FedEx Cup Delivered in Ways

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim were eliminated with pars.
That left a big chunk of change for Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas to chase ' $4.26 million to the winner of the sudden-death playoff and $2.756 million to the loser, meaning one stroke was worth $1.5 million.
Villegas, who was five shots behind with 11 holes to play, wound up winning with a par for his second consecutive victory. So concluded one of the best tournaments all year, certainly the most thrilling Tour Championship since Mike Weir won a four-man playoff over Garcia, Ernie Els and David Toms seven years ago in Houston.
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh was the man of The Playoffs, winning the $10 million bonus. (Getty Images)
If only the FedEx Cup could have ended that way.
Such a scenario is what made PGA Tour officials salivate when they created this points competition.
Imagine four players who move the needle ' heck, the Tour would settle for two of them ' battling on the back nine of the last playoff event with the $10 million prize riding on every drive, every chip, every putt, until it came down to one final shot.
Alas, the winner of golfs Super Bowl again spent the fourth quarter running out the clock.
The leaders had just made the turn at East Lake when Vijay Singh added his score correctly and signed the card in the right place, his only requirement to capture the FedEx Cup. It was equally anticlimactic last year when Tiger Woods entered the final round with a 13-shot lead on his nearest cup contender.
So what does that make the FedEx Cup?
A great show.
It is easy to bash the FedEx Cup for the blowouts it has delivered the first two years, but whose fault is that? Woods was the No. 1 seed last year, won two consecutive tournaments and tied for second in the other. That should win under any formula.
Singh was the No. 7 seed this year and won the first two playoff events, and while Villegas won the last two and tied for third in another, he started the playoffs as the No. 42 seed and missed the cut in the first event at The Barclays. Even using last years points system, Singh would have clinched the FedEx Cup before he arrived at East Lake.
More than anything, the FedEx Cup suffers from high expectations.
Did anyone really think Woods and Mickelson, Singh and Garcia, or any combination thereof, would come to the back nine of the Tour Championship with the FedEx Cup at stake?
That rarely happens in majors, let alone a points race stretched over four straight tournaments. Count how many times heavyweights have slugged it out on the back nine of a major this decade, and you can leave one hand in your pocket.
Remember, the points race was but one component of the FedEx Cup.
The other was to give golf a more defined conclusion to the season, bringing together the best players over the final month of the season when they otherwise would have shut it down after the majors.
Heres what the FedEx Cup delivered:
  • Singh, Garcia and Kevin Sutherland in a three-man playoff at The Barclays, where Garcia holed a 30-foot birdie putt, Singh poured in a 25-foot birdie on top of him and then beat the Spaniard on the second extra hole.
  • Weir, Villegas, Singh, Garcia, Els and Jim Furyk separated by five shots going into the last round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Singh rolled in three birdie putts of at least 35 feet and closed with a 63.
  • Villegas, Furyk and Kim traded blows on the back nine of the BMW Championship, where Villegas earned his first Tour victory.
  • Villegas, Mickelson, Kim and Garcia made up the final two groups Sunday at East Lake, and someone wound up with a birdie or a bogey at every hole on the back nine except the par-3 18th in regulation.
    A year ago, the playoff events were equally stout.
    Steve Stricker birdied four of the last five holes to win for the first time in six years. Deutsche Bank seized on playoff fever with the Mickelson-Woods showdown on Labor Day. Woods needed a record-setting performance at Cog Hill to hold off Stricker and Aaron Baddeley. The worst event was East Lake, an eight-shot victory by Woods, because the greens barely had any grass.
    It is hard to find four PGA Tour events with so much name recognition on the leaderboard, let alone four in a row. In that respect, the FedEx Cup is doing just fine.
    Now if they can figure out how to make the finish just as compelling.
    The points system will be adjusted again. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem will direct his mathematicians to create a formula that adds importance each week until the Tour Championship.
    Even then, there are no guarantees the Tour Championship will be anything but ceremonial.
    Remember, however, the Tour Championship was little more than an All-Star game before the FedEx Cup came along. The only meaningful Tour Championship over the previous dozen years was in 1996, when Tom Lehman won to overtake Mickelson for the money title and ultimately player of the year; and in 2003, when Woods and Singh were in a tight race for those two awards.
    No matter how you calculate points, the playoffs for two straight years have featured strong fields and compelling tournaments. Theres nothing wrong with that.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.