Notes New Schedule Hurts Team Events

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HARRISON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods repeated Tuesday in a monthly newsletter that his body needed a break after winning consecutive weeks at Firestone and Southern Hills, and that he wanted to be sharp for the final three playoff events in the FedExCup.
 
'Plus, I want to be sharp for the Presidents Cup,' he added.
 
That seems to be forgotten in what already is a crammed schedule on the PGA TOUR.
 
All 24 players from the U.S. and International teams are in the PGA TOUR Playoffs, and 11 out of 12 Americans are seeded inside the top 30. That means most players could be in four straight events before one week off, then the Presidents Cup that starts Sept. 27 at Royal Montreal.
 
'Obviously, when the Presidents Cup comes -- or at the end of the FedExCup -- I'm going to be tired,' Woody Austin said. 'Four weeks in a row is a grind for anything.'
 
Worse yet is next year. The Ryder Cup will be played immediately after the four-week playoffs, leading to some speculation that Woods won't be the only player who takes a week off during the playoffs.
 
'I'm disappointed in the schedule,' Jim Furyk said.
 
Someone asked Padraig Harrington if golf was less of a grind when he doesn't have to think about the Ryder Cup, and he immediately thought about next year.
 
'That's five in a row. That will be tough,' he said. 'That will be a big ask, a big take from any player who plays in all five events. The Presidents Cup this year ... is such a big event, or the Ryder Cup is such a big event. It does require effort. Coming in off something as big as this, it's a tough bit of work.'
 
CUP VALUE:
Most people figure Tiger Woods is a lock for PGA TOUR player of the year with his five victories (two World Golf Championships) and a major (PGA Championship), along with having a huge advantage in scoring average.
 
Will the FedExCup change that?
 
Maybe.
 
Jerry Kelly said he would give the winner of the FedExCup equal value -- if not more -- to winning a major when it comes to his vote for player of the year. He cited Zach Johnson as an example.
 
'He won the Masters and one other tournament,' Kelly said. 'If he wins the FedExCup, that means he'll have won another tournament. And then it becomes a race.'
 
Kelly believes winning the FedExCup along with a major would fall under the same scenario as someone winning two majors. The most famous case of that was in 1998, when Mark O'Meara (two majors) beat out David Duval (four victories, money title and Vardon Trophy).
 
ONE SHOT:
The FedExCup didn't have to wait until the playoffs for every shot to count.
 
Just ask Eric Axley.
 
He came to the 18th hole in the final round of the Wyndham Championship in a tie for 27th. He was 110 yards away from the hole in the first cut of rough, yet hit his wedge to some 40 feet and took two putts for a par.
 
Had he made birdie, Axley would have earned enough points to qualify for The Barclays, the first playoff event. Instead, he wound up at No. 145, a mere 23 points behind Jeff Gove.
 
That means Axley cannot play on the PGA TOUR until the playoffs end Sept. 16.
 
RYDER CUP:
Fans have six more weeks to register for 2008 Ryder Cup tickets, and a random drawing will be held in October.
 
Tickets range from daily grounds ($90 a day during the competition) to a weekly season ticket ($435) to the Samuel Ryder Club tickets, which go for $1,600 a day during competition and include admission to a hospitality tent that has reserved seating, breakfast and lunch, parking off site and a shuttle to Valhalla.
 
Or you can sign up for a package from a European-based company called Ryder Cup Travel Services.
 
The cheapest package is $3,000 for five days. That includes a hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Clarksville, Ind., transportation to the golf course, a regular ticket, a shirt and dinner one night at the Muhammad Ali Center.
 
BATTLEFIELD PROMOTION:
Four years after his U.S. Amateur victory, Nick Flanagan is headed for the PGA TOUR.
 
Flanagan came from seven shots behind to win his third Nationwide Tour event of the season, earning him an automatic promotion to the big leagues. But in this 'new era of golf,' the 23-year-old Aussie has to wait one month.
 
The PGA TOUR Playoff gobbled up the next four weeks of the schedule, and Flanagan's first chance to play the Tour as its newest member is Sept. 20 at the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
 
The good news is he should have no problem getting in.
 
Chad Campbell earned a similar promotion in October 2001 but couldn't get in the Disney tournament because it was loaded with guys trying to keep their cards (along with those who wanted to take their kids on Space Mountain).
 
'The good thing about it is that I am set up for next year,' said Flanagan, whose status for 2008 will fall behind those who finish in the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list. 'I may play the rest of the year for some Christmas money. You're not going to stop me from playing in $4 and $5 million events.'
 
Flanagan won the '03 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont by beating Casey Wittenberg, who also won Sunday on the Hooters Tour.
 
DIVOTS:
It was 102 degrees when the final few groups teed off in the final round of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. About the same time one week later, it was 75 degrees. ... Brandt Snedeker became the fifth American in his 20s to win on the PGA TOUR this year. The others were Charles Howell III, Nick Watney, Hunter Mahan and Jonathan Byrd. ... This from the Department of Strange Statistics: On the first hole of the JELD-WEN Tradition last week, D.A. Weibring holed out from the fairway for eagle. Peter Jacobsen and Bob Gilder both chipped in for birdie. That means no one in the group had to putt. ... Greg Norman has been chosen for the 2008 Old Tom Morris Award given by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. ... Jerry Kelly had never recorded a top 10 in a major until this year. A tie for fifth in the Masters and a tie for seventh in the U.S. Open was enough to make him eligible for the HSBC World Match Play Championship in England.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods is the only player to successfully defend a title this year on the PGA TOUR or the European Tour.
 
FINAL WORD:
'It's a bit like the TPC. If you win the TPC, it's the fifth major. If you don't win it, it's not the fifth major.' -- Padraig Harrington, comparing the FedExCup with THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Barclays