How upside-down has the PGA Tour season been? Consider we’re 24 tournaments into the FedEx Cup campaign, only 17 remain to gather points and casual fans might not recognize the majority of the top 30 names in the current standings.
In fact, if the field for the Tour Championship were to be drawn now from the top 30 names in the FEC standings, only nine would have been involved in last year’s finale: Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Graham DeLaet, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley and Gary Woodland.
Many notable players who made it to East Lake last summer are well down in the standings. In fact, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 from the final 2013 FEC standings – Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, respectively – sit 91st, 204th and 164th, respectively.
Other marquee names: Adam Scott, fourth a year ago, is 51st; Phil Mickelson (ninth) is 95th, Justin Rose (10th) is 63rd. Among the players who made it to East Lake last fall but could improve their present standing: Luke Donald (32nd), Bill Haas (33rd), Sergio Garcia (38th), Hunter Mahan (53rd), Jim Furyk (57th), Billy Horschel (68th), Kevin Streelman (70th), Jason Dufner (72nd), Boo Weekley (77th), Charl Schwartzel (84th), Brandt Snedeker (98th) and Nick Watney (121st).
Brendon de Jonge (107th), Roberto Castro (146th) and D.A. Points (172nd) also could use a big boost.
The present FEC standings include three players inside the top 30 who weren’t even in the playoffs a year ago: Will MacKenzie (15th), Seung-Yul Noh (16th) and Kevin Na (17th).
Last week’s tournament is another example: Of those in serious contention entering the fourth round of last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, only Bradley had won on the PGA Tour. That was enough to consider his chances in a positive light, but squandering that opportunity with a closing 75 and tie for eighth place that cut even deeper.
Bradley let a golden chance slip by regarding his Ryder Cup quest. Having entered the week 19th in the standings, Bradley stood a great chance to roar inside the top nine. Instead, he tossed away a lot of money and advanced just one spot, to 18th.
Bradley knows where he stands but is trying not to dwell on it.
“It makes me crazy,” he said. “I know I’ve got work to do, as do a lot of players. There is nothing I want to do more than playing for Tom Watson in the Ryder Cup. I can’t look . . . but I want to know. It’s a tough spot to be in.”