Pavin Optimistic about US Bank Field

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MILWAUKEE -- This year's U.S. Bank Championship golf tournament has been wedged into one of the least coveted spots on the PGA TOUR schedule: Opposite the prestigious British Open.
 
But 2006 tournament winner Corey Pavin says he's returning to Milwaukee to defend his title in July. And he figures he'll have plenty of good competition thanks to the PGA TOUR's new playoff-style points system, the FedEx Cup.
 
'Maybe the field's not going to be as strong as other events that are played, but I think that'll enhance this field quite a bit,' said Pavin, who was in Milwaukee on Tuesday to promote the tournament.
 
Pavin says the new points system might help boost the popularity of the Milwaukee tournament by prodding more players who don't qualify for the British Open to come play for positioning in the FedEx Cup standings instead of taking the weekend off.
 
'If they need to play some more, they're going to add more tournaments in to make sure they get up as high on that list as they can get,' Pavin said. 'And I think that's going to have a positive effect on this tournament.'
 
The FedEx Cup is a year-long points competition that divides the PGA TOUR schedule into a regular season beginning in January and a four-event playoff beginning in August.
 
Players qualify to compete for the playoff bonus by earning points during the newly established regular season. The top 144 players become eligible to compete for the FedEx Cup in the four playoff tournaments.
 
The player who performs best in the playoff tournaments gets a $10 million bonus.
 
The regular-season cutoff comes in mid-August, making the U.S. Bank Championship -- which will be held July 19-22 at Brown Deer Park Golf Course -- a chance for players who want to solidify their place in the standings to earn more points.
 
'People that aren't going to play the British Open have a very nice alternative to come here and play,' Pavin said.
 
Because it's held opposite a major tournament, players in the U.S. Bank Championship will only earn half the number of FedEx Cup points than they would for a regular tournament. But for players scrambling to become eligible to compete for the FedEx Cup, Pavin figures even the reduced points payout will be valuable.
 
And, of course, with so many good players on the other side of the Atlantic, there's an opportunity for a better finish.
 
'I think the players are going to look at it a little harder at that point, too, with a month or two to go,' Pavin said.
 
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