Course: Ridgewood Country Club (7,319, par 71), Paramus, N.J.
Purse: $7.5 million. Winner’s share: $1.35 million.
Last year: Heath Slocum won the FedEx Cup opener at Liberty National in Jersey City, holing a 20-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory over Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker.
Notes: The top 100 in the FedEx Cup points after the event will be eligible for the Deutsche Bank next week in Norton, Mass. The field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship at Cog Hill in Lemont, Ill., and to 30 for the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.
And in this first week of the 2010 PGA Tour postseason, let us pause to give thanks to Jim Mora, who provided iconic status to that popular word from our sports dictionary.
“Playoffs? Don’t talk about – playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?”
No, sir. We wouldn’t kid about such a thing. The playoffs are here, but before we commence with The Barclays, let’s take a moment to look at a little of this and a touch of that regarding this year’s picture:
• There are those who’ll miss the playoffs for the first time since they were introduced in 2007, most notably Mike Weir. He finished 128th after having been 87th, sixth, and 29th the first three seasons of the FedEx Cup standings. Mark Wilson will also miss the playoffs for the first time and so, too, will John Mallinger, George McNeill and Brett Quigley.
• With no fewer than seven players tied for the lead late in the Wyndham Championship, you can say there was drama. But when it was all over, only one player, Scott Piercy, moved from outside the cutoff and into the playoffs. Chris Stroud (124th to 127th) is the one guy who played his way out.
• He’s a major winner, a former No. 1, and a guy who once shot a closing 59, but David Duval had never made the PGA Tour playoffs. Until this season, that is. Though he was not fully exempt to start the season, Duval finished 120th to earn a start at The Barclays.
• You suggest it’s impressive that Tiger Woods finished 112th while playing only nine events? Well, what of Corey Pavin, who played in eight and was 110th. (It occurs that with both of these chaps in the playoffs it will provide Woods at least one chance to have a meeting with the U.S. Ryder Cup captain and his assistant, wife Lisa.)
• They rank 17th, 18th and 19th, and that puts them in strong position to play in all four playoff events, but Robert Allenby, J.B. Holmes and Rickie Fowler haven’t exactly been on rolls. They have a dozen top 10s combined, but only one (Fowler, at the Memorial) has come since mid-May.
• From the thank-goodness-for-Kapalua-dept.: Geoff Ogilvy won the SBS Championship season-opener, but hasn’t chalked up another top 10 since. He sits 39th in the playoff order.
• There were some rushes to the finish line at the Wyndham. David Toms (98th to 44th), Justin Leonard (109th to 70th) and Webb Simpson (116th to 94th) all moved up in the standings thanks to their only top 10s of the season.
• Hard not to snicker at the application of the word “playoffs” when you factor in John Senden. Among those who finished top 125, he’s the only one without a top 10 finish. Then again, the NHL and NBA let everyone in their playoffs, too.
• As we prepare for The Barclays, four players have perfect attendance when it comes to three years and 12 playoff tournaments – Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk (but was disqualified Wednesday), Stewart Cink and Hunter Mahan.