Woody Austin arrived at this week's RBC Canadian Open in a dubious position. Because his victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship was his first cut made of the year and because additional events reward winners with 300 FedExCup points (or 200 fewer than champions of stand-alone non-majors and non-World Golf Championships), he ranks 130th in the FedExCup standings. That's five spots outside the bubble to qualify for the Playoffs.
Despite that, he's fully exempt on the PGA TOUR through 2014-15 and exempt into all of the invitationals next season, including THE PLAYERS Championship. So, as mentioned in this space recently, should he fail to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, he has the option of competing in the Web.com Tour Finals even though finishing first in the series wouldn't grant him status better than what he's already earned. In that instance, Austin's goals would include chasing paychecks and Official World Golf Ranking points as well as keeping his game sharp in advance of the 2013-14 season that begins in October.
In recent memory, no golfer with a victory hasn't failed to fulfill whatever measurement is used to determine fully exempt status, so Austin would go in the books as a footnote if he's the first. That fact is trivial to gamers who value starts, not records.
Look for my four choices for the RBC Canadian Open in PGATOUR.COM's fantasy game in Expert Picks. My one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals will appear in The TOUR Report on Wednesday.
On a Roll
Woody Austin ... The Sanderson Farms Championship winner hasn't played Glen Abbey in competition since finishing T29 in 1999. He ranked inside the top 15 in fairways hit, greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting last week at Annandale, and he possesses the experience of a four-time winner to start it back up again this week.
Matt Jones ... This is the guy with whom you zig when course history buffs zag. His 0-for-2 record at Glen Abbey is enough for some gamers to fade the Aussie, but he's playing some of the best golf of his career right now. Top 10s in his last two starts and eight consecutive rounds in the 60s.
Chad Campbell ... Six consecutive cuts made, including top 20s in three of his last four starts. A T7 at Annandale was a season-best. Posted a T26 in his only appearance at Glen Abbey in 2004.
Rory Sabbatini ... Gamers often prefer the opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle, and the South African provides it. He's traded two top 10s and another top 20 with three missed cuts and a withdrawal in his last seven starts.
Jason Bohn ... Rebounded from an opening 73 at Annandale to finish T9, his best of the season. Four top 25s in his last seven starts.
Jim Herman ... Exactly the kind of rank-and-file torch that can make a difference down the stretch. Posted consecutive career-best finishes the last two weeks and has broken par in his last nine rounds. He's also survived six consecutive cuts.
Troy Matteson ... Progressively better results over his last four tournaments, culminating with a T17 at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he ranked fourth in strokes gained-putting. In fact, he's improved by 0.150 in strokes gained-putting during his recent mini-surge.
Horses for Courses
Nathan Green ... The "defending" champion in that Glen Abbey hasn't hosted since his title here in 2009. Hasn't put four rounds together this season, but he's survived four of his last five cuts and dipped into the 60s eight times during that span.
Billy Horschel ... Proven that he can turn the page as fast as anyone, so last week's missed cut at Muirfield shouldn't rattle him. Ranks 11th in total driving, 25th in both greens hit and strokes gained-putting, and third in par breakers.
Chez Reavie ... The 2008 champ at Glen Abbey would have cracked the Power Rankings if not for a T62 at Annandale on Sunday. Four top 25s in his last eight starts in which he's survived the cut in each.
Bob Estes ... Reliable value here. Four top 15s at Glen Abbey. Sat one off the 54-hole lead in 2009. This year's efficiency has yielded 11 cuts made in 14 starts to rank 98th in FedExCup points.
John Huh ... Leaning on his ball-striking proficiency despite missed cuts the last two weeks. Ranks 23rd in fairways hit and 83rd in greens in regulation. Recently posted top 10s on tight layouts at Colonial and Merion.
Not So Fast
Jim Furyk ... Twice a champion of this tournament, but not at Glen Abbey where his best finish in four appearances is a T14 in 2008. No top 20s in his last eight starts this season.
Luke Donald ... A relative fade. Comes off a forgettable missed cut at The Open Championship, but has just three top 10s on the PGA TOUR this season. Tied for 24th in his only appearance at Glen Abbey in 2009.
Geoff Ogilvy ... His runner-up finish at The Honda Classic remains the only top 30 in his last 14 starts. Hasn't broken par in his last 11 rounds.
Stephen Ames ... The Canadian transplant tied for eighth at Glen Abbey in 2009, but he hasn't logged a top 25 in his last 16 starts. He's missed the cut in his last three.
Scott Piercy ... The defending champ (at Hamilton G&CC) is coming off a second-round 88 at Muirfield and his third straight missed cut. It's his longest drought in over three years.
Kyle Stanley ... He's 0-for-4 since a solo 73rd at the U.S. Open.
Sang-moon Bae ... After his breakthrough win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, he's finished T76 (Colonial) and missed his last four cuts. Hasn't broken par in his last 11 rounds.
Luke Guthrie ... The rookie has missed three straight cuts and hasn't broken par in an opening round in 10 consecutive starts.
Trevor Immelman ... Zero top 35s among three cuts made in his last 12 starts. He's missed six consecutive cuts.
Ricky Barnes ... Riding an 0-for-3 skid. Currently 132nd in FedExCup points despite no top 10s and 14 MCs in 23 starts.
Aaron Baddeley ... Since a T42 at the RBC Heritage, he's missed the cut in all of his 10 starts. Par or better in just five of those 20 rounds.
Back in the Saddle
George McNeill ... Took last week off following a withdrawal after one round in the Quad Cities. An explanation wasn't released. The first-timer at Glen Abbey is 108th in FedExCup points.
Jerry Kelly ... Withdrew on Tuesday. Had set up as a great fit coming off a T4 at the John Deere Classic and a T5 at Glen Abbey in 2009.
Steven Bowditch ... The Aussie has enjoyed a huge month, turning in a T2, T12 and T17 to climb to 113th in the FedExCup standings.
Sean O'Hair ... The 2011 RBC Canadian Open champ at Shaugnessy in Vancouver withdrew after one round of last week's Sanderson Farms Championship. An explanation has not been released. It was his third WD of the season. He's 162nd in FedExCup points.
Bill Lunde ... Earned his way into the field via a top 10 in Mississippi to rise 14 spots in FedExCup points to 178th.
Shawn Stefani ... Withdrew just nine holes into his opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, and then withdrew early from this week's stop in Canada. No information has been released to explain what's wrong and he hasn't revealed anything on Twitter.