PGA Tour playoff begin at Barclays

By Doug FergusonAugust 26, 2010, 3:07 am

PARAMUS, N.J. – Ernie Els has been atop the FedEx Cup standings for the last five months, ever since he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his second PGA Tour win of the year. He knew all along he would be playing in The Barclays.

Scott Piercy was among the late arrivals.

He was in dire need of a good finish last week at the Wyndham Championship just to get into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings and be eligible for the first round of the PGA Tour playoffs.

Piercy shot 68 in the final round, moving into No. 125 with two points to spare.

Perhaps it was no surprise, but the first question he faced Wednesday was how well he knew Heath Slocum.

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A year ago, Slocum’s performance at The Barclays raised hope for everyone who narrowly made the playoffs, a group this year that includes Tiger Woods. He held off a world-class list of challengers and won with a birdie on the final hole, changing his fortunes quickly and dramatically. One week after barely getting into the playoffs, Slocum was assured a spot in the season-ending Tour Championship, and all four majors the following year.

“I’m really excited that I’m actually getting to play,” Piercy said. “Hopefully, I can play two or three or four – all of the playoff events – and keep this little run going.”

The fourth year of the FedEx Cup playoffs gets under way on Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club with hope for all, assurances for the few who have played the best this year.

Els is the top seed for the first time, followed by Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson. The points are quintuple the value they were during the regular season, with the top 100 advancing to the second round in Boston and the top 70 moving on to the third in Chicago. After that, the points are reset for the top 30, who will play for the $10 million prize at the Tour Championship.

“Totally different ball game the next four weeks,” Els said. “It’s very important for me to play well, like it is for everybody else.”

But it’s especially true for Woods.

In a year of turmoil off the course, it hasn’t been much better inside the ropes. Woods is winless for the first time in his career this late into a season, and time is running out. With only two top 10s – and two tournaments he didn’t even finish – Woods showed up at The Barclays at No. 112 in the standings.

He was No. 1 to start the playoffs the past three years, even in 2008, when he only played six tournaments. The first year of this playoff system, Woods was so far ahead he didn’t even bother playing in The Barclays.

This time, he had no choice.

“As of right now, I’m only guaranteed one,” Woods said. “So I need to play well to move forward.”

Furyk isn’t going anywhere, at least this week. His cell phone died overnight, which is notable because Furyk uses it for his alarm clock. He woke up at 7:23 a.m., leaving him no chance to get to Ridgewood on time for his pro-am. Players who miss their pro-am time are no longer eligible for the tournament, even in the playoffs.

Mickelson called it a “ridiculous” policy. Furyk blamed only himself. Either way, he is seeded so highly that he probably won’t fall out of the top 10 this week and can put back on his playoff face next week at the TPC Boston.

Mickelson won the Tour Championship a year ago and finished second to Woods in the FedEx Cup. Not only does he have a good chance this year for the $10 million prize, he gets another opportunity at No. 1 in the world.

It’s been that way since The Players Championship, with the odds of that happening moving more in his favor the worse Woods plays.

“I’ve been trying real hard to accomplish that. I just haven’t played well enough yet,” he said. “But hopefully, I’ll be able to put it together this week. I feel like I’m playing much better golf. “

This is the time to do it.

The majors are over, but Mickelson can see the finish line. He has four playoff events over the next five weeks, then the Ryder Cup.

For Woods, the end might come much sooner.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.