FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Told that bookies in the United Kingdom had Ian Poulter as such a huge favorite to be named a captain’s pick to the European Ryder Cup team that you had to wager 500 pounds to make just 1, Justin Rose smiled.
“OK. There you go. The bookies don’t get it wrong. So Poulter’s in . . .,” said the Englishman, who closed with a 68 to tie for 46th at The Barclays. Nothing inspiring, but the good news is, he’s already on the team, so he’s free to speculate about what will happen Monday morning when captain Jose Maria Olazabal names the final two team members.
All kidding aside, Rose endorses Poulter wholeheartedly. And the other pick? He paused for a moment and suggested Nicolas Colsaerts, who happens to be the odds-on favorite.
“I mean, I just don’t know who else they could pick. All the other guys that they could pick are vice captains,” Rose said.
As for Poulter, who tied for 36th here at The Barclays, for obvious reasons he didn’t want to sound like he was lobbying. But he indicated he felt he had done everything to prove he belonged on his third straight team. Asked if Olazabal had reached out and already told him that he was on the team, Poulter shook his head no.
“Hand on heart,” he said.
When Olazabal announces his picks in Scotland, Poulter said he’ll be asleep.
“But there’s a chance I’ll be up if my phone rings,” Poulter said, smiling.
Later Monday morning, Poulter will be with Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell at Liberty National GC in Jersey City, N.J., as part of a corporate day with Audemars Piguet, the watchmaker. Chances are, they’ll have good Ryder Cup talk to discuss, but wither Padraig Harrington? The Irishman merely smiled after shooting 68 to finish joint 19th, because he was asked for about the 100th straight day (or so it seems) about his chances at being a captain’s pick.
Conventional wisdom said he’s not in the mix, yet “put it like this, I will listen to it tomorrow, yeah,” Harrington said.
For what seems to be the 100th straight day, too, Harrington brushed aside suggestions that his run-in with Olazabal at the Seve Trophy nine years ago might work against him.
“The one thing I don’t think anyone can accuse Jose of is not being competitive,” Harrington said. “He would want the best team there. It means more to Jose to win the Ryder Cup than anything else. I can’t see (an incident nine years ago) having any effect whatsoever.”
Then, another pause, and Harrington added: “I have a better relationship than you think with him.”
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INS AND OUTS: When the final putt at The Barclays had been holed, the entry list of 100 players for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship was finalized.
Fredrik Jacobson was one of six players to start the week inside the top 100 but play their way out. The others were John Mallinger, (88 to 101), Will Claxton (89-102), Chad Campbell (91-104), Andres Romero (93-106) and Chris Stroud (99-110).
The list of six to move from outside the top 100 to inside was highlighted by a marquee name, Jason Day. A year ago, he was 14th in regular-season FedEx Cup points, earned $3.9 million and reached No. 7 in the world order.
But for a variety of reasons – injuries, the birth of his first child – Day never got any sort of rhythm in 2012, and he came into The Barclays 113th in the FEC standings. When he shot a third-round 77, his chances of advancing were even more unlikely, but in Sunday’s final round, Day picked a most opportune time to post his lowest score of the year, a 5-under 66.
Highlighted by a 4-iron from 216 yards that set up a 35-foot eagle at the par-5 seventh, Day rose to 88th in the standings to keep his perfect record intact: five seasons on tour, five seasons making it to at least the second round.
Best round of the year?
“Definitely,” Day said. “I would say so because of where I was and what I needed to do to play and get into next week.”
Day has finished T-2 and T-3 in each of the past two seasons at the Deutsche Bank Championship, so clearly he has reason to be optimistic. But regardless, “I am not going to hold this year against what I’ve done in the past. I was a little distracted off course. It was a tough year, another learning curve.”
Joining Day from moving outside to inside the top 100 were Jonas Blixt (101-97), Tommy Gainey (102-91), Bob Estes (103-62), Graham DeLaet (106-44), and David Hearn (108-67).
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YES, THE BEARD WILL STAY: He may have just one playoff tournament under his belt (the 2010 Barclays), but DeLaet certainly knows the routine.
