Fast-starting Piercy needs help to claim FedEx Cup

By Jason SobelSeptember 20, 2012, 10:08 pm

ATLANTA – Scott Piercy is going to win the FedEx Cup.

Apologies for the lack of a spoiler alert, but the biggest shocker in the six-year history of the playoff series is too exciting to keep under wraps.

Piercy entered the Tour Championship in dead last on the points list of the 30 players in this week’s field, but he’s on the verge of making a worst-to-first turnaround. Following an opening-round 3-under 67 that included a half-dozen birdies sandwiched by a bogey on the first hole and double bogey on the last, he’s in prime position to claim the $10 million first prize on Sunday afternoon.

All he needs is a victory.

And, uh… a few other things, too.

Louis Oosthuizen must finish T-2 or worse. That’s right – a solo runner-up finish wouldn’t be good enough for Piercy, but sharing it would do the trick. Since Oosthuizen already has a pair of solo seconds this year, the chances are against his drive for a third.

Brandt Snedeker must finish in a three-way tie for second or worse. At T-7 through 18 holes, that’s practically a given.

Phil Mickelson must finish T-3 or worse. He’s tied for 12th right now. Done deal.

Nick Watney must finish in a four-way tie for third or worse. He’s currently in last place. Put a check mark next to this one.

Tiger Woods must finish in a three-way tie for sixth or worse. Hmm, currently tied for the lead, he’ll need a classic weekend fade to help out Piercy.

And last but not least, Rory McIlroy – the guy who leads the standings with victories in each of the last two events – must finish dead last of the 30 players teeing it up. No problem!

Cue Lloyd Christmas: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance …”

Saying that Piercy has a “mathematical possibility” of winning the playoffs is like saying that you have a “mathematical possibility” of marrying Kate Upton.

OK, so Piercy isn’t going to win the FedEx Cup.

You know. I know it. He knows it.

“My chances are slim to none – and I think slim's about to leave the building,” said Piercy, currently in a share of third place, one behind the lead of Woods and Justin Rose.

In reality, Piercy’s win came at the last playoff event. A share of 37th place in the BMW Championship secured the final spot in the Tour Championship – and with it, all the opportunities he could ever want.

Already in next year’s Masters thanks to his Canadian Open victory, Piercy is now eligible for the U.S. Open, British Open, Players Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Crowne Plaza Invitational, Memorial Tournament, AT&T National and CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.

If that doesn’t sound too impressive, consider the fact that Piercy didn’t reach the PGA Tour until four years ago at the age of 30. Now he not only owns a card, but can pick and choose, setting his schedule before the year even begins.

“It's definitely big for me to be here,” he said. “I'm definitely excited to be here. Getting the doors it opens, and just being part of 30 guys from the whole Tour, I think it says a lot to where my game has come from and hopefully going to. I think it's just a stepping stone in the process.”

Someone is going to win the FedEx Cup this weekend. There’s an excellent possibility that someone is named McIlroy or Woods, but all 30 players in the field have a chance to hoist the trophy and receive the ridiculously large paycheck.

Piercy owns the smallest chance of ‘em all. Unless McIlroy turns into a 16-handicap overnight and all the stars align his way, it’ll be impossible for him to claim that title.

But he’s still looking to capture another one.

“If I win, I finish second,” he explained. “It's still a million and a half for first place, and another $3 million for the FedEx, so I'll take $4.5 million. That would be sweet.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at 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 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 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 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.