Golf This Week: All eyes on Atlanta finish
MARK LAMPORT-STOKES, Reuters
Published on Thursday, May. 23, 2013 05:13PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012 02:49PM EDT
ATLANTA - Jim Furyk knows what it is like to clinch FedExCup honours but even he is not certain what he needs to do to repeat his 2010 triumph at this week’s Tour Championship.
An elite field of 30 players will tee off in Thursday’s opening round at East Lake Golf Club where the lucrative PGA Tour event is on the line along with a staggering $10 million bonus for securing the season-long playoff title.
Furyk landed both honours two years ago but this week he lies 18th in the FedExCup points standings and would need a lot of help from higher-ranked players to pull off a repeat double.
“Nope, I have no idea,” he told reporters on Tuesday when asked if he was fully versed in what he needed to do to emulate his 2010 FedExCup success. “I know I would have to win (the Tour Championship), and a lot of (other) things would have to happen. But I’m never really worried about that.
“I had two or three friends try to text me, ‘do you know what you have to do?’ No. It’s hard enough winning a golf tournament. I can’t control the rest.”
For Furyk to complete the ‘double’ this week, he would need to win the Tour Championship and, among several other requirements, top-ranked Rory McIlroy would have to finish 12th or worse and second-ranked Tiger Woods fifth or worse.
“Two years ago I was (ranked) 11th (going into the Tour Championship) and needed a little work,” added Furyk, who triumphed by one shot at East Lake in 2010. “But (this week) those top 10 to 12 guys probably have a really good opportunity.
“Then past that, it’s going to take a lot of help because the guys that are up there at the top have been playing very well.”
Any of the top five players in the standings would secure FedExCup honours by winning this week’s Tour Championship - and that quintet comprises Northern Irishman McIlroy and Americans Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.
“It’s hard to imagine Rory not being in contention this week as well as he’s been playing,” Furyk said of the world number one who has claimed the last two playoff events.
“All we can do is really worry about our game and try to get ourselves in position to try to win a golf tournament this week.”
McIlroy has never previously competed at East Lake but the game’s leading player is oozing confidence after winning three times in his last four starts.
“I’m confident in my ability and confident with the shots that I’m hitting and confident on the greens,” the 23-year-old said after triumphing by two shots at the BMW Championship in Carmel, Indiana, nine days ago.
“I’m making the right decisions out there, and everything is really just going to plan at the minute. It’s a nice run to be on, and I want to try and keep it going for as long as possible.
“The last four weeks, five weeks have been incredible, some of the best golf that I’ve ever played.”
Only 30 players have qualified for the last of the four playoff events after 125 started out at the Barclays tournament won by Watney at Bethpage Black last month.
Each of those 30 has a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup, with the points having been reset since the BMW Championship. However that likelihood diminishes the lower down the standings the player lies going into this week’s event.
Scott Piercy, the reigning RBC Canadian Open champion and ranked 30th heading into the event, needs to win the Tour Championship with overall points leader McIlroy finishing no better than 29th, along with several other scenarios - Tiger Woods finishing in a three-way tie for sixth or worse; Nick Watney finishing in a four way tie for third or worse; Phil Mickelson finishing tied for third or worse; Brandt Snedeker finishing in a three way tie for second or worse; and Louis Oosthuizen finishing tied for second or worse.
THIS WEEK IN GOLF
PGA TOUR - TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: East Lake Golf Club (7,319 yards, par 70).
PURSE: $8 million. Winner's share: $1.44 million. (Plus $10-million FedEx bonus)
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.; Saturday, 6-11 a.m., noon-2 p.m., 7:30-11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7-11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 7-11:30 p.m.) and NBC (Saturday, 2-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-6 p.m.).
NOTES: The top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings qualified for the event. The top five — Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker — can take the $10 million FedEx Cup prize with a victory. The other 25 players have a chance to win the playoff title with a victory, but would need help from the players at the top of the standings. ...McIlroy has won the last two FedEx Cup events and has four PGA Tour wins this year. ...Bill Haas won the playoff finale last year and the FedExCup to take home $11.44 million, beating Hunter Mahan on the third hole of a playoff. Haas won't be around to defend after failing to qualify for this year's tournament.
LPGA TOUR - NAVISTAR LPGA CLASSIC
COURSE: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, The Senator (6,460 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $1.3 million. Winner's share: $195,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2-5 p.m.).
OH CANADA: Isabelle Beisiegel, Kirby Dreher, Lorie Kane, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Samantha Richdale, Alena Sharp,
NOTES: Jiyai Shin, who has won the last two events including the Women's British Open by a record nine strokes last weekend, is skipping this tournament. Top-ranked Yani Tseng is in the field along with second-ranked Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie. ...Lexi Thompson won last year's event to become the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history at the age of 16. That record has since been broken by 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko, who captured the CN Canadian Women's Open last month.
WEB.COM TOUR - WNB GOLF CLASSIC
COURSE: Midland Country Club (7,380 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $550,000. Winner's share: $99,000.
OH CANADA: Stuart Anderson, Bryan DeCorso, Brad Fritsch, Adam Hadwin, James Love (Ryan Yip-Alternate)
NOTES: With six events remaining in the season, Fritsch sits 26th on the Tour's money list. He is $2,955 shy of 25th spot which he needs in order to earn his PGA Tour card for 2013.
SYMETRA TOUR - VIDALIA CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: Hawk's Point Golf Club, Vidalia, Ga.
OH CANADA: Angela Buzminski, Sara-Maude Juneau, Sue Kim, Melissa Mabanta, Danielle Mills, Nicole Vandermade, Jessica Wallace
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE TOUR - ALLIANZ GOLF OPEN
COURSE: Metropole Golf de Toulouse-Seilh, Seilh, France
OH CANADA: Andrew Parr
eGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR- CABARRUS CLASSIC
COURSE: Cabarrus Country Club, Concord, N.C.
OH CANADA: Cam Burke, Michael Gonko, Matt Hill, Mackenzie Hughes, Ryan Terdik
Crowne Plaza Invt. at Colonial