Battle lines drawn at historic Plainfield

In 1777, the Battle of Short Hills in the U.

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S. Revolutionary War was fought on the site of the current golf course and was the first battle after the United States adopted the Stars and Stripes as its official flag.

Leading the charge into the playoffs is world number one Jordan Spieth, a 22-year-old who has vaulted to the front of the youth revolution in golf with victories this year at the Masters and U.S. Open and a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship.

Second on the FedExCup points list is PGA Championship winner Jason Day of Australia, 27, with two-times Masters champion Bubba Watson third in the standings.

That illustrious trio will play together in the first two rounds, starting on Thursday morning from the 10th tee, and Friday afternoon from the first.

The top 125 in points qualified for The Barclays, but only 120 will be teeing it up this week on the relatively short, 7,012-yard Donald Ross designed layout.

Among the absentees are world number two Rory McIlroy, 26, and number 10 Sergio Garcia.

Northern Irishman McIlroy, who made a quick return from an ankle injury to play in this month’s PGA Championship, is skipping The Barclays before he is expected to join the series next week in Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The playoff fields are winnowed down from week to week.

The top 100 on the points list after The Barclays qualify for Boston. The best 70 following the Deutsche Bank advance to the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois.

A MATHEMATICAL OPPORTUNITY

Thirty players qualify for the concluding Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta where a points reset will give all those players left in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup.

However, the top five there control their own destiny and anyone from that quintet would claim the jackpot with an East Lake victory.

Spieth could win the first three events of the series and still not claim the FedExCup title and jackpot.

“It’s a little odd that it just completely resets, because if you want it to be the true champion of the year, it wouldn’t necessarily reset for the final,” Spieth said on Tuesday.

The reset ensures jackpot drama in Atlanta, and Spieth wants to be in the plot.

“I would certainly set it as something I want to achieve more so than just any regular event, definitely.”

Each of the individual events in the playoffs is worth over $1.4 million to the winner.

Plainfield, whose deep rough demands accuracy off the tee, hosted the Barclays in 2011 when Dustin Johnson won after a shortened 54 holes due to the threat of Hurricane Irene.

The course has also hosted the 1978 U.S. Amateur won by John Cook, and the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open claimed by Hall of Famer Laura Davies of England.

The Barclays will be adding a new venue to its rotation of courses in the greater metropolitan New York/New Jersey area when Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, N.Y., on Long Island, hosts the 2017 event.

Next year, the event will be played on the Black Course at Bethpage.

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)