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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Barclays

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

The Barclays, played this year at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., begins the four-tournament FedEx Cup Playoffs with $35 million in bonus money up for grabs. The winner gets a cool $10 million (and usually an additional $1.4 million that goes with winning the Tour Championship). But arguably the bigger storyline is that only the Top 100 in FedEx Cup points move on to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston, so a lot of focus will be on the bubble boys this week.

History Lesson

The Barclays uses a multi-course rotation, and this year finds itself back at Liberty National, which first played host to the event in 2009. Heath Slocum won that week, in a one-shot victory over Ernie Els, Padraig Harington, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.

However, this is once again a case where the history lesson may not be useful, as only Els and Woods are in the field this week. Slocum and Harrington failed to qualify, and Stricker chose to skip the event as a part of his new semi-retirement schedule.

The course, which received mixed reviews in its first airing, has undergone some changes, so trying to make direct correlations from four years ago to now may not be the best bet. Then again, if you're looking to make a fantasy pick in a non-major, Woods is the pick every week, right?

Driving Accuracy

One thing that has not changed about Liberty National is that the course features narrow fairways. Here are the top-five players in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour, which coincidentally includes several bubble boys who could make strong fantasy sleeper picks:

Mark Wilson -
Wilson enters the Barclays 102nd in the FedEx Cup standings. He's hit 70.86 percent of fairways in 54 rounds on the PGA Tour this season.

Jerry Kelly -
Kelly always seems to be in the fairway and toward the top of this statistic, and this season has been no different. He's hit 70.80 percent of fairways, ranking second overall, and looks to improve his 79th position in the FedEx Cup this week.

Tim Clark -
In the news more this year for his use of the anchored putting method than anything else, Clark has had a great ball-striking season, hitting the short grass 70.35 percent of the time. He's not a bubble boy, ranking 56th.

Chez Reavie -
Reavie is another bubble boy, entering this week 112th in the standings. Something to watch with Reavie: his putting. He's 115th in strokes gained-putting. You can drive the ball as straight as you want, but if you don't putt well, you won't climb leaderboards.

Justin Hicks -
Hicks, a Reshuffle List player, has had a solid year, with one top-10 and five top-25 finishes in 24 starts. He's yet another bubble boy, starting the Playoffs 109th. He's fifth in the accuracy standings, hitting fairways 69.87 percent of the time.

All-Around Ranking

As the name suggests, the all-around ranking is a list of players who have all facets of their games on form. Here are the top players from that category playing this week:

Tiger Woods -
Second in strokes gained-putting, third in eagles, fifth in birdies, first in scoring average, 22nd in sand save percentage, 27th in total driving, 14th in proximity to the hole, first in the all-around ranking, first on the money list and five wins. Nice stat line, huh?

Jordan Spieth -
Spieth's unbelievable 2013 continued last week with a playoff loss in the Wyndham to Patrick Reed (oops, guess my predictions was a little off). Second in the all-around ranking, Spieth is third on the PGA Tour this season in putting from 21-25 feet. The length of the par putt on the first playoff hole that he needed to keep his hopes alive last Sunday? 26 feet.

Keegan Bradley -
Bradley's third in the all-around ranking entering the playoffs and is probably a good pick for next week as he'll be playing in front of his hometown fans. He's also sneaky long: averaging 302 yards off the tee this year, putting him seventh overall.

Charley Hoffman -
Hoffman is probably not a name you'd expect to see here (he enters the playoffs 48th in the FedEx Cup point standings), but he has five top-10 finishes, has made nearly $1.5 million and is 25th in scoring average at 70.61.

Brandt Snedeker -
Snedeker fell one spot this week from fourth to fifth in the category. Considering that making a lot of birdies and timely par putts are the name of the game for moving up in the points standings, I like Snedeker and his fifth-place position in the strokes-gained putting stat.