Momentum building to big FedEx Cup payday

By Doug FergusonSeptember 10, 2009, 2:02 am

BMW Championship 2007 LogoLEMONT, Ill. – Only one day separated the final round of one PGA Tour playoff event and the pro-am round of the next one, and even players who are in the best position to capture the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize are fighting some fatigue.

Tiger Woods might have summed it up best.

Walking off the fifth tee Wednesday morning at Cog Hill, he turned to a member of his staff and said with a mock moan, “I don’t want to go to school today.”

A few minutes later, Woods added, “It will be a little different on Thursday.”

 

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hits an approach during Wednesday's pro-am. (Getty Images)
The BMW Championship is the third straight week of playoffs, one step closer to the biggest prize in golf, and the possibilities keep growing. No one paid much attention to Heath Slocum until he won The Barclays. Woods was at his customary top of the list until Steve Stricker birdied the last two holes to win the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday and move to No. 1 in the standings.

 

That means he will be playing the first two rounds with Woods for the third straight week.

“It would really be nice to have the lead going into the Tour Championship,” Stricker said. “That means going out this week and playing well to maintain that lead. I have every belief that Tiger is going to play great, so that means that I’m going to have to play good.

“The pressure is getting bigger every week we play.”

And they are playing a lot of golf.

For every player in the top 20, this will be at least their fifth tournament in the last six weeks. Making it even more difficult is the short turnaround from the Labor Day finish outside Boston to the typical Thursday start at Cog Hill.

Scott Verplank arrived in this south Chicago suburb Tuesday and only walked the golf course, except for the par-5 15th.

“Too big of a hill to climb,” he said.

Stricker played only nine holes on Tuesday before his pro-am round Wednesday. Most players on the course or the practice range had missed the cut the previous week at the TPC Boston.

“I was talking to one of my football coach buddies yesterday driving out here, and I said, ‘It’s kind of like playing a Sunday night game and then you’ve got a Thursday night game,”’ Verplank said. “You’ve got no turnaround, so you have don’t have any time to waste. You’ve got to get prepared for your next opponent, which sits out there at about 9,000 yards long.”

The opponent is the Dubsdread course at Cog Hill, recently renovated by Rees Jones with hopes of attracting a U.S. Open. It now measures 7,616 yards at a par 71, and it should be all they can handle.

“It’s a big, tough golf course,” Padraig Harrington said. “It looks like it’s going to put plenty of pressure on all the players out there this week. I hope it suits my game. I hope I play well on it.”

Harrington is glad to have a chance. Winless since the PGA Championship last year, he was outside the top 125 to get into the playoffs until he finished second at the Bridgestone Invitational, then gave himself chances to win his next three starts.

Just like that, he is up to No. 7 in the standings, and still pushing hard.

“On one hand, I’m losing a little bit in terms of fatigue,” Harrington said. “But I’m still motivated because I haven’t won. If I had won over the last couple of weeks, I’d have a big dropoff. What’s keeping me going is the fact that I haven’t won. I’m pushing hard and I’m focused to do that, and in many ways, I’m on the edge in that sense. I could definitely see a win making me totally drop back off.”

And if he were to win the BMW Championship? Would he lose his edge for the Tour Championship?

“If you’ve got a chance of winning it, there’s enough motivation there,” he said. “Ten million reasons to win that one.”

Woods hasn’t played this much since 2006, when he played six times over seven weeks. That included the World Match Play Championship, which lasted only one round, and the Ryder Cup, which can feel like two weeks.

Related Content

  • Event: BMW Championship

He was winning those tournaments, sometimes with ease, compared with having to grind into contention and having it go wrong at the end. Woods had his back stretched after the third round at the Deutsche Bank because it was tight.

“I’m just playing a lot right now,” he said.

In another sign that he is pacing himself, Woods didn’t hit balls after any of his rounds last week. Just don’t get the idea that he will sleepwalk through four days at Cog Hill, where he has won four times.

“Thursday through Sunday is all good,” he said. “That’s not a problem. Your adrenaline is up playing an event. You definitely get fired up for that, not a problem. It’s getting out here and having long practice sessions and things like that. You start cutting back on that and just have a short burst, and make sure you get your rest.”

Only the top 30 in the standings after this week qualify for the Tour Championship, and the top five will be in position to win the $10 million prize with a victory at East Lake, no matter what anyone else does.

The good news? They have a week off after Cog Hill before the FedEx Cup finale.

Getty Images

CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.