We have arrived at the first intermission of four tournaments that 125 players have entered in to compete for a chance to hold the FedEx Cup trophy. Now that the first tournament is finished, only 100 players will fly to Boston this week and fight for a chance to be in the top-70 of the FedEx Cup standings. And while Tiger Woods continues to struggle on the weekends, here are a few more things to think about before taking your seat for the second act of Golf’s famous drama.
This past weekend’s tournament tested players in multiple ways. Throughout the week, we knew that the weather was going to be hot and dry, and that the greens would be quick and challenging. Even with all of these factors though, we still had our fair share of low scores and amazing shots. So what have we learned so far in the playoffs?
First we learned that it appears Sergio Garcia has found his golf game once again. The 32 year-old Spaniard has been questioned on several occasions this year about his mental state when he goes out onto the golf course. This year, after The Masters, he was quoted as saying that he doesn’t know if he is good enough to play with the other players on tour. Well, after his last two starts, I would say he definitely belongs in the conversation for elite players on tour. In his last two starts he has a win and a top-five finish – which looked like another victory after Sergio went into the final round with a two-shot lead over eventual winner Nick Watney. Either way, Sergio Garcia has gone from no wins and only one top-10 finish, to a win and two top-10 finishes over the last two weeks.
Next, we learned that Nick Watney has found his putting stroke this past weekend. The 2012 champion jumped from 49th in the FedEx Cup standings all the way to No. 1, all because of how he used his putter. The young champion came into the playoffs ranked 120th on tour in total putting, but was ranked 11th in the field on average putts per round. While he was tied for 32nd among the field, Watney was 1st and 3rd in number of eagles and birdies during the tournament. Overall, Watney presented a strong case to U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III that he should be with his fellow countrymen in late September.
Finally, we learned that the Rory McIlroy-Tiger Woods rivalry will be a fun one to watch. Anyone who listened to Rory McIlroy’s press conference before the tournament should be really excited about the Ryder Cup this year. Even though it was said in a joking manner, ever since McIlroy said that he would love to kick Tiger’s ass, the entire golf world has been talking about finally seeing these two square off. Whether he was joking or not, this year’s Ryder Cup is going to be one for the ages.
Should Tiger Woods hang up the Red Shirt?
Another tournament gone, and another missed weekend opportunity for the great Tiger Woods. Woods again was in position to make a move on the weekend after posting a 68 and a 69 Thursday and Friday, and again collapsed over the last two days. Tiger, who fought a back injury all weekend, posted a 72 on Saturday and a season high 76 on Sunday after failing to figure out the greens. Tiger ranked T-50th for greens hit in regulation, and T-32nd for average putts per round.
He was +6 on the weekend.
His short game struggles continue to come out on the weekends, and if he wants to have any chance of winning the FedEx Cup he needs to figure out what he’s doing wrong.
Player who made the biggest move, but still has a lot to prove:
There were a lot of players relieved to make the first cut. However, there is one player who not only made the cut, but also put himself in a good position to continue that momentum past the next cut as well. Jason Day is a 24 year-old golfer from Australia who has created a name for himself. He went into the Barclays ranked 113th in the FedEx Cup standings needing to make a move, and came out of this weekend ranked 88th. His next goal is to jump at least 18 more spots to get to the top-70. This will be Jason Day’s fourth FedEx Cup playoff and he has yet to miss the third round. Day’s year has been a rough one however, as he has competed in only 14 events and has only made the top-10 in three of them. Despite a going without a win to this point in the season, if we learned anything from Nick Watney’s win it is that anything is possible come playoff time.