FedEx Cup coming into its own

By Doug FergusonAugust 25, 2009, 4:00 pm
The Barclays JERSEY CITY, N.J. ' For those who dont buy into the FedEx Cup, consider the alternative.
 
Ten years ago this week, with the majors done for the season, the PGA Tour embarked on a four-week stretch that included the World Series of Golf at Firestone, followed by the Air Canada Championship in Vancouver, the Canadian Open and the B.C. Open.
 
Tiger Woods, David Duval, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh ' the four highest-ranked members of the PGA Tour ' played only the first week. Phil Mickelson threw in the B.C. Open that year, mainly to tune up for the Ryder Cup.
 
The PGA Tour Playoffs begin Thursday at The Barclays with the top 124 players on tour, missing only Paul Casey with a rib injury.
 
Mickelson was on the practice range until taking a ferry across the Hudson River to his hotel in Manhattan. There was a buzz about the arrival of Woods, competing in the opening playoff event for the first time. The four major champions already were at Liberty National, gearing up for four tournaments that could go a long way toward deciding player of the year.
 
This is the third year, and it has developed a different feeling, Geoff Ogilvy said Tuesday. You can definitely feel it because everybody is here. Its a bit like The Players Championship.
 
And thats just a start. The top 100 will be at the TPC Boston next week for the Deutsche Bank Championship, then the top 70 at Cog Hill outside Chicago for the BMW Championship. After a week off, the top 30 meet in Atlanta for a shot at $10 million.
 
You wont find such a stretch of strong fields at any other time of the year.
 
Is that such a bad thing?
 
Perhaps it is time for the FedEx Cup to establish what it is, rather than to defend what its not.
 
It is not bigger than winning a major, as Ryuji Imada says in the latest PGA Tour commercial trying to hype the year-end bonanza. Majors define careers. For the moment, the FedEx Cup defines a bank account.
 
That led to a question, however, that shed some light on what this series is all about.
 
Would players rather win the FedEx Cup or The Players Championship, the next best thing to a major?
 
Ogilvy was among those who picked The Players Championship, primarily because it has more than 30 years of history behind it as having the strongest and deepest field in golf on a course that doesnt suit a particular style.
 
Rick George, the tours chief of operations, playfully joined the conversation and picked the FedEx Cup for a reason that should not be dismissed. He called it the hardest thing to win in golf.
 
Tournaments are won over four days. This is an eight-month body of work, followed by three big events when the points are quintupled, and a Tour Championship that should finally have some meaning.
 
That doesnt make it more important.
 
Its harder to win the FedEx Cup than the Masters, Ogilvy replied to him. But Id rather win the Masters.
 
Give Tim Herron a bonus for honesty.
 
Financially? The FedEx Cup with that $10 million pot at the end, he said. The Players is something thats part of history. But if you win this, youd have to win two tournaments against pretty strong fields. And two is better than one, right?
 
Kevin Sutherland was leaning toward The Players Championship until he thought it through.
 
You almost have to do more to win the FedEx Cup, he said. It shows youve played better than everyone else for an extended period of time. I dont know if you can say you played better than anyone for the whole year, because those last four events are weighted. But youll have played better than anyone for a month. And thats hard to do.
 
Its not hard for someone like Woods, which explains why he won the inaugural FedEx Cup despite skipping The Barclays, and winning so handily he could have skipped the Tour Championship. Even if Woods were to win the next three weeks, he still would not be guaranteed to win the FedEx Cup.
 
That could be one problem that wont be known until the next month plays out.
 
The FedEx Cup has changed its points system after each of the past two years. What hasnt changed is the caliber of the winner ' Woods and Singh ' which leads Paul Goydos to believe this has merit.
 
He picked the FedEx Cup over The Players Championship.
 
You wont have too many fluky FedEx Cup champions, and I almost proved the flukiness of The Players Championship, said Goydos, a playoff loser to Sergio Garcia at Sawgrass two years ago. You look at major championship trophies and see names on there that make you scratch your head. You wont see too many of those on this trophy.
 
Bigger than The Players? Goydos believes so.
 
Bigger than a major? No.
 
At least not yet.
 
Its an era question, Goydos said. Whos to say the next generation might be thinking the FedEx Cup is bigger than a major?
 
Jim Furyk also chose the FedEx Cup.
 
The system is not perfect; Furyk was among the first to identify that last year rewarded mediocrity. It might even change again. What he likes is the chance for the best players to compete in four straight tournaments.
 
Ultimately, thats what the FedEx Cup is all about.
 
The idea is to get us all together, Furyk said, and let us fight it out.
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”