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>>McIlroy To Skip First Playoff Event

Pretty much every big name in golf will be at The Barclays this week in New Jersey as the first of four FedEx Cup Playoff events gets underway.

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are the two biggest names not in attendance.

So why are they skipping an event that will help them eventually win the $10 million prize at the end of the playoff run? Jordan Spieth laid out the logic on Tuesday.

“It's pretty much, did you win East Lake?” Spieth said about how to win the FedEx Cup Playoffs. “For the most part, if you win East Lake, the guys that have won have been, I think Bill [Haas] came from way behind, but the guys have been up there because they played well leading into the Tour Championship.”

 width="East Lake" is the Tour Championship which is the last event of the playoffs. Why have so many Tour Championship winners also won the playoffs? Well, the points reset after the BMW Championship and before the Tour Championship to bunch golfers together and add drama. Spieth's 2,000-point lead on Jason Day will be erased, basically.

The whole thing is complicated, but the idea is pretty simple. Last year, Dustin Johnson made it all the way to the Tour Championship even though he didn't play any of the first three events of the playoffs. Why would McIlroy (ranked 9th in points right now) not skip the first event (or the first two) to stay fresh mentally?

The PGA Tour did throw in a bye week between the first two and last two events of the playoffs which is a good thing. McIlroy knows, though, that East Lake is really all that matters when it comes to winning that $10 million prize and giving the golf world something to think about going into 2015.

>>Jason Day Withdraws From Barclays With Back Injury

Jason Day has been bothered by a number of different ailments over the past few years, and that side of his professional game reared its ugly head again on Wednesday at The Barclays.

Day withdrew from the Wednesday pro-am at The Barclays after tweaking his back while rummaging around the bottom of his RV. Here's what the AP said.

Day was moving an item under his motor coach Tuesday night when he tweaked his back. His trainer says Day withdrew from the Wednesday pro-am at Plainfield Country Club because of a long-standing disk issue. The Australian wanted a day of rest so that he could play in the tournament.
So that's not great. It might also be nothing.

Either way, the battle Day faces for the rest of his career will not be one of yipped putts and a wayward driver. It will be with keeping his body healthy enough to play alongside the best players in the world.

Still, Day is fired up about the playoffs.

"If I could snag the FedExCup trophy to go with my PGA Championship victory I could go very close to being named Player of the Year, I know it's going to be tough to unseat Jordan because he's played such amazing golf this year but then if I were to capture the FedExCup, it puts my name in the mix for that award, and gives our peers voting on the award someone else's name to think about."

>>Spieth Ready To Defend #1 Ranking

The shine on Jordan Spieth's historic run at the 2015 majors is barely a week old, and he's already talking about playing a metaphorical king of the golf hill. Such is life as the No. 1 golfer on the planet.

Spieth spoke with the Dallas Morning News recently about what he expected with his new No. 1 ranking.

“I realize that although we have just reached that goal of being No. 1 in the world, with the way these young guys are playing and the way you see it being played on the biggest stage, it's going to be really, really hard to keep that position,” Spieth said.

“But it's a ranking system and it changes week to week. It's an honor right now to be in this position, but if I'm not careful, two Mondays from now, I'm not in the same position. I'd like to obviously hold it.”

He's right. The margin between Spieth and No. 2 Rory McIlroy is so thin, McIlroy could easily take it back during the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs.

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