The Barclays: Reed has extra incentive to cash in

Patrick Reed wants to be on that US Ryder Cup team
Patrick Reed wants to be on that US Ryder Cup team

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and tips for this week's FedEx Cup opener - The Barclays at Bethpage State Park...

"As if revealing a window to his thoughts, he turned up at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday dressed like an American Ryder Cup player and his focus this week is likely to be intense."

Main Bet: Back Patrick Reed @ 51.050/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places

Main Bet: Back Patrick Reed e/w @ 50/1

Patrick Reed gave the 2014 US Ryder Cup team a much-needed injection of spirit and chutzpah at Gleneagles and there's simply no way the brash American will want to miss out on this year's renewal.

He heads into this week's FedEx Cup opener - The Barclays - as a bubble boy. If the race stopped now, he'd be in; if he misfires at Bethpage Black, he might have to rely on a pick and there are plenty vying for a good news phone call from skipper Davis Love.

For a player who deals in black and white rather than shades of grey, the solution is simple. Go out and win.

It's something Reed hasn't managed this season despite a plethora of strong performances across various time zones from Scotland to Brazil. A T22 in the Wyndham Championship on Sunday arrived courtesy of a 64-69 weekend push and it followed five straight finishes between T10 and T13.

As Reed deals in wins (or at least top fives), those results translate into much banging of fists on head. He's close and he knows it.

So why should we expect anything different in New York this week?

Well, the law of averages suggests it's just a matter of time before he turns a nearly week into a big one and, of course, the pull of the Ryder Cup could just be the difference maker.

Bethpage is a lengthy 7,468-yard par 71 and although we have scant evidence to go on - the 2002 and 2009 US Opens along with this event in 2012 - it's easy to spot plenty of big hitters amongst the respective top 10s.

Reed biffs it just a few yards short of 300 off the tee and that puts him in the top 50 in Driving Distance. He's about much more than that though as shown by his ninth spot in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green.

With over $3.5m in earnings this year (10th on the Money List) and seventh in FedEx Cup season points, he's a big hitter in all senses of the word but still he has work to do to make it to Hazeltine for the Ryder Cup.

Speaking at the Wyndham about what he needs to do to secure his spot, Reed said: "Hopefully play well and get a W so I don't have to worry about it. Really, I'm thinking about it, of course, it's always in the back of the mind. Right now I'm really trying to focus on playing well this week.

"If I play well this week, take care of this week and play well next week, then I don't have to worry about it and hopefully don't have to rely on the pick.

"That's something that I would love to do is go out there and earn my spot because there's nothing like having that satisfaction of getting inside the Top 8 and staying there because that means you played pretty well and I feel like I've played really well all year, I haven't quite capped it off with a win."

As if revealing a window to his thoughts, he turned up at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday dressed like an American Ryder Cup player and his focus this week is likely to be intense.

Having played well (T13 US PGA) on A.W. Tillinghast's Baltusrol, I'm taking Reed to really thrive on another of the great designer's east coast tracks.

Snap up the 50/1.

Next Best: Back Bubba Watson e/w @ 40/1

Bubba Watson has had a rather subdued time of it since underwhelming with T37 at his favourite track, Augusta National.

A couple of T8s - April's Shenzhen International in China and the recent Olympics in Rio - are the best he's managed although he hasn't actually missed a cut since Pebble Beach in February.

It's never that easy to fully fathom out what's going on in Bubba's head but he clearly had fun at the Olympics and that probably stirred up the patriotic feelings that lie close to the surface.

In short, Bubba wants to get back on the American Ryder Cup team and, right now, he's outside the top eight who qualify automatically.

A high finish at Bethpage would put to bed any captain's pick anxiety and the New York course is one where Bubba has had some good moments.

In the rain-hit US Open held there in 2009, he was T18 (eighth after 54 holes) while in the 2012 Barclays (the last time it was used) he carded three 70s and a 71 to post T10.

While the order shuffles at golf's top table (recent major winners Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson throwing their hats into the ring after this seemed set to be the era of Day, Spieth and McIlroy), Bubba has rather taken a back seat.

But only Rory can boast more major wins than the ridiculously talented left-hander and shoving Bubba out to the 40/1 he resides at this week could be really underestimating his chances on this particular course.

A big factor is that Bubba will arrive with his spirits high after competing and finishing T8 in the Olympics.

"This is one of the greatest golf trips I've ever been on," he enthused. "I'm an Olympian. This is the greatest sporting event I've ever been a part of and associated with, and it's a thrill of a lifetime.

"The Masters, I get the Masters for the rest of my life, but it's just golf. There's no other events going on. And so when you talk about a sporting event, this is a dream come true, and to be a part of it, it's the greatest event I've ever been a part of."

This could a good time to catch him and that 40/1 really could look big.

Final bet: Back Brooks Koepka e/w @ 30/1

If Bubba was wowed by being at the Olympics, imagine how Matt Kuchar must have felt after winning a medal (bronze).

A talented sportsman, Kuchar is the man to beat at ping-pong (the preferred name for Americans) when the US team is having some downtime at Ryder Cups and he was just as wide-eyed as Bubba in Rio.

He was close to selection but Bethpage form of 38-MC-MC is just enough to put me off.

As for the market leaders, Jason Day is certainly the deserved favourite at 15/2. He's the World No.1, was runner-up at Tillinghast's Baltusrol on his last start and is the defending champion having taken the title at Donald Ross' Plainfield last year.

I'm not keen on Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth (both niggled by not being at their best) but Dustin Johnson could be a big player at 10/1.

Henrik Stenson is playing some wonderful golf but perhaps losing out on Olympic gold to Justin Rose was just a sign that he's out of gas and could get pipped in a finish again.

I'm also tempted by Tillinghast specialist specialist Phil Mickelson and back-to-form Hideki Matsuyama, both 28/1 shots.

But I'll finish off with a punt on Brooks Koepka at 30/1.

Despite an ankle problem which caused him to miss the Open Championship, he played some sparkling golf in patches to post T4 in the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

A monster hitter with recent form on at a Tillinghast course gives him plenty of points but his appeal grows further when taking a wider look at his recent form which shows 2-2-13-4-9.

That run started in May which shows how light his schedule has been, in part due to his ankle.

But Koepka sees his relative lack of golf as a positive. "I feel really mentally recharged. It's nice to be truly excited to be out here, and every time you're playing a hole, you're excited, you can't wait to go hit the next shot, and that's kind of how it is right now," he said at the Travelers Championship, the week after the US PGA.

As for the Ryder Cup, all that good play has virtually sealed his spot on Love's team but, importantly, he's not quite a lock.

That should give the Californian the extra incentive to seal it in style and the other way of looking at it is that he may just feel a little more relaxed than some of the others who are the wrong side of the line and chasing.

Koepka's recent putting stats are impressive (he's 10th in Strokes Gained: Putting this season) and when you put everything together he's capable of landing the title on his course debut.

There are plenty of others who could play a part in what looks a fascinating week but, at the prices, I like my trio of Reed (50/1), Watson (40/1) and Koepka (30/1).

Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £970
Returned: £726.25
P/L: -£243.75

(After Wyndham Championship)

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