As we delve deeper into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, we are whittling the fields down to the cream of the proverbial crop. Only the top 100 golfers in the standings qualify for the Deutsche Bank Championship and only 70 of those will advance to the BMW Championship next week. Also, the further we progress, the fewer players will be skipping events because they know they are in danger of being eliminated if they don’t compete. Every one of the top 100 golfers is slated to play this week.
As is the custom in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, golfers are grouped together in the first two rounds based upon their ranking. That leads to some interesting combinations and a lot of firepower. Tiger Woods retained his top spot with a gutsy performance at The Barclays. It’s not certain whether or not those back issues will keep Woods from playing at TPC Boston. This week, Adam Scott (2) and Phil Mickelson (3) jumped into the top group. Scott won at Liberty National Golf Club while Mickelson came out of nowhere on Sunday to finish tied for sixth. (Friday 8:40 am from the 10th tee, Saturday 1:10 pm from the first tee.)
Mickelson and Scott grabbed spots in this week’s top group from Matt Kuchar (4) and Brandt Snedeker (6). They’ll be playing alongside fifth ranked Justin Rose for the first two rounds. Snedeker desperately needs to get things going as he missed the cut last week for the second consecutive event. Kuchar, who was in contention for much of the week, screwed the pooch with a final round 78. Rose missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole that would have gotten him into a playoff. This group has a lot to put behind them if they hope to contend this week. (Friday 1:10 pm from the first tee, Saturday 8:40 am from the first tee.)
Gary Woodland (10) was one of the biggest movers thanks to his showing at The Barclays – he jumped from 60th to 10th with his tie for second. He is almost certainly still flying high, but will that carry over to this event? He’ll be playing with local favorite Keegan Bradley (11), who is a native New Englander and is sure to be a crowd favorite. Also in the group is Kevin Streelman (12) who moved up one spot in the rankings with a solid tie for 19th. Streelman is probably one of the most underrated golfers in the top 20, but another strong showing will change that.