It’s hard to argue that the FedEx Cup playoffs don’t do what they were intended to do, which is attract great players and produce great winners. When Henrik Stenson won the Deutsche Bank Championship ranked 10th in the world, it meant that a top-20 player has won five consecutive FEC playoffs and they’ve won 17 of the 26 since they began in 2007.
And for strength-of-field chatter, consider that 15 of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking are headed for the BMW Championship and of the top 30 in the OWGR, 21 are still in the playoffs.
The highest-ranked player not in the playoffs is No. 21 Louis Oosthuizen, who failed to qualify, with injuries a big part of that reason.
The highest ranked player who took part in the playoffs but is now eliminated is No. 37 Bo Van Pelt.
• • •
WERE IN, NOW OUT: Seven players began the Deutsche Bank Championship inside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings, but didn’t play well enough and thus won’t be going on to the third playoff, the BMW Championship.
Ryan Palmer fell from 60th to 71st, finishing just .47 out of the final spot; Freddie Jacobson 61st to 72nd; Martin Laird 63rd to 74th; David Lingmerth 64th to 75th; Kyle Stanley 66th to 77th; Cameron Tringale 69th to 79th; Tim Clark 70th to 80th.
• • •
WERE OUT, NOW IN: To fill the void, these seven players went to TPC Boston outside the top 70 but played well and earned a spot into the BMW Championship.
Kevin Stadler, 75th to 32nd; Brian Davis 80th to 49th; Ian Poulter 77th to 52nd; Marc Leishman 76th to 58th; Nicholas Thompson 73rd to 59th; Brendan Steele 89th to 69th; and Ernie Els 91st to 70th.
While Els has now qualified for all seven BMWs since the playoffs began, Stadler and Steele will be making it this far for just the second time.
Poulter, meanwhile, will need a massive effort this week if he’s to earn his first berth into the Tour Championship.
• • •
HE’S A SPRINTER? True, Stadler doesn’t look the part, but he sure has spent these playoffs charging out of the gates. The thing is, while he opened with a 64 and then fizzled at The Barclays (eventual T-43 finish), Stadler used that same number to open the DBC and he maintained the pressure to finish joint fourth.
It has allowed Stadler to make up significant ground – 55 spots, from 87th at the start to 32nd – but he’s not alone.
Bryce Molder and Jason Kokrak have used steady, if not overwhelming, play to come from further back than Stadler. Molder started the playoffs 98th, but is now 66th, while Kokrak began 95th and is presently 64th.
• • •
COLD SPELL: Tiger Woods’ T-65 at the Deutsche Bank Championship was his worst finish in 16 playoff tournaments. He was T-38 at the 2012 Barclays, but in his other 14 starts he’s been no worse than joint 11th.
But while it won’t match his drought in the major championships – it’s at 18 – he’s gone 10 playoffs without a victory, after having won three of his first six starts.
• • •
ELSEWHERE ON THE FEC STAGE: Jason Day has now made the cut in all 17 playoffs in which he’s started . . . . . In 21 playoffs, Zach Johnson has but three top 10s, two at the Tour Championship . . . . . Jason Dufner is now 52 under in his last five starts at the Deutsche Bank Championship, shooting in the 60s 14 of 20 times . . . . . On the flip side, Bubba Watson has played in all seven DBCs since the playoffs began, but his best finish is a T-16 and he’s just 15 under in 24 rounds, with two missed cuts . . . . . Charles Howell III has but one top 10 in 20 playoffs.
• • •
FATHER’S DAY IN AUGUST? It is when you have the special experience that belonged to Chris Tuten, an equipment rep out on the PGA Tour for the Acushnet Company.
With the FedEx Cup playoffs having settled at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., Tuten used the opportunity to invite his father, Henry, up from Jacksonville, Fla., to enjoy some New England flavor. It included a round of golf at one of the country’s storied clubs, Newport CC in Newport, R.I., and as if that weren’t enough of a treat, Chris Tuten made their first trip there an unforgettable experience.
He aced the par-3 14th hole.
“One-hopped it in the hole,” said Henry, who was going to celebrate his 85th birthday during the trip. Proud of his own shot onto the green to make par, Henry Tuten had a big smile for his son’s accomplishment. And let the record show it was a sturdy feat, for the 14th, already tough enough at 182 yards, was playing into a stiff breeze so Chris Tuten used a 3-hybird.
It’s not the first time father and son of have shared a golf memory. Henry Tuten won the Jacksonville City Championship back in 1971 and Chris Tuten did likewise exactly 20 years later.
• • •
THEY WENT TO WORK, BUT GOT TO PLAY: Carrying a golf bag is what they do for work, but Mike “Fluff” Cowan, Jim “Bones” Mackay, and Joe LaCava – closely associated with Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, and Woods, respectively – were willing to do it on a day off, too.
In the name of charity.
Then Kevin Smith had an idea. He would honor his winning bid in an auction to have Cowan, Mackay and LaCava join him and his guests for a round of golf – but with a twist. Smith asked the caddies to play, not work.
“It was a cool thing for him to do,” said Mackay, who joined Cowan and LaCava for a round at Boston Golf Club in Hingham, Mass., Tuesday of the Deutsche Bank Championship. “We had a blast.”
Andy Lano – who during his career as a caddie worked for Kenny Perry, Chez Reavie, and Michelle Wie, among others – joined his former colleagues as part of the auction item that benefited a scholarship fund that honors Lano’s father, who died in 2011.
Smith, who like Lano and Cowen hails from Maine, is a member at BGC where he was joined by several guests and the four caddies for a day of golf that earned high marks – and serious money for a great cause.
• • •
RANDOM THOUGHTS: A par 4 of wonderment, curiosities and intrigue as the NFL takes advantage of the PGA Tour’s off week to start its season:
• So, Dennis Rodman in his self-appointed role of Ambassador to Korea is off to that nation for a second time to meet with his friend, Kim Jong Un. Sounds like the PGA Tour might have a potential captain for the American team at the 2015 Presidents Cup.
• Woods is named Player of the Month for August. Has to take the sting out of not winning a major this year, eh?
• Pretty sure it was just a few years ago when folks were writing about American players leaving these shores and joining the European Tour instead. Too late for a retraction?
• Graham DeLaet and Henrik Stenson are in quite a battle. No, not for the FedEx Cup title, but to be No. 1 in “hang time.” That’s right, the PGA Tour actually keeps track of hang time, or how long one’s golf ball is in the air off the tee. In 62 measured attempts, DeLaet averages 6.9 seconds, same as Stenson, who is there in just 20 measured attempts. Methinks the winner gets the Ray Guy Award.
• • •
BREAK TIME: Starting the FedEx Cup playoffs in 45th place, David Lingmerth had designs on adding even more polish to his rookie season. Instead, he played himself into an early offseason.
After withdrawing following the first round of The Barclays and missing the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Lingmerth tumbled outside the top 70 and is not advancing to the BMW. He is, however, taking stock of a positive season, one that saw him earn $1.7m and finish 38th on the money list.
“Just need to freshen up my mind a little bit and get away from (golf), because it’s been real frustrating the last few weeks,” said the 26-year-old. “Just need to get in a new positive state of mind and leave all this behind me.”
With wedding plans for November and a 2013-14 season starting in October, Lingmerth certainly has plenty on his plate once he gets his rest.