Rory McIlroy finds himself five strokes off the lead when the 2014 Barclays Championship gets underway this afternoon at the Ridgewood Country Club, and not in the prime position to win his fourth consecutive tournament. With the leaders at nine under par for the week in the first FedEx Cup playoff tournament, the current FedEx Cup points leader will need a great finish on Sunday if he wants to remain at the top. Adam Scott won this event from six shots back in 2013.
The 25 year-old world’s number one player has had a great run, winning two majors since July, and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, but has had trouble with the putter this week in New Jersey.
The fact of the matter is, many of the top players in the world have struggled on the small bumpy greens, not just Rory McIlroy.
With humid, wet conditions around the golf course, players are throwing darts into these greens, and finding birdies are tough to come by.
The 100 year-old A.W. Tillinghast design is not long, or tough tee to green, but the legendary designer has protected this course with greens that are impossible to putt.
The warm, humid conditions are forecasted to continue on Sunday afternoon, but the wind, which has for the most part, been calm, is expected to reach 8 MPH, and add some excitement to the final round.
Players who are four to five strokes back, have to be hoping the wind will blow, and make the leaderboard easier to climb.
Although his exceptional distance off of the tee is a decided advantage for Rory McIlroy, he will need to make some putts if he wants to be a contender at day’s end. The young Northern Irishman can putt with the best when he gets it going, and he will need to get it going today.
I suspected that after winning the last three tournaments he has played in, McIlroy might have a bit of a letdown this week, and although he was able to fire a six under 65 on Friday to get inside of the cut line, he may be running out of energy, and momentum.
I still have Rory McIlroy at the top of my list to win the FedEx Cup, and avenge his 2012 disappointment, but he will need to find a way to maintain the energy to get it done.
As an American Ryder Cup fan, we can always hope the best player on tour right now, runs out of gas winning the FedEx Cup, and his tank is empty when he goes to Gleneagles!