PARAMUS, N.J. – Troy Merritt stepped to the final green on Sunday afternoon ranked 97th on the FedEx Cup points list, safely inside the top 100 to advance to next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.
Minutes later, after a 10-foot par putt burned the edge and didn’t drop, he moved to 101st.
On this Sunday, nothing else showed the volatility of the ever-changing standings more than the aftermath of his finish.
As Merritt started lamenting his number to reporters, a PGA Tour official nearby piped in that Merritt had suddenly moved up to 100th. By the end of the interview, he’d climbed to 99th.
It led Merritt’s brother and caddie, Tim, to joke, “He always plays better when he’s off the course.”
As it turns out, not well enough. When all of the final numbers were tallied hours later, a par on the final hole by Jerry Kelly was enough to prevent Merritt from getting enough extra points to move up one more spot. He finished at 101st on the points list, his season over after one playoff event.
“I can’t do anything about it. Just didn’t make the last one. Hit a good putt on 18 and it just went across the hole. That’s golf. The hole just isn’t big enough sometimes.”
That was hardly the only story of the day.
John Huh and Retief Goosen walked off the course in the same pairing, but will be heading in different directions this week.
With birdies on three of his final seven holes, Huh climbed into the field for TPC Boston.
“This is the beauty of a playoff,” he said. “If you play good in these events, you can put yourself in a great spot for the Tour Championship. I really like this format and I can’t wait to play another week.”
Goosen’s chances were undone with a double bogey on the 17th hole, leaving him 103rd on the points list.
“I saw once out there on the course that I needed to make a birdie to be inside the top 100, so instead I made a double,” he said. “Someone is going to finish outside and it looks like it’s going to be me.”
That still wasn’t the day’s worst crash-and-burn tale.
Ricky Barnes started the week 105th and had a chance to advance on Sunday. But a back-nine 42 that included a triple, a double and two bogeys left him 113th.
“I knew I was behind the 8-ball,” he explained. “I knew if I shot 3- or 4-under, I had a good chance.”