Before I began this piece, I knew next to nothing about Ridgefield CC, however I knew I’d love it simply because its not Liberty National. The Barclays emerged from the old Buick Classic up at Westchester CC, regrettably moving on from the quirkily refreshing Westchester CC up in Rye for what looks to be a four-course rotation between Bethpage, Liberty Landfill, Plainfield, and Ridgewood. Here’s a scintillating, sordid run-down on the acrimonious split with Westchester CC in the lead-up to the current Barclays rota from a few years back, with an impressive job from Sam Weinman nabbing the juicy deets (the bit about Badds getting bounced from the fitness facility by an old curmudgeon is gold).
Ridgewood Country Club
The tenor on twitter seems to be that Ridgewood is playing firm and fast with long rough. It’s a par 71, A.W. Tillinghast design, which means it’s got clean lines and great bones. The TOUR website has a superb course tour this week, and based on the pics, the foliage is prime and the place looks pure. Also, here’s a piece from the lead-up to the first time Ridgewood played host in ’08 from the New York Times extolling the quality of the course and it’s environs.
Let’s turn to Neil, who’s spent some time in and around Bergen County, for a run-down on Paramus, the Jersey ‘burbs at large, and the characters who stand at the ready to color the telecast: Don’t expect an all out Jersey Shore gang roaming the grounds this week even if Paramus is the mecca of the shopping malls (due to lax sales tax on clothing and shoes). North Jersey grows classier with every western stop on the train coming out of NYC but without the hoity-toity vibe you find in Connecticut and Westchester suburbs. Grimy Jersey turnpike’s splice through spacious estates atop rolling hills and horse country the farther northwest you go.
Now, we certainly will see plenty of “Muscles Marinara” roaming the galleries in a tight polo, plaid cargo shorts, and Rutgers visor (tilted slightly of course). What will be interesting is whether these Guidos and their musky vibe will outnumber the Wall Street cogs in Wayfairers flooding out of NYC on NJ transit. The cogs will be busy pretending to talk knowledgeably about golf and checking their Blackberry’s. If you happen to be in the gallery, expect to hear ridiculous statements like, “Yeah dude, Lefty is having one of the best all around seasons of his career”…”I can’t wait to see Bubba”…or, “Dude, Sneds is one of the best ball-strikers on tour.” These are the same schwaldos that will run the economy into the ground in about 15 years (also note: the term Schwaldo was born in Bergen County…).
While Adam Scott took the title last year at Liberty, it’s probably more instructive to take a look at the leaderboard from ’10, the last time this Ridgewood hosted the event. Matt Kuchar outlasted Martin Laird in a playoff. Most of the big names were very involved in the proceedings. In the course’s debut in ’08, ‘Garty’ Vijay captured the title in a playoff over Sergio and last week’s newsmaker, Mr. 59 Kevin Sutherland.
(all lines courtesy Ladbrokes.com, the Official Bookmaker of NoLayingUp.com)
Yeah, it’s chalky out there this week. Scroll down the leaderboard from 2008 and 2010 and marvel at the number of big names who showed well. For that reason, it’s super chalky this week. Rory(4/1), Serg (20/1), Rickie (20/1), Scott (14/1), and Rose (14/1) are all good picks this week. The odds are NOT favorable. It really comes down to personal preference and hunches. I don’t have a strong enough hunch to justify laying those odds, so I’ll probably be on the sidelines aside from some of the value below.
Honorable Mentions & Fantasy Fodder
Lets head back to Paul Casey (66/1) once more, as he’s finished among the top 12 both times out here and his form is savory. Furyk piques my interest as this seems like a course he’d thrive on. As does Ryan Moore (66/1). The odds that really stand out for me are Spieth at 40/1. His form’s been crappy of late and this is his first look at the course, but it’s a track that should fit his consistency in all phases of the game. Ryan Palmer (80/1), Chris Kirk (100/1), Bo Van Pelt (200/1 and really showing signs of life), all appeal to me at those odds.
The First Cut
- Speaking of Westchester CC, it made the headlines last week with the LPGA’s Rochester event moving downstate. Here’s the New York Times with an illuminating piece detailing the loss of this tournament for the Rochester Area. Unlikely as it is (esp with the Seniors playing an upcoming major there and the women coming in annually), I’m rooting for the men to return to at some point in the Barclay’s rotation. There’s simply not enough courses on the schedule that favor the tacticians and reward precision and accuracy above distance. It’s no surprise that Vijay, Ernie, Serg, Jack, and Seve were all multiple winners there – showing how well-rounded their games were. And it always irked me that BigCat was openly disdainful of the layout despite his Buick sponsorship, to the point where he skipped the FedEx Playoff opener one year. While I understand the place didn’t suit his game, BigCat could’ve challenged himself and rounded out his game by making a concerted effort to succeed at courses like Harbour Town and Westchester CC.
- Shameless Plug: we opened up our Pro Shop this week selling NLU T-shirts. grab one while you can!
- Marc Warren cruised to victory in Denmark last week. This week the Euro circuit heads to Prague for the first time in three years, which is a sweet spot for a tourney and a good pivot for the Euro Tour to Central Europe. As I was scrolling down thru the list of entries one name stood out: former World No. 1 tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Alex Myers over at GolfDigest did a quick-hitter on him last month. His scoring average of nearly 83 this year does not bode well for his chances this week, especially with the Euro’s gunning for Ryder Cup spots in the last week of automatic qualifying. You’d think Russia would have at least one or two golf prodigies coming up through the ranks. With all that oil money at their disposal and so many tennis prodigies, one would think golf would be the next frontier for Mother Russia.
- The Web.Com playoffs start next week and I’m psyched (seriously). The juxtaposition of guys trying to stave off a wasted season on the PGA Tour vs. the Web.comers trying to claw their way to “The Show” captures what golf is all about. They’re back on the best coast this week in Portland, playing at Pumpkin Ridge, site of BigCat’s ’96 US Amateur victory. Should be a good event, with guys fighting to get into the Web.Com playoffs.
- Was scrolling through Sergio’s OWGR page and noticed he’s only played ten events since the start of The Masters, four of which were majors. He rose briefly to #3 in the world prior to the PGA, and is playing at a level where we don’t need the likes of Skip Bayless to tell us whether he’s “Elite” or not. If this is what “competitive starvation” looks like then I’m all for it:
- Lastly, I quite enjoyed Gary Van Sickle’s mailbag this week. Guy’s a pro.
In the meantime, catch us on twitter for running commentary all weekend and toss us some of your own pithy observations @NoLayingUp.