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EDISON, N.J. – By the end of the week, Jordan Spieth might be No. 1 in just one major category — the PGA Tour money list. He has earned just under $10.4 million this year, so missing the cut at The Barclays is not likely to keep him up at night.
Rory McIlroy will get back to No. 1 in the world ranking after Spieth replaced him two weeks ago. And McIlroy wasn't even playing this week.
Bubba Watson and Jason Day are the only two players who can top Spieth at No. 1 in the FedEx Cup, and only if they win the opening FedEx Cup playoff event at Plainfield Country Club. Watson shot a 2-under 68 on Friday and took a one-shot lead going into the weekend. Day shot a 68 and was three shots behind.
Spieth was the big news after two rounds at The Barclays, mainly because he won't get to play two more rounds. It was the third time this year he has missed the cut, so that's not unusual. But with rounds of 74-73, it was the first time since the Tour Championship last year that he had consecutive rounds over par, and the first time since March 2014 that he started any tournament with two rounds over par.
"Yeah, tough week," he said. "I'm definitely search for answers. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do from here as far as how I get prepared for next week, but I have some time to figure it out. We don't start until Friday."
In the meantime, there's a tournament to be won at Plainfield. And through two days, it's wide open. Justin Thomas might have said it best after he signed for a 69 and was seven shots out of the lead.
"This is a course where if you make the cut, you have a chance to win," Thomas said.
RANKING: If it's any consolation to Spieth, the first time McIlroy reached No. 1 in the world he only kept it for two weeks. That was in March 2012, and he got it back a month later. McIlroy then swapped the No. 1 spot with Luke Donald for most of the summer until McIlroy won the PGA Championship at Kiawah.
McIlroy isn't at The Barclays. He sat out this week to make sure this left ankle is fully healed. Is it surprising that he could take over No. 1 without hitting a shot that matters? Not really. It was the 14th time since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986 that someone reached No. 1 without playing.
"Hopefully, I can just reclaim it when we're both playing in the same tournament," Spieth said.
That would be next week in the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston.
One last consolation for Spieth: Four players who reached No. 1 for the first time only stay their one week — Fred Couples, Tom Lehman, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
BUBBA GOLF: Watson plays a brand of golf with which hardly anyone is familiar. He uses his wild imagination to hit big draws and fades, and the shape of the shot often depends on how he wants the golf ball coming into the green. And he doesn't like slow play.
So even notable than his 7-under 133 for the 36-hole lead is that Watson was given a warning for pace of play. On a short wedge into the par-5 16th, he took 62 seconds when it was his turn to play, which was 22 seconds more than he was allowed while his group was on the clock for being out of position.
If it had happened again, it would have been a one-shot penalty.
"Hilarious," Watson said before explaining the circumstances. The back pin was tough, and then it became a tougher play after watching Spieth roll is ball some 100 feet off the green. Surprisingly, it has happened before.
"I think it was my second bad time," Watson said. "But I told the tour it was my third."
BLAST AWAY, PUTT AWAY: Watson will be in the final group with Henrik Stenson (68), who hits his 3-wood as far as some players hit driver. Length is a big advantage at Plainfield (Dustin Johnson won here in 2011), especially for those wanting to be closer to the green even if that means hitting into the rough. The rough can help take the spin off the golf ball, and on some holes that makes it easier to get it close or at least stay below the cup.
Tony Finau can mash it. He shot 69 and was one shot behind. He will be in the penultimate group with Zach Johnson, who relies on the shortest club in the bag. Johnson made five birdies and four par saves of at least 8 feet. He shot 65.
SEASON OVER: Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel missed the cut, and at No. 94 and No. 96 respectively in the FedEx Cup, they probably won't stay in the top 100 and advance to next week at the TPC Boston. That won't be determined until Sunday.
Here's whose season officially ended Friday (those outside the top 100 who missed the cut): Tim Clark, Andres Gonzales, Graham DeLaet, Chad Collins, Jonas Blixt, Jon Curran, Chris Stroud and Steve Wheatcroft. They each get a $70,000 in FedEx Cup bonus money.