Golf Claps & Silent Treatment: The Barclays
That gust you heard wasn’t Hurricane Irene, but a sigh of relief coming from the PGA Tour officials who decided Saturday was a suitable day to conclude The Barclays.
Yes, with all of New Jersey under a state of emergency and nearby New York shutting down its mass transit system in advance of the cyclone, the show went on at Plainfield CC in Edison, N.J. Fortunately, they managed to finish the FedEx Cup’s first 2011 event early Saturday afternoon and get everyone off the course safe and sound.
Dustin Johnson weathered the storm better than anyone. The lanky, athletic wonder swamped 36-hole leader Matt Kuchar with a final-round 65, vaulting into the top spot in the Cup standings with three tourneys to go.
The next sound you hear will be our polite acknowledgement of the weekend’s winners.
- Dustin Johnson: Hurricane, schmurricane. Johnson rained on Kuchar’s parade with a front-nine 29 (6-under), then cruised home with nine straight pars as Kuchar crumbled. The win was Johnson’s first this season and fifth of his career. It put him not only in command of the FedEx Cup race, but in contention for the subjective title of Best American Golfer.
- Vijay Singh: Thought ol’ Veej was done for, didn’t you? Hardly. By tying for third, Singh jumped from 36th to eighth in the Cup standings, giving him a chance to take the whole shooting match for the second time. While he hasn’t won in three years, Singh, now 48, is feeling fine thanks to a recent injection in his ailing back. Watch out for him at this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, which he won in 2008.
- Ian Poulter (pictured): Staring at FedEx Cup elimination, the colorful Englishmen needed a furious finish to keep his season alive. Four birdies in the last five holes and a closing 64 did the trick, pushing Poulter from 114th all the way to 78th.
- Ernie Els: Likewise, Els fired a final-round 67 to sneak into the top Cup’s 100 – 99th to be exact – and qualify for the Deutsche Bank. Things don’t come as easy for big Ernie as they once did, but at least he’s showing signs of life.
- Tour planners: OK, so all’s well that ends well. But it seemed odd, almost arrogant, to be playing a golf tournament amidst the chaos Irene brought to the Northeast. While families sought shelter and supplies in preparation for the worst – which thankfully didn’t materialize – pro golfers whistled while they, um, worked. Weird.
- The eight who dropped out: Say goodbye to Bryce Molder, Hunter Haas, Chris DiMarco, Paul Goydos, Nick O’Hern, Matt Bettencourt, Tim Herron and Michael Bradley. They slipped from the top 100 in the Cup standings and failed to qualify for the remaining events. But hey, that means plenty of free time to watch football!