On the eve of its debut as the last chance for golfers to qualify for the new FedEx Cup, several late withdrawals, including defending champion Davis Love III, have thinned the field considerably.
'I thought (more players) would try to play this week,' rookie Brandt Snedeker said Wednesday. 'Every position that you're ahead of somebody else is points that you're getting starting out. ... Knowing that some guys would be taking this week off, I can jump up a couple spots and hopefully if I play well, you know, jump (as many as eight) spots. Makes a big difference coming down the stretch.'
A few years ago, the future of one of the few PGA TOUR stops in North Carolina -- then known as the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro and later the Greater Greensboro Open -- seemed murky, with uncertainty about whether there was room for it on the sport's reorganized calendar.
Those concerns were soothed last year when the 2007 event was moved ahead two months to the week before the start of FedExCup play. Organizers hoped its new position would attract players scrambling to make the playoff field.
Instead, many have backed out.
The big names 'are definitely resting up for the home stretch,' said Lucas Glover, who's No. 45 on the FedExCup points list. 'As for the rest of the guys, either they don't care for the course or they've never played here. ... That's why you got most of the bubble guys here and guys like me trying to get closer up.'
Love, who four years ago helped redesign the 7,333-yard course at Forest Oaks Country Club and rallied to win here last year, bowed out to have kidney stone surgery.
Bubba Watson, the longest driver on the TOUR, also withdrew for medical reasons, and 2005 champion K.J. Choi, Chris DiMarco and Boo Weekley also are out while they rest for the four-week playoff series.
'This tournament doesn't have the greatest date being this week, but there'll be a lot of talk about the FedEx points and having a stronger field in the future, because it's one more week they can get points,' said local favorite Carl Pettersson, who at No. 48 in the latest World Golf ratings is among the highest-ranked players in the field.