The 2012 PGA Playoffs for the FedEx Cup begin August 23-26, with the playing of The Barclays, at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. There are three professionals in the field who previously posted top 10 finishes at Bethpage, in both the 2002 and 2009 US Open Championships. All three have won during the 2012 PGA season and are currently in the top 20 in the world golf rankings. They may have an advantage.
Tiger Woods: From Abu Dhabi in January, to Kiawah in August, it's no surprise that Woods has been the most discussed player on the PGA Tour in 2012. What may be surprising is that he has also been the most successful. With three wins, plus a second and third place finish, Tiger Woods is #1 in FedEx Cup points and ranked #3 in the official world golf rankings (OWGR).
Previously at Bethpage Black, Tiger took the first round lead with a 67 in the 2002 US Open and never looked back, winning the championship by three shots. In the 2009 Open, he was the only player to post three scores in the 60's and finished in a tie for sixth place, four shots behind Lucas Glover.
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson claimed his 40th career victory on the PGA Tour at Pebble Beach in February and backed that up with a second place finish a week later, losing a playoff to Bill Haas at the Northern Trust Open. Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, his play on the courses has been up and down, to put it mildly. Nevertheless, he comes to The Barclays #14 in FedEx points and OWGR #20.
Phil Mickelson finished at even par 280 in the 2002 US Open at Bethpage, three shots behind Woods in solo second place. In 2009 he improved to a two-under par 278, two shots ahead of Woods, but was again a runner-up (for the fifth time in a US Open). Mickelson and Woods are the only players to be under par overall for both the 2002 and 2009 US Open Championships, played at Bethpage.
Sergio Garcia: Entering the 2012 season, Garcia had not won a PGA Tour event since 2008. Today, August 20th, he changed that with victory in the Wyndham Championship. Today's win also earns Sergio a spot on the 2012 Ryder Cup team, where he has long been an inspirational leader. He comes to The Barclays fresh off his victory, 33rd in the FedEx points and OWGR #17.
At the 2002 US Open Sergio opened with a 68, one shot behind Woods, and posted a 67 in the third round. Unfortunately a pair of 74's on Thursday and Sunday left him alone in fourth place. He played more consistently in the 2009 Open, with three 70's and a 72, finishing in a tie for tenth place. Garcia's two-over par total of 282, in the 2009 Open, matched the performance of Rory McIlroy, who comes to The Barclays ranked OWGR #1.
Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Nicklaus the greatest golfer of all time.
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