At the conclusion of this week’s BMW Championship, only 30 of the 70 golfers that played this event will remain in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The fields have been slowly whittling their way down from the 125 that began The Barclays in a quest for the $10 million awarded to the playoff champion.
The host course for the penultimate playoff event is Conway Farms in Illinois. The course opened in 1991 and has been on a steady rise in terms of stature since that time. The 7,216 yard par 71 has been prominent in the amateur game, but its status as host to the BMW Championship should garner some recognition in the professional ranks, as well.
Thanks to his victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Swede Henrik Stenson was able to leapfrog Tiger Woods and claim possession of the top spot in the rankings, with Woods moving out of first place for the first time since March. Jordan Spieth, fresh off of becoming one of the captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup, will look to improve his 10th place ranking and secure a spot in the TOUR Championship.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy will need another solid performance if he hopes to crack the top 30 from his current position at 41. The Ulsterman hasn’t been able to replicate his dominance from last year, but those are difficult shoes to fill. Even still, his 2013 season hasn’t been as awful as analysts would have you believe. He’s had some difficult finding fairways and on the greens, but his all-around ranking is still 21st. He’ll need to improve on his 47th place finish if he hopes to advance, however.
Things really get down to brass tacks this week. Less than half of this field will move on to play for grand prize next week. The top 19 in the current FedEx Cup standings are all but assured of a spot in next week’s field, but they won’t be resting on their laurels. Even those guaranteed entry into the TOUR Championship will be looking to improve their position this week.