Beem Needs Strong Week to Play On


DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Golf's new FedExCup might not seem like a true playoff to Tiger Woods. Rich Beem and Brett Quigley know exactly what's at stake, though.
Play well, or go home.
Beem and Quigley need to finish no worse than second in this weekend's Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC of Boston or they are out of the PGA TOUR's new playoff. Only the top 70 on the points list (and ties) will play in Chicago next week.
'Anywhere between first and second, I'll be all right, but other than that ...,' Beem said Wednesday. 'That's just the nature of how this works, you know? It's kind of exciting. Hopefully the fans are kind of feeling that same way.'
The PGA TOUR Playoffs award players points based on their performance over the summer, then gradually cuts the field to 30 over three events leading up to the TOUR Championship. But it also allows some of the top players from the 'regular season' -- Woods, most notably -- to advance without even playing.
And some are questioning whether 'playoff' is the right term.
'I don't understand it, to be very honest with you,' said Jack Nicklaus, who was at the course on Wednesday for a Presidents Cup meeting. 'I think that the whole objective was to get the guys to play, and the first week Tiger skips. So I didn't understand that at all.'
Nicklaus said he likes the idea of a playoff that would encourage everyone to play at the end of the season. But he wishes it were simpler, so players and fans could follow along during the round.
'To get the public interested, they've got to understand what's going on,' Nicklaus said. 'Very simple: when you play a football game and you're in the playoffs, you're a wildcard team and you're playing the division leader, you win, you go on. You lose, you go home. We don't exactly have that here. So I think they'll tweak it someplace.'
Until then, the system has Beem No. 113 on the list with 87,063 points; Quigley is 115th with 87,000, 17,950 points behind Stricker and 3,525 behind 70th place Steve Flesch. First place at the Deutsche Bank this weekend gets 9,000 points, with second getting 5,400 and third taking 3,400.
Anyone below Justin Leonard -- 85th on the points list -- needs a top 10 finish to make it to the BMW Championship outside of Chicago.
Despite the tall order, Quigley said he was liberated by the knowledge that he has to finish in the top two to advance.
'It's good knowing now, because I think last week a lot of us didn't really have a clue what the points were going to be during each event,' Quigley said. 'And now that we've kind of got a handle on it, I think I know I've got to play great this week.'
On the other hand, the players near the top of the list can skip the tournament entirely and still move on to the next round.
That's what Woods did at The Barclays in New York, choosing to relinquish the lead he earned over the summer to rest up after winning two weeks in a row. He fell from first in the standings to fourth, with last week's winner Steve Stricker taking over the top spot.
Woods could be back in the lead by Monday night, as long as Stricker doesn't finish second.
'He's now got to come from behind, which he probably won't have a problem doing,' Stricker said. 'But it just adds more excitement to the playoff system. And I think it brings more attention to our game, like I said, during the time of year that we were just kind of -- the majors were done and golf was kind of on the back burner was football is starting and all that kind of stuff. I really see it as a positive.
'You know, I'm happy as heck to be a part of it and to be in the position I'm at.'
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Updated Playoff Points
  • Full Coverage - Deutsche Bank Championship