this July 29, 2016, file photo, Jordan Spieth watches
his approach shot on the fifth hole during the second
round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at
Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. Spieth missed
being part of the Olympics even before the golf began.
Rory McIlroy thought it was a big hit and was thankful
to be wrong. They were among the top four who chose
not to go.
N.Y. — The top five players on the PGA Tour this season
should be plenty rested going into the FedEx Cup playoffs.
them haven't played since the PGA Championship three weeks
because most of them didn't go to the Olympics.
is the No. 1 player in the world and No. 1 in the FedEx Cup,
narrowly moving past U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson on
the strength of his runner-up finish at the PGA
Championship. They are followed by Adam Scott, Russell Knox
and Jordan Spieth.
the Travelers Championship a week after the PGA
Championship, but with a chance to earn Ryder Cup points
last week, the Scot decided he needed a rest.
playoffs begin Thursday at The Barclays, which returns to
At the end
of this five-week bonanza is a $10 million bonus to the
winner. That's still a long way off. For now, there is
plenty to keep their attention.
QUALIFYING: The Barclays is the final week for American
players to earn points — one point for every $1,000 in PGA
Tour earnings — toward getting one of the eight automatic
spots on the Ryder Cup team.
this Aug. 23, 2013, file photo, Rickie Fowler hits a
tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of
The Barclays golf tournament in Jersey City, N.J. So
much more is at stake than $69 million in prize and
bonus money during the FedEx Cup. The Barclays is the
first postseason event, the start of deciding Ryder
Cup teams and who gets voted player of the year.
already have been decided — Johnson, Spieth, Phil
Mickelson, PGA champion Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka.
Brandt Snedeker tied for third last week to move up to No. 6
and would appear to be safe. He is ahead of Zach Johnson and
Patrick Reed, the lone Olympian from that group.
at The Barclays is $8.5 million, so nothing is set except
for who's not going to make it. Charley Hoffman at No. 22 is
the last player who has a mathematical shot, and it's a long
shot at that.
Rickie Fowler? He would have to finish no worse than a
two-way tie for fourth.
The PGA Tour made a slight tweak to the points system for
the FedEx Cup playoffs. Points are quadrupled for the next
three weeks, instead of being five times their normal value
in previous years.
The hope is
that it allows for volatility in these big events, without
someone far down in the pack having one good week and being
locked in for the Tour Championship.
The top 125
qualify for the playoffs, and then it's a matter of
The top 100
in the FedEx Cup standings advance to the second playoff
event next week at the Deutsche Bank Championship; the top
70 advance to the BMW Championship the following week at
Crooked Stick outside Indianapolis. The top 30 move on to
the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
Bethpage Black rose to prominence when the public golf
course hosted the U.S. Open in 2002, and Tiger Woods held
off Sergio Garcia and Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open.
It hosted another U.S. Open in 2009, when Lucas Glover won
in a rain-delayed finish.
Now it's on
the rotation for the FedEx Cup playoffs, with Nick Watney
winning The Barclays in 2012.
is famous for its warning sign on the first tee: "The
Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we
recommend only for highly skilled golfers."
should say it's a risk even for really good players,"
Spieth said. "The course I've played the last two days
is up there with the hardest, probably top-five courses I've
ever played in my life. And it's Tuesday and Wednesday of
this week, and it's soft."
Jim Furyk (No. 94) and Steve Stricker (No. 98) did well to
make it to the playoffs because of their limited schedules
— Stricker only plays a dozen times a year, and Furyk
started late because of wrist surgery.
takes is one good week to keep advancing. If they miss the
cut, odds are they won't stay in the top 100.
outside the top 100 are Keegan Bradley at No. 106. Happy to
be here is Shawn Stefani, who tied for 14th last week to
move into the top 125 (at No. 123) and even have a chance.
THE YEAR: The FedEx Cup figures to sort out who will be the
front-runner for PGA Tour player of the year.
champions typically get the vote from the players, but there
are four of them this year — Danny Willett, Dustin
Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker. Jason Day won The
Players Championship and leads the tour with three
victories, so he can't be ruled out.
believes he only has to win two events to be voted player of