Count Padraig Harrington among the biggest fans of Liberty National, The Barclays' love-it-or-hate-it site nearly at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.
"This is a phenomenal golf course. I think this is good enough for a major. This is a major golf course we are playing here," the Irishman said Friday after following his first-round 67 with a 75 in rainy morning conditions.
"This is a superb test, really puts us right on the limit. This is exactly what we should be playing. This is an excellent golf course. It may look good, but the actual layout of the golf course, it's a real test out there and, at all stages, you've got to pay attention. If you want us to play good golf, if you want to shoot 20 under, yeah, there's other golf courses, but it's like playing a major out there. You've got to pay attention all the time to every shot."
Paul Goydos, two strokes behind leader Webb Simpson, put all the talk about the $250 million layout in perspective.
"I think that if we didn't have anything to complain about, we wouldn't be able to talk," Goydos after rounds of 65 and 71. "I just think that the course is fine. I think obviously it's easy to say that when I'm 6-under par. I'm sure the guys I played with on Tuesday are going, `Listen to him now.'
"But I still think that one of the things that overcomes a lot of things is good conditioning. You can put a mediocre golf course in great shape and then it becomes a great golf course, but you put a great golf course in bad shape it becomes a mediocre golf course. They have done a great job of setting up the course."
Goydos provided a good one-liner, too, noting that the undulating greens "look like my shirts after I've packed them."
VILLEGAS WITHDRAWS: Camilo Villegas withdrew after nine holes because of a wrist injury, the first time he has pulled out of a tournament in his PGA Tour career.
Making his 106th tour start, the Colombian was 7 over for the round and 11 over for the tournament. Last year, he won the final two FedEx Cup events and finished second in the playoff standings. He entered the tournament 35th in the points race.
Villegas felt a twinge Thursday, then again when lifting a weight. But he said it felt fine on the range and during his round, until he found himself in a bad lie next to a stake on the 17th hole _ his eighth of the day.
"The way I was playing, I just took a 5-wood and said, 'I'm going to slap at this as hard as I can,'" Villegas said. "That's when I felt it. I thought the way I was going, it was not worth it to make it worse."
As he cleaned out his locker, Villegas wasn't sure what to do next. He finally got a PGA Tour rules official on the radio to learn the proper procedure.
"I guess there's a first time for everything," he said.
Villegas said he would have the wrist checked out "just to see what's going on."
FEDEX CUT: U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover played his first 11 holes Friday morning with only 13 clubs after cracking his driver on the range Thursday night.
Playoffs sponsor FedEx delivered a replacement Nike driver to Liberty National and Glover finally got the club on the third tee, his 12th hole of the day. He hit a 326-yard drive _ his longest of the day _ and ended up parring the hole.
Glover finished with a 10-over 81 _ the highest score of his PGA Tour career _ and missed the cut with a 14-over total. He shot a 75 on Thursday.
Masters champion Angel Cabrera also missed the cut, shooting 72-80. British Open winner Stewart Cink was even par, and PGA winner Y.E. Yang was 1 over.
ELIMINATED: Mark Calcavecchia and 12 other players who failed to advance to weekend play dropped out of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Calcavecchia followed an opening 69 with a 79 to miss the cut by a stroke, failing to earn any points. He entered The Barclays 111th in the standings, with only the top 100 advancing to the Deutsche Bank Championship next week in Norton, Mass.
Michael Allen (101st), Robert Garrigus (102nd), Aaron Baddeley (103rd), James Driscoll (104th), Jeff Quinney (105th), Tim Herron (106th), Chris DiMarco (113th), David Mathis (118th), Roland Thatcher (122nd) and Jeff Maggert (123rd) also missed the cut. Steve Flesch (114th) was disqualified, while Chris Stroud (117th) withdrew.
With Fredrik Jacobson (107th), Heath Slocum (124th) and Richard S. Johnson (108th) near the top of the leaderboard, and nine other players outside the top 100 still left in the tournament, No. 94 Ben Curtis and others players in the 90s who missed the cut are in danger of dropping out. After the Deutsche Bank, the field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship in Lemont, Ill., and to 30 for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
SLUMPING SINGH: Defending champion Vijay Singh shot 75-75 to miss the cut.
Singh won The Barclays last year at Ridgewood, then took the Deutsche Bank Championship the following week and went on to win the FedEx Cup. The Fijian, 59th in the points race, has won The Barclays a record four times _ three at Westchester Country Club. He's winless this year and has only three top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
EARLY EXITS: Mathew Goggin, Michael Letzig and Chris Stroud withdrew and Steve Flesch was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Goggin was 11 over through eight holes when he pulled out, citing a back injury. The Australian was 18 over overall. He four-putted the par-3 second for a triple bogey, had two double bogeys and four bogeys.
Letzig withdrew with a hole to play because of a wrist injury. He opened with a 69 and was 3 over for the tournament. Stroud left after a first-round 77 to return home to spend time with his pregnant wife. Flesch signed for a birdie instead of a par on No. 6, but it didn't really cost him because he would have missed the cut by a stroke.
DIVOTS: Charles Howell III and Bill Haas were the only players from the morning wave to break par. Both shot 70. ... The 2010 tournament will be played at Ridgewood, followed by a trip to Plainfield Country Club in 2011.
(This version CORRECTS UPDATES 'Divots' section in ultimate graf; corrects sites for 2010 and 2011.)