“Going to keep the beard going,” DeLaet said, acknowledging that he began growing it just last week. “It’s a playoff beard. I’m Canadian, and this is what we do in the (NHL) playoffs. Ask any Canadian; we don’t shave.”
Having started the week 106th in the FEC standings, DeLaet knew he needed a robust Sunday to help his cause, but he bogeyed twice in the first five holes.
Trouble? Maybe, “but then I started hitting a lot of good shots and making putts,” he said. When he drove it 315 yards and holed a 9-iron from 161 yards at the par-5 15th, the eagle pushed him to 4 under on his round. He was inside the top 100, comfortably, but the long-hitter from Saskatchewan wasn’t through. He birdied 17 and 18, too, posted the best round of the day (6-under 65), and suddenly he could start thinking not only about next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, but a possible Tour Championship berth, too.
That’s because DeLaet, who played in just two 2011 tournaments because of a sore back, passed 37 players and settled into a share of fifth.
Surprising, perhaps, but it’s not a shock to him.
“My game’s felt good for the last couple of weeks. I knew that if I played well this week, I could hopefully make some sort of move,” he said.
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BREAK TIME (AGAIN): Of the 25 who were eliminated from the playoffs, perhaps the most surprising was Jacobson. After all, for two years all he has done is make cuts and show up on leaderboards, yet when he finished tied for 67th, the Swede sat outside the top 100.
“It feels kind of strange, because I’ve been consistent, and (for each of the last four seasons) I’ve never done worse than get to the third tournament (of the playoffs).”
Last year, Jacobson finished 16th in FedEx Cup points for the regular season, but he slumped to 95th this year. It’s hard to believe, given that he has made the cut in 15 of his 16 starts this year, but Jacobson knows that you pile up points with top-10 finishes, and he’s got just one. Yes, there have been six top 25s, but those don’t help when you play a minimum of tournaments, and that has been Jacobson’s slim 2012 campaign, for a variety of reasons.
He was hurt early in the year and didn’t start until the Northern Trust Open in Week 7, then he took a few weeks off to rest his back before the U.S. Open. To try and gather European Ryder Cup points, Jacobson took a summer hiatus from the PGA Tour to go to the Scottish Open and Open Championship.
Now he has five weeks off – “my fourth break,” Jacobson said – before he’s eligible again (the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, Oct. 4-7), and he’ll probably sit out a few fall tournaments before the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic (Nov. 8-11), “my fifth break.”
And after that?
Jacobson smiled. “My sixth break,” the offseason.
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WEEKEND WOES: It won’t rate up there with what happened at the U.S. Open or the Open Championship or the PGA Championship, but Tiger Woods’ Saturday and Sunday troubles left him a total afterthought at The Barclays.
It was a bizarre weekend for Woods, who after rounds of 68 and 69 was tied for seventh just three back.
But Saturday, he shot 1-over 72, despite hitting 10 fairways. That’s what happens when you three-putt four times.
And Sunday, needing to make something positive happen, he merely rode a roller-coaster that would have caused motion sickness had you followed him. Bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey is how he started. With pretty much all his hopes finished, Woods made it official with a three-putt from 35 feet to double the par-4 12th.
He shot his highest score of the year, a 76, finished 1-over 285, and tied for 38th, easily his worst-ever finish in 11 playoff tournaments. (Heck, his previous worst was a T-15 at the 2010 BMW Championship.)
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SHORT SHOTS: Rory McIlroy never made a peep after starting his tournament with birdies on three of his first six holes. He closed with a 72 to finish a very quiet T-24. . . . Tim Clark’s stellar play continued when he shot 72 and finished joint 10th. It’s his third top 10 in the last seven starts. In his last four events, he has gone T-15, T-11, second and T-10. . . . Greg Chalmers (ninth) had his first top 10 since the New Orleans stop in 2011. . . . Having never finished top 10 in his brief PGA Tour career, William McGirt has now done so three times in his last five starts. Closing with a 72 to finish at 7-under 281, McGirt was tied for 10th with eight others. . . . Brian Harman birdied the 18th to shoot 71 and finish T-5, his first PGA Tour top 10.