A few major champions could have their seasons cut short this week as the field for the FedEx Cup Playoffs gets trimmed from 100 to 70 players.
Here is a look at the five most interesting players on the playoff bubble at the Deutsche Bank Championship:
1.) Ernie Els: 91st in FedEx Cup points
The Big Easy has slumped into these playoffs with just one top 10 in 17 PGA Tour starts. It’s been a particularly rocky road of late, as he’s missed two of his last three cuts and hasn’t finished better than 20th since mid-June. Well outside the top 100 in scoring average, ball-striking and putting, it’s been a forgettable season for Els, and he likely needs to finish 23rd or better at TPC Boston to prolong his season. He was T-26 a year ago and has one top 10 in five career starts there.
2.) Ian Poulter: 77th
The colorful Englishman has seemed to make more noise off the course than it on this year. In 14 PGA Tour starts he has recorded just three top 10s, and only one since March (T-3, British Open). He missed the cut at the playoff opener after rounds of 77-68, and Poults likely needs a 38th or better in Boston to advance to the BMW Championship. That wouldn’t seem to be asking much for the world No. 17, but in six career starts at TPC Boston, Poulter has four missed cuts and no finish better than 45th.
3.) Martin Kaymer: 90th
It’s been a slow return to relevance for the former world No. 1, who is in his first full season on Tour (three top 10s in 16 starts). Kaymer squandered a promising start with a disappointing weekend at The Barclays, where he went 75-72 to cost himself some valuable FedEx Cup points. This will be his first time seeing TPC Boston, and he likely needs to finish 24th or better to advance to the third playoff event.
4.) Erik Compton: 94th
Who isn’t rooting for this guy? The last time he played at Liberty National (2009), he was a year removed from his second heart transplant. Now, after making a 5-foot putt on the 72nd hole at The Barclays, he’s on to TPC Boston for the first time in his career. He’ll likely need to finish 19th or better there to play the BMW.
5.) Marc Leishman: 76th
The Australian likely has to finish 40th or better at Boston, but there’s more at stake than just a spot in the 70-man BMW event. He’s No. 13 on the points list for the International Presidents Cup team, and this is the last week to automatically qualify. A strong finishing kick could impress captain Nick Price and possibly put him in line for one of the two wild-card picks.