Volatile FedExCup has the players attention

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. ' Padraig Harrington has won the last two majors and is considered the favorite to be voted Player of the Year on the PGA TOUR. But if he doesnt play well the next two weeks, he might not even make it to the Tour Championship.
 
Then theres Kevin Sutherland, who hasnt won in more than six years and has never made it to the TOUR Championship in his 13 years on tour. But he will tee off Friday in the Deutsche Bank Championship at No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings.
 
The Tour wanted more volatility in the second year of its playoff system.
 
But this much?
 
Its definitely created some excitement among the players, Brett Quigley said Wednesday at the TPC Boston, site of the second round of the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
 
He later was asked for a different description than excitement, and Quigley smiled.
 
Concern interest, he said. I think last year they didnt have the points system quite right with guys not being able to move enough, a la Rich Beem. And this year, it seems like the players think its a little too much movement. But certainly, theyve created some drama. Some guys are going to be thinking about just making the cut this week; guys wouldnt probably be thinking about that normally.
 
A year ago, Beem tied for seventh at The Barclays and barely advanced to the second round, moving from No. 134 to No. 113. Under this years points system, Beem would have moved up to No. 70.
 
The top 120 made it to the Deutsche Bank Championship, and only the top 70 after this week advance to the third round in St. Louis. There are only 115 players at the TPC Boston because of injuries (Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Alex Cejka) and two Europeans who are playing in Scotland this week (Lee Westwood, Justin Rose).
 
Kenny Perry, who effectively began this postseason as the No. 1 seed with Woods out for the year, already began complaining about having three victories and not making it to the TOUR Championship. But he tied for 48th and slipped only to No. 7.
 
The one who should worry is Harrington, the British Open and PGA champion, who missed the cut last week at The Barclays and plunged all the way from No. 4 to No. 23. Another missed cut at Boston and hell be out of the top 30.
 
But the Irishman isnt worried at all. He actually likes the wild shifts in the standings.
 
I think its a fair reflection that I dropped about 20 spots by missing the cut, Harrington said. I think it should be very volatile. Thats what a playoff system should be like. Youve got to go produce.
 
If he could change one thing, Harrington would make it even more combustible by awarding big points to the top 10 finishers in a tournament, minimal points for those barely making the cut.
 
Either way, he came to one conclusion in Year 2 of this system.
 
I think the FedExCup is working, he said. Its got more players out here playing, more players interested at this time of the year. Its creating a bit of a buzz. If players arent exactly happy with the system at the moment no press is bad press. Something like that. People are talking about it, and thats the main thing.
 
Vijay Singh won The Barclays last week in a playoff over Sergio Garcia and Sutherland, and they now are Nos. 1-2-3 and will be in the same group the first two rounds on the TPC Boston.
 
Perhaps the biggest surprise ' and the poster boy for how quickly the standings can change ' is Martin Laird. The rookie from Scotland was at No. 164 going into the last tournament before the playoffs, then tied for fourth in Greensboro to barely qualify at No. 128. Laird then tied for seventh at The Barclays and moved all the way up to No. 67.
 
I was thinking of going home to Scotland probably for 10 days or so over those first two tournaments, seeing the family, taking a break, recharging and coming back, Laird said. But those plans changed.
 
Count him among the proponents of change.
 
Obviously, I love it, he said. And Im sure theres a few guys that dont love it. But you know, its the playoffs. Its like any sport. You play to get there, and when you get there, its whoever is playing best at that time that comes out on top.
 
But there was another wrinkle that some grad students over at MIT might what to calculate.
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen was the 144th and final player to qualify for the postseason. He tied for 48th last week, moving up to No. 119 to barely get into the Deutsche Bank. Say he finishes 10th the next two weeks and narrowly makes it to the TOUR Championship, where he finishes last.
 
Is it possible that Janzen could qualify for the TOUR Championship, but still not earn enough money at the end of the year to finish in the top 125 and keep his card? Quigley said.
 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.