The Loop

Five things to watch this weekend at The Barclays

August 29, 2015

No Jordan Spieth. No Rory McIlory. No Tiger Woods. No problem.

Despite the absence of golf's biggest names, there are plenty of interesting storylines this weekend at the Barclays:

Tony Finau takes center stage

The 25-year-old rookie garnered eyes at the PGA Championship, but, due to the pursuits of Spieth and Jason Day, he was more of a secondary storyline at Whistling Straits. However, entering Saturday one-shot back of leader Bubba Watson, Finau will see plenty of air time this weekend, and we can think of no better protagonist. Not only does he have an incredible backstory, but the man does things to the golf ball that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, averaging over 308 yards off the tee this year.

With such distance and finesse around the greens, don't be surprised if Finau grabs his first tour victory at Plainfield Country Club.

Bubba Watson continues his sneakily-quiet great year

Lost in the new "Big 3" discussion has been Watson. Granted, turning 37 in November, Bubba is not considered a young gun at this juncture of his career, and his no-shows at this year's majors -- he missed the cut at the U.S. and British Opens, and failed to crack the top 20 at the Masters and PGA Championship -- haven't help his cause.

Nevertheless, he IS the No. 4 ranked player in the world, with two victories on the campaign along with three silver medals. He's a divisive character, but there's no doubting Watson's more than a long hitter with an eccentric personality. Simply put, he's one of the game's best.

How many Statue of Liberty TV shots for the weekend?

More than any other destination, broadcasters love the New York area. Specifically, the Statue of Liberty. I know, it's a beacon of freedom, it's a breath-taking landscape, which, I guess, adds to the event's gravitas...but we get it, it's close to the Big Apple.

Warning to college kids: Don't play a drinking game that involves taking a shot for every camera view of the Manhattan skyline. You will die.

The Rough

A Donald Ross design from the 1920s, what Plainfield Country Club lacks in distance, it makes up for in its onus on accuracy. Missing the fairways and greens this week is akin to putting it in a hazard. This sentiment is evident on the leader board, with straight drivers like Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner and Sean O'Hair in the mix. The Barclays' winner might not be the one who can make the dazzling play near the finish line; rather, its the one who can avoid the high number.

Man on Fire: Jason Day

Can we order this dude bubble wrap when he's not on the course? The reigning Wanamaker winner had to pull out of the pro-am on Wednesday after injuring his back, and appeared to aggravate the issue early on Thursday. Despite these setbacks, Day is three shots behind Watson going into Saturday. It seems blasphemous to say after Spieth's record-setting campaign, but if Day wins the Barclays, another playoff event and the FedEx Cup, the Australian could find himself as the PGA Tour player of the year.