The Barracuda Championship immediately stands out on the PGA Tour as one of only three officially sanctioned events not contested at 72-hole strokeplay.
Always played as an opposite field event to the WGC held in August (formerly the Bridgestone now the FedEx St Jude), the tournament’s modified stableford scoring system has proved a popular format with players and fans alike.
Unlike familiar club stableford competitions points are both added and subtracted in this format. Players earn eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and zero for par. One point is deducted for a bogey and three points lost for a double bogey.
The format tends to encourage aggressive play as low scoring is rewarded more than high scoring is punished.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Richy Werenski (pictured right) captured his maiden PGA Tour title in spectacular fashion in 2020 with a hole out for eagle on the 70th hole and a final hole birdie to pip Troy Merritt by a single point.
COURSE: Tahoe Mountain Club Old Greenwood course is a Jack Nicklaus signature design which is hosting the tournament for the second time. At more than 1800 metres above sea level, the course plays short for its 6,800 metres and boasts three par-4’s considered driveable for this field.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Barracuda is the penultimate event of the regular season so the stakes are high for those players hovering around the all-important top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Only this event and the Wyndham Championship remain before the playoffs get underway and plenty will be feeling the pressure.
Australia’s own Cameron Percy is among that number at 129th but will fancy his chances of a good showing this week after a T25 result here in 2020.
His recent results have been steady midfield finishes which suggests all areas of the game are decent so some form with the putter in California could lead to a good result.
The man on a mission, though, will be American Troy Merritt who has held the 54-hole lead each of the past two years and come away empty handed both times.
2020 was particularly cruel as he was overtaken late by a stunning hole out at the 16th by eventual winner Richy Werenski.
Adding insult to injury was Merritt’s own play in the final round where he had 10 consecutive birdie opportunities but did not convert a single one.
The course clearly suits Merritt’s eye as he missed the cut in his only two other appearances when the event was played at Montreux Country Club.
The format this week will favour the more naturally aggressive players in the field and
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters fits that mould perfectly. He makes his debut at the event this week and after a T16 finish in Tokyo is showing some decent form.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Geoff Ogilvy (2014); Greg Chalmers (2016)
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Rhein Gibson, Cameron Percy, John Senden
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 12am — 3am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 12am – 3am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 8am – 11am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 8am – 11am)
*AEST, check local guides