Bubble: Five to watch at TPC Deere RunMatt Jones has two top-5 finishes at TPC Deere Run, but he also has two tough Playoffs misses.July 10, 2012
Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
With the FedExCup Playoffs just around the corner, PGATOUR.COM will take a look each week at a group of players who are on the bubble (outside the top 100) for the 125 available spots at the Playoff-opening Barclays from Aug. 23-26. Click here for complete and up-to-date FedExCup standings.
Nearly 100 players in this week's field, 95 to be exact, are on the FedExCup bubble -- outside the top 100 in the standings. Exactly half of the field (78 of 156 players) currently are ranked outside the top 125 in the standings.
Expect some movement around the bubble this week as competitors jockey for positions inside the 125-man FedExCup Playoffs that get under way in just six weeks.
The John Deere Classic offers ample opportunity to players on the FedExCup bubble. TPC Deere Run's birdie-friendly layout (ranked as the second-easiest par-71 in the Regular Season last year) can help a struggling golfer gain the confidence he needs to make a push for the Playoffs.
A year ago, Chez Reavie came to the John Deere Classic after missing three cuts in his previous five starts with no finishes inside the top 40. A tie for fifth at TPC Deere Run lifted Reavie from 126th to 94th in the standings and he never looked back, posting seven top-30 finishes in his next nine starts through The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Reavie finished 10th in the FedExCup standings last year.
Kyle Stanley, a runner-up last year, earned his first top 10 of 2011 at TPC Deere Run. He added two more before the end of the Playoffs, going from 94th in the FedExCup standings prior to the John Deere Classic to No. 34 by season's end.
Troy Kelly Current FedExCup rank: 104th
Projected change with a win: +75 | Top 10: +22 | Top 25: +14
What a difference a week has made for Troy Kelly. A week ago, he was 187th in FedExCup points with Playoffs hopes growing slimmer by the week. Now with his first career top-30 finish on the resume -- a runner-up at The Greenbrier Classic -- Kelly projects to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. If he carries his momentum into this week at TPC Deere Run, Kelly could lock up a spot in the Playoffs with five weeks remaining on the schedule.
Boo Weekley Current FedExCup rank: 112th
Projected change with a win: +82 | Top 10: +20 | Top 25: +10
Weekley's last top-25 finish came in April, but what better place for the outdoorsman to get back on track than a course named TPC Deere Run? Weekley has only teed it up in this event twice, posting 9-under and 11-under totals in his 2002 and 2010 starts respectively. Still an excellent tee-to-green player (Ranks 2nd on TOUR in total driving and 21st in GIR), Weekley's putter will likely determine his Playoffs fate.
Jerry Kelly Current FedExCup rank: 120th
Projected change with a win: +87 | Top 10: +16 | Top 25: +8
While Steve Stricker is the headliner this week for obvious reasons, fellow cheesehead Jerry Kelly's track record at this event is nothing to sneeze at. In six starts between 1999 and 2011, he has five top-30 finishes and a missed cut in last year's edition. Look for Kelly, who tied for 12th last week to move back inside the FedExCup top 125, to try and make another move up the ranks in an event contested just three hours from his lifelong residence.
Sung Kang Current FedExCup rank: 165th
Projected change with a win: +120 | Top 10: +23 | Top 25: +14
Kang has made just 18 cuts in 43 PGA TOUR starts (7 of 21 this season) but one of them came at last year's John Deere Classic, where he tied for 12th. Kang hasn't shot a round in the 60s since the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, missing four cuts in as many starts since then, but TPC Deere Run's birdie-friendly layout may be just the thing to jumpstart his season and help him to qualify for his first Playoffs.
Matt Jones Current FedExCup rank: 165th
Projected change with a win: +122 | Top 10: +23 | Top 25: +17
If anyone knows the importance of every FedExCup point, it's Matt Jones. The Aussie has twice missed the FedExCup Playoffs by fewer than 10 points. In 2009, he finished the season 126th in the standings -- just one point shy of the Playoffs. Jones came in 127th a year ago. With two top-5 finishes in the last three years at TPC Deere Run, this event offers a big opportunity to the man who currently ranks No. 168 in the FedExCup race.
Who could be the next Reavie or the next Stanley? See below for five players who could shake up the bubble and make significant changes to their Playoffs plans this week at the John Deere Classic. Beside each player's image is his FedExCup rank and how many spots he projects to climb with a victory, top-10 or top-25 finish.