There are a multitude of ways to point out the fickle nature of the FedEx Cup points list, but let’s use Brett Quigley as an example. After all, at No. 71 in the standings, he missed advancing to the BMW Championship by a mere four points.
Quigley closed with a 74–284 and finished in a six-way tie for 61st at the Deutsche Bank Championship. That earned him just 37 FedEx Cup points, putting him at 812, or four behind No. 70 Chad Campbell.
Two views of that:
One, had Marc Leishman made birdie on the last hole to finish tied for 18th and not an eagle to get in at T-15, the points would have broken differently. Instead of 273, he would have earned 255 and those 18 points were the difference between Quigley being in and Leishman being out.
Two, had Quigley made par and not one of the 10 bogeys at the 71st hole, he would have been at 283, tied with Daniel Chopra for 60th and that would have earned him 52 FedEx Cup points. In that scenario, Quigley would have had 827 and been in 67th position, enjoying Chicago right now.
In either scenario, can you say, ‘Ouch’?
“I know I controlled my own destiny,” Quigley said, “but it’s still a little frustrating. I made the cut both (playoff) weeks and dropped 26 positions. That doesn’t seem right.”
Paint him a victim to the main purpose to the “tweaking” that was made to the points distribution for 2009. The idea was to reward strong finishes, not just making the cut. Quigley was T-67 in New York, T-61 in Boston. A year ago, those finishes would have kept him well within the top 70; this year, they did not.
Yet one could argue that finishing T-31 and 26th, as Garcia did in New York and Boston, respectively, isn’t exactly burning it up, yet the Spaniard roared up 34 spots to 55th.
At the heart of Quigley’s frustration is how arbitrary are the values placed on playoff finishes – 255 for 20th, 205 for 30th, 105 for 50th, and so on. He knows he is on the short end of this year’s example, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s because just getting into the BMW Championship is a big deal. Why? “Because it gives you one more week to win, one more week to play really well and get into the top 30, and with that comes exemptions into the majors,” Quigley said.
Ousted from the playoffs, he will change things up and play “a lot in the fall,” something he hadn’t planned on, but Quigley’s greatest wish is for the PGA Tour to revisit a suggestion he made three years ago, when the FedEx Cup was first discussed.
“I said we should go to Harvard or MIT and have them come out with three different scenarios (for points). They have people who are a lot smarter than us with numbers,” Quigley said. “Instead we’re in the third year, and again we have something that doesn’t make sense.”
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Here’s a look at some of the players who started the playoffs below Quigley’s 45th-place standing, but shot past him to get into the BMW. In each case, the player had two solid weeks or one really good one:
• Kevin Sutherland started 52nd, but went T-52 and T-15 to get into 45th.
• Scott Verplank was 61st at the start but has gone T-9 and T-2 to sit fifth.
• Padraig Harrington was 66th and is now seventh, thanks to a T-2, T-4 stretch.
• Jason Day was 67th at the start and has moved into 37th. His playoff run: T-12 and T-19.
• Leishman started 78th and though he missed the cut in New York, he was T-15 in the DBC and is now 67th.
• Bill Haas was at No. 82, but with T-24 and T-15 efforts he has moved to 47th.
• Webb Simpson’s move from 85th to 51st came on the strength of an eighth-place finish in New York, because he missed the cut in Boston.
• Garcia was 89th at the starting line, but tied for 31st and finished 26th to move to 55th.
• Fredrik Jacobson, who was 107th, is 56th after a T-6 and a T-69.
• And then there’s Heath Slocum, No. 124 in your standings to start, but now third. So he missed the cut in Boston; he won in New York and is the latest example of that old adage that “playing well takes care of everything.”
• • •
He bears the brunt of many a joke regarding his methodical pace of play, but Ben Crane gets high marks for being sneaky quick when it comes to wit and self-deprecating humor.
Case in point: Monday’s final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. For a second straight day, Crane drew the first tee time, 7:40 a.m., and was off as a single. At this point you are jumping in with any number of wisecracks, but let’s give a rest to the cliches and head to the first tee at TPC Boston, where the morning dew was thick and the crowd thin.
Crane asked official tournament starters David Cook and Rich Barrett whether he could take over, and they weren’t about to deny him the fun.
“Now on the tee,” Crane announced into the microphone, and he continued on to say that he was in last place in the tournament “Crane is a really nice guy from Beaverton, Ore.” He then wished his imaginary playing competitor well, complete with the “play well; let’s have fun today.”