Power Rankings: Barracuda Championship


OTHERS TO CONSIDER

• Michael Gligic… The Canadian is in his third year on the PGA TOUR, but he hadn’t connected top 25s until a T10 at the John Deere Classic and a T21 at the Barbasol Championship. Of his other seven career top 25s, another (T25) occurred at Old Greenwood in 2020. Since the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April, he’s 7-for-8 with yet another top 25 at the Mexico Open at Vidanta (T24) .

• Taylor Moore… Unlike his fellow rookie, Taylor Pendrith (above), Moore didn’t qualify for the special exemption into the 2021 Barracuda, but he’s a lock to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. Currently 94th in points with the recent contributions of top 25s at TPC Deere Run and Keene Trace.

• Chris Naegel… The 39-year-old veteran of 73 Korn Ferry Tour starts is on a bit of a heater. After qualifying for the US Open where he made the cut and finished T56, he open-qualified for the John Deere Classic where he sat T6 after three rounds and finished T16. At it again at the Barracuda Championship where he open-qualified on Monday.

• Joe Highsmith… When school is out, some find jobs right away, while others need a minute to review the landscape. The 22-year-old from Pepperdine hasn’t beented any time getting to work. After finishing 10th in the Velocity Global Ranking, he’s gone ahead and placed a respective T2 and T4 in his pair of starts on PGA TOUR Canada. He missed the cut at the 2021 US Open, so this marks his professional debut on the PGA TOUR.

Cue the GIF of Alan from “The Hangover” cracking the code on blackjack. OK, so algorithms and Greek letters aren’t required to play golf no matter the format, but real-time calculations are necessary to navigate Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood Course.

First, for a few in the expanded field of 156 (up from 132 due to the Strategic Alliance; just like last week’s Barbasol Championship, room was made for up to 50 DP World Tour members), conversions from yards to meters, or vice versa depending on preference, will occur. Then, because the property sits 6,000 feet above sea level, an adjustment to altitude is required. Toss in the nuance of feeling the undulations of the Poa-bentgrass greens running 11½ feet on the Jack Nicklaus Signature design, and it’s a lot before the competitors even pencil down a score.

Ah, yes, the scoring.

Modified Stableford scoring measures performance at the Barracuda. It has in every edition since 2012, but the DP World Tour hasn’t hosted an event that uses it in almost 20 years.

This is Old Greenwood’s third turn as host. The last two editions have yielded the endpoints in overall scoring – 39 points in 2020; 50 points in 2021 – so a reasonable daily target to be in a position to prevail would be an average of 11 points per day. That’s six birdies and a bogey, or an eagle and three birdies, and so on.

Old Greenwood is a par 71 with three par 5s. Predictably, the most effective moves can be made on Nos. 2, 6 and 12, but the closing third of the course is no bargain. Historical scoring is crude because no worse than double bogeys are possible in Modified Stableford, but the par-35 inward side averages over par, while the opening par 36 is considerably easier. So, grit will be an ingredient to grind down the stretch.

The course tips at 7,480 yards. It reflects an increase of 55 yards, entirely at the par-4 10th hole that now measure, gulp, 540 yards. Among all par 4s on the PGA TOUR, it’s second-longest to the 550-yard 17th at Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course, which is much closer to sea level but also navigated in mountainous terrain. No. 13 at Old Greenwood also is no slouch as a par 4 that can reach 522 yards. Primary rough is trimmed to 2½ inches, up a half-inch from last year.

Familiarly warm and dry weather will dominate throughout. Although daytime temperatures will climb into the mid-80s, it’s been much hotter most years. The constant is the wind. Sustained breezes of 10-20 mph from the prevailing south will allow Old Greenwood to challenge as designed.

Just like last week, non-members of the PGA TOUR who finish inside the top 10 will not be eligible for the top-10 exemption into next week’s 3M Open. (For the record, all DP World Tour members who finished inside the top 10 at the Barbasol Championship were already committed to Barracuda, so the same restriction was moot for this week.) If the winner of the Barracuda is a DP World Tour member, his home-circuit membership exemption will extend the customary two seasons, but his option for PGA TOUR membership will be allowed to extend only through 2022-23.


ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE

PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.

WORLD: Power Rankings (The Open Championship)
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (Barracuda Championship), Sleepers (The Open Championship), Draws & Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ‘Em Preview
SUNDAY
: Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Rookie Ranking

* – Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

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