Time is running out on the 2013 PGA TOUR season. The clock is ticking for those hoping to secure a 2013-14 TOUR card and a tee time at The Barclays in the FedExCup Playoffs.
At the most, players have four more tournaments to lock up any status they hope to achieve. This week is the RBC Canadian Open. The field then splits between the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and the Reno-Tahoe Open before the PGA Championship and the Wyndham Championship.
Here’s what went down since we last checked in ...
Perhaps one of the most popular first-time winners in recent memory, Ken Duke, took down Chris Stroud in a playoff at the Travelers Championship. Stroud handled himself very well in coming up just short, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised if he broke through in the near future.
Bill Haas took down the field at Congressional to win the AT&T National after a number of close calls earlier this season. Roberto Castro popped up to finish second while D.H. Lee and Jason Kokrak turned plenty of heads on a solid track.
Jonas Blixt was going through a sophomore slump after winning in his rookie season, and then he stepped foot on The Old White TPC. Maybe a bigger surprise than that was the emergence of Steven Bowditch as one of four runners-up.
The John Deere Classic saw Jordan Spieth break out of a playoff with Zach Johnson and David Hearn for his “long-awaited” first PGA TOUR win. The relevance to that breakthrough was his ability to go back and gather up the bounty of FedExCup points that he stored away throughout the season as a Special Temporary Member. Now that the calculator has cooled, he currently finds himself 12th in the FEC standings.
In what may be the biggest win of his Hall of Fame career, Phil Mickelson captured the Claret Jug at Muirfield in his 20th attempt to win The Open Championship. He referred to his final-round 66 as the best of his career, and he was clearly moved by the victory. In my humble opinion, this win was a game-changer as to Lefty’s place in the history of the game.
The Sanderson Farms Championship featured a playoff between Woody Austin, Cameron Beckman and Daniel Summerhays. Austin and Beckman shared two things in common -- neither had made a cut in a PGA TOUR event in 2013 and both are multiple TOUR winners. Summerhays was arguably the hottest guy in the field that week. So who walked away with the title? Austin. And he still hasn’t cracked my top 125.
Knowing the above, we’ve reached the point in the season to where the current FedExCup Standings has to be the leading measure of where players will finish the season. In particular, there isn’t much time for a player’s standing to fall very far in the wrong direction.
Last year, 363 points served as the cutoff for the 125th spot. That is still a nice aiming point, but there’s a chance it could take a little more than that this time around. Already, 112 guys have eclipsed that point total and the 125th spot is currently occupied by Brad Fritsch with 323 points.
Here we go:
Rank Golfer (Previous Rank) Comment
1 Tiger Woods (1) Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar are within striking distance, but solid weeks at the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship should put Woods out of reach.
2 Matt Kuchar (2) I’m banking on him slipping back ahead of Mickelson.
3 Phil Mickelson (8) Lefty won the Claret Jug, and now I have to wonder how much the fire will burn the rest of the season.
4 Brandt Snedeker (6) He’s flirting with playing some really good golf again, so don’t be surprised if he’s a factor to win for the second time this season at either the RBC Canadian Open or the PGA Championship.
5 Justin Rose (5) Not much competitive golf in the last few weeks, but could make noise in several of the remaining venues.
6 Billy Horschel (3) He’s come back to earth since his win in New Orleans, finishing T30 or worse in his last three starts.
7 Jason Day (4) The fade isn’t a lack of confidence in him, rather he’s running out of time to move much higher than this from his current FedExCup standing of 10th.
8 Bill Haas (26) Win at Congressional has him currently in seventh and his season trend suggests that he will pop up in a big way on one more leaderboard.
9 Adam Scott (7) If he played 22 PGA TOUR tournaments a year he would be top five, but just doesn’t play the schedule.
10 Jordan Spieth (NR) Hello and welcome, rookie!
11 Hunter Mahan (14) While winning majors is a problem, he’s won the WGC-Bridgestone and WGC-Accenture Match Play so watch out for him at Firestone next week.
12 Keegan Bradley (12) While he’s only played the PGA Championship twice, he’s got a win and a T3. Also defending at the WGC-Bridgestone. Could be a big August.
13 Henrik Stenson (40) He’s back. All the way back.
14 Webb Simpson (9) Hard to count on him week-to-week, but hard to count him out over the long haul.
15 Harris English (18) Hasn’t missed a cut since his win and has back-to-back ties for 15th including at Muirfield.
16 Boo Weekley (11) No top 25s since his win at Colonial in May.
17 Kevin Streelman (13) Fading hard, missing four cuts before a T44 at the John Deere and a T79 at The Open Championship.
