The Deutsche Bank Championship is half over, the third and fourth rounds to be played on Sunday and its traditional Labor Day finish on Monday. Jason Day and Ryan Palmer are tied for the lead at 8-under with Day shooting 3-under to get there and Ryan treading water from yesterday. They have a one-shot lead over two players, Matt Kuchar and Billy Horschel.
A lot is going on this week. First of all, there are the Playoffs and the FedExCup all rolled into one. 100 players were eligible to play this week. Of those, 94 showed up (all except Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner). Their goal for the week is to play well enough to move into the top 70 players eligible for next week’s BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado.
80 players made the cut of the 93 remaining (Pat Perez withdrew with a bulging disc). So there will be another secondary cut after the third round to low 70 and ties. Those missing the secondary cut will get credit for an MDF (made cut, did not finish) and a check for making the first cut.
Aside from winning this tournament — those remaining players going into next week are probably all playing one step at a time — the next goal beyond that is to get into the top 30 for the Tour Championship and FedExCup at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. And in the best circumstance, into the top 5 because anybody in the top 5 who wins the Tour Championship automatically wins the $10 million FedExCup.
And then there’s the concurrent drama over which additional three players Tom Watson will pick to fill out the 12-man Ryder Cup team. As I wrote yesterday, the players in the 10 to 12 spots in the points list are Jason Dufner, Ryan Moore and Brendon Todd. Dufner has neck problems, Moore is playing uninspiring golf this week (T50) and Todd missed the cut.
So that leaves the following possibilities and their current status in the Deutsche Bank:
13. Keegan Bradley – T5
14. Chris Kirk – T17
15. Webb Simpson – T5
16. Harris English – Missed the cut
17. Kevin Na – Missed the cut
18. Ryan Palmer – T1
19. Matt Every – T33
20. Brandt Snedeker – Missed the cut
25. Hunter Mahan – T63 and won last week
26. J.B. Holmes – T70
27. Kevin Streelman – T23
28. Bill Haas – T5
29. Steve Stricker – Named Captain’s Assistant, out of the Playoffs
33. Russell Henley – T5
35. Billy Horschel – T3
Keegan Bradley did a pretty good job of talking in yesterday’s post about how omnipresent making the team has been for him. Some of the players on this list would be dark horses in that race, but there’s not a one of them that has completely given up on getting the call from Tom Watson.
Those kinds of calls define careers.
Besides, as Hunter Mahan said last week in his Barclay’s victory media session, “I think Geoff Ogilvy had the best quote on team events: It’s the most fun you’ll ever have [in golf], until you figure out you’re going to lose.”