For golfers on FedEx Cup bubble, there's nothing but upside at TPC Boston

NORTON, MA - AUGUST 30: Adam Scott of Australia and his Pro Am partners walk down the second hole during the Pro Am event prior to the start of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on August 30, 2018 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) Andrew Redington/Getty Images

For golfers on FedEx Cup bubble, there's nothing but upside at TPC Boston

PGA Tour

For golfers on FedEx Cup bubble, there's nothing but upside at TPC Boston

NORTON, Mass. – The heat was on once again at TPC Boston on Thursday as players made their final preparations for Round 2 of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the Dell Technologies Championship.

One hundred players qualified for the event on the basis of being No. 100 or better on the FedEx Cup point list, but only the top 70 will move on and play next week at Aronimink Golf Club in the BMW Championship.

Any golfer who is ranked No. 71 or above who misses the cut will be finished for the year, and that includes Matt Kuchar (No. 74), Charley Hoffman (No. 75), Jamie Lovemark (No. 79) and J.B. Holmes (No. 80).

You might think that playing with the pressure of knowing your season could end in 48 hours unless you play well would make guys on the bubble nervous or edgy, but that’s not the case.

Everyone here wants to be the mix on Monday, they want to win, but every player in the field has already secured his PGA Tour card for next season.

Everyone has also made a lot of money. The player who enters this week at No. 100, and therefore faces the biggest challenge, is Jason Dufner and he earned $1,497,655 in official prize money this season. Brian Stuard has won the least prize money of any player in the field and he still made $1,035,200.

Russell Knox is well aware that he enters this week ranked No. 93, but when he was asked what he needs to do to qualify for the BMW Championship, he said he has no clue.

“I mean, I care, but I know that it’s going to have to be top 15 or 10 or something like that,” he said. “I’ve done that twice around here, so it’s not going to take a miracle. I’ve just got to play steady. I expect to do it.”

Knox’s gut is right on, as the PGA Tour’s stats department estimates that he’ll need a top-13 finish in order to crack the top 70.

Scott Stallings is in the 94th position, but his mind is focused on long-term goals, not an abrupt end to his season.

“Don’t you have to play well every week?” he asked after working on his driving and wedge game Thursday. “You can’t let outside situations affect how you go about your week. Often you’ll see guys take a small loss for a greater gain. Like, I just made a pretty significant change in my putting the last few weeks. I know it’s going to be a process, but it has the potential for big returns.”

You might not think that the playoffs would be a time when guys like Stallings start tinkering with swing changes or new gear, but it’s happening.

Dufner, who does not have an equipment contract, changed into a new set of Ping iBlade irons last week at the Northern Trust. Kevin Chappell, No. 88 on the FedEx Cup point list, probably needs at top-14 finished to extend his season, but he has been testing a new set of Mizuno JPX 919 Tour irons and they might go into play on Friday. Holmes switched into a new Scotty Cameron Concept X putter this week.

The point is, with job security established for the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, players who are on the FedEx Cup bubble just don’t feel the pressure you might think.

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