18 Graeme McDowell (15) Jeez, if this guy could convert a few missed cuts to top 25s. Four top fives and four missed cuts in 10 starts.
19 Dustin Johnson (16) Not that great of a record at Firestone CC, but it feels like he’s due for a nice week soon.
20 Jimmy Walker (31) Very nearly broke through for the first win at The Greenbrier Classic and has put himself in contention numerous times this year.
21 Lee Westwood (17) We will find out soon enough how he responds to his latest major disappointment.
22 Russell Henley (22) Hasn’t played poorly, but all of his events coming in will be against stacked fields. Hard to see him moving up.
23 Steve Stricker (20) Currently 21st in FEC points and it’s reasonable to think he plays the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship, but we never know.
24 Charles Howell III (21) He’s been a slow fade of late with no top 10s since the Wells Fargo.
25 Chris Kirk (30) Performed to expectations with a top 10 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, which is a good barometer headed into the end of the year.
26 Luke Donald (19) At 58th in the current FEC standings, this big of a jump might be a reach but he should get three more starts before the Playoffs.
27 Charl Schwartzel (24) Cracking top 15s in the last two majors, he’s teeing it up in Canada in advance of the WGC-Bridgestone and PGA.
28 Martin Laird (33) Made his last six cuts and has evolved into a steady option as the year has progressed.
29 Graham DeLaet (64) The Canadian will have plenty of pressure on him at his national championship. Oh, and so much for him staying under the radar so we could catch him on the cheap next year!
30 D.A. Points (25) This is simple math. Currently at 18th, he doesn’t have time to fall any further than this.
31 Zach Johnson (42) Peaking with a P2 at the Deere and a nice performance at Muirfield.
32 Scott Stallings (23) He’s cooling off at a time where the fields will only get deeper.
33 Ken Duke (93) Expect a drop off following his breakthrough win. Currently 24th in the FEC standings.
34 Chris Stroud (96) Gave Duke all he could handle down the stretch at the Travelers and seems in the right frame of mind to pick off his first win sooner rather than later.
35 Angel Cabrera (58) Known mainly as a big-game player, he’s enjoyed more consistency this season than he does in most.
36 Bubba Watson (34) Had a real chance to win at TPC River Highlands, but a late collapse and a very public dressing down of his caddy saw him wind up in fourth.
37 David Lingmerth (45) The rookie won’t go away and seems to be picking up steam. Reminds me of John Huh’s rookie year, just without the win. Yet.
38 Kevin Chappell (55) His peaks and his valleys in 2013 have both been higher than we’ve seen in the past, which is an excellent trend.
39 Rickie Fowler (36) A mild surprise by missing the cut at Muirfield, the fields don’t get much easier.
40 John Rollins (27) Currently 50th in the FEC standings, his streaky and unpredictable nature still allows for another moderate move.
41 David Hearn (67) Much like Stroud, his runner-up in a playoff at the John Deere Classic bumped him up the list of guys who should capture a trophy soon.
42 Jonas Blixt (NR) He’s beginning to remind me of Brian Gay. His putter is deadly when on, and if the ball-striking catches a decent week he could run the tables.
43 Sang-moon Bae (32) Missed his last four cuts and overall on a fast slide since his win at the Byron Nelson.
44 Charley Hoffman (60) Enjoying one of his better seasons with five top 10s. Currently 45th in the FEC standings and should hang around that number entering the Playoffs.
45 Rory McIlroy (10) He’s 55th in the FEC standings today, so this is just projecting a moderate move. It’s likely we see him at the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship before the Playoffs.
46 John Merrick (50) This is just trying to figure out how much further he can fall mathematically before The Barclays.
47 Ryan Palmer (41) Form is slipping, so a drop from 39th to the late 40s with some stronger fields awaiting seems likely.
48 Nick Watney (43) No top 10s since the Wells Fargo, but a nice week at Firestone isn’t out of the question.
49 Matt Jones (78) Scared his first win with a T2 at The Old White TPC, having arguably his best PGA TOUR season this year.
50 Ryan Moore (47) Secured a late tee time at The Open Championship, but didn’t cash in. First TOUR win was at the 2009 Wyndham, so keep an eye on him there.