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FedEx Cup: Rob Lee on Billy Horschel, Nick Watney and Tiger Woods

Rob Lee Posted 20th August 2013 view comments

The FedEx Cup play-offs begin this week and I think people are finally beginning to understand them.

You have three build-up tournaments - this week's Barclays event and then the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship - with the field being cut after each one, and then the 30-man Tour Championship at the end.

Horschel: riding high in the FedEx standings

Horschel: riding high in the FedEx standings

All of the players on the PGA Tour are desperate to get into the Tour Championship as it brings lots of goodies, not least the chance to top the FedEx rankings and scoop $10million, which Brandt Snedeker did last year.

Snedeker and the likes of Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and current FedEx leader Tiger Woods will be looking towards that but for a lot of players this week at Liberty National - a course which has been transformed from a rubbish tip - it will be about securing their spot at the Deutsche Bank.

Horschel is good for TV because he is intense, really fun to watch and often loses his head.

Rob Lee
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Martin Kaymer, Stewart Cink, Ernie Els and plenty more big names are in jeopardy of not making the top 100, but they have enough class to get something going and if stay in the play-offs in New York, they could a hitch a ride on a real gravy train over the next few weeks.

Factor

Up the top of the standings, though, you would expect it to be business as usual for Woods and for him to duff everyone up on the PGA tour following another Major headache at the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.

Kuchar sits second in the FedEx standings and having won at the Barclays in 2010, albeit it at Ridgewood Country Club as opposed to Liberty, will fancy his chances of doing so again, and Billy Horschel could be a factor, too.

Horschel is sixth in the FedEx because of his very good early-to-middle part of the season when he had lots of top-four finishes, as well as a victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he beat D.A. Points by a stroke.

He is a good young player and good for TV because he is intense, really fun to watch and often loses his head, and while his form has tailed off a little bit, he did play well at the US Open, where he tied for fourth with Els, Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan.

Nick Watney heads into the Barclays as defending champion but has been poor this year and is currently 63rd in the FedEx and 33rd in the world rankings after claiming just one top-five finish, at the Farmers Insurance Open back in January.

He switched from Titleist to Nike clubs and while that could be a reason for his malaise, it could just cloud the fact that he hasn't played very well and hasn't used his gifts, such as his ball striking, as well as he might have done.

Hilly

I did not give Europe much of a shot at retaining the Solheim Cup in America but they were absolutely sensational en route to an 18-10 win, and while 17-year-old Charley Hull was amazing, Caroline Hedwall was even better.

She played five rounds on a hellish, hilly course at a mile's altitude in 90 degree heat to become the first woman to go 5-0 in Solheim Cup history; the Swede was a hero as Europe won the 2011 event at Killeen Castle, earning a vital half point in the Sunday singles, and came up trumps again.

The Solheim Cup sets us up nicely for next year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, a venue that Richard Boxall and I are currently at as we prepare to cover this week's Johnnie Walker Championship for Sky Sports.

I will be intrigued to see what changes are being made to the course - ones that supposedly will make things more sporty for matchplay - and to feel the buzz around the place with just 12 months to go until the big event.

Edoardo Molinari won the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles to qualify for the Ryder Cup in 2010 and I am going to back his brother, Francesco, to end this week with the title - though Mr Boxall is going for Stephen Gallacher.

Over at the Barclays, meanwhile, I will tip Henrik Stenson.

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