30 p.m., with CBS broadcasting from Farmingdale between 3-6 p.m. On Sunday, the Golf Channel will broadcast play from Noon-1:30 p.m., and CBS will take over from 2 p.m. until the end of the tournament, which is expected at 6 p.m.
Live streaming of the Barclays will be available at PGATour.com on each of the four days of the tournament, with streaming beginning at 11 a.m. EDT and continuing until 6 p.m. EDT.
Satellite radio listeners will be able to listen to every round on Sirius XM-Radio, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on each day. Sirius will broadcast the tournament on Channel 208, and XM will offer coverage on Channel 93.
The FedExCup is an exciting series of events to fill the old doldrums between the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, and with some of golf's very best near the top of the FedEx points and the opening round being held at one of the sport's finest courses, this year's playoffs promise to be well worth watching.