With Tiger far out of FedExCup Playoffs picture, big week needed at Firestone
July 28, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods has won the Bridgestone Invitational eight times. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
MORE FROM WOODS: Live Woods news conference on PGATOUR.COM, Wed., 1 p.m. ET | Tiger to play charity event
NORTON, Mass. -- Coming off a 69th-place finish and his highest career total score in The Open Championship, Tiger Woods spent the past week on vacation with his two kids and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.
“We had a good little time,” he said Monday during a press conference for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which Woods won in 2006 and benefits his foundation. “We toured a little bit and even played a little Putt-Putt, which I won every single time.”
Whether Woods even qualifies for this year’s event at TPC Boston remains to be seen.
The former world No. 1 enters this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational 215th in the FedExCup standings. Only the top 125 qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs with the top 100 after the first event eligible for the Deutsche Bank.
Having missed more than three months because of back surgery and made just five starts on the PGA TOUR this season, a return to Firestone Country Club couldn’t come at a better time for Woods. He has won there eight times, including last year when he carded a 61 in the second round.
“Certainly I'll draw upon those experiences and at all the events that I've played in that I've won throughout the previous years,” Woods said when asked if he felt any extra pressure to perform well given what’s at stake with just a few weeks left in the regular season -- a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs and one on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
The last time Woods, a two-time FedExCup champion, failed to qualify for the Playoffs was in 2011 when knee and Achilles injuries caused him to sit out three months in the middle of the season. He entered the PGA Championship outside the top 125 that year and missed the cut at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Anything short of a win at Firestone would put Woods in a similarly precarious position entering the year’s final major once again.
He has just 45 total points. Charlie Beljan and Nick Watney are currently 125th with 403 points apiece. A ninth win at Firestone would net Woods 550 points.
Woods is also in danger of failing to qualify for the Ryder Cup team for just the second time in his career. He is currently 70th in the standings with 806.254 points. The top nine players in the standings following the PGA Championship automatically make the roster with each team allowed three captain's picks.
The only other time Woods failed to make the team on his own was in 2010. He didn't start that season until the Masters but was a captain’s pick by Corey Pavin. Woods missed the 2008 Ryder Cup, but that came after season-ending knee surgery following his U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines.
Though U.S. Captain Tom Watson hasn’t ruled out picking Woods should he not qualify, Watson could be faced with the prospect of Woods having six weeks off going into Gleneagles this September.
“As far as being able to be picked or earned your outright spot on the team, is there a difference?” Woods said. “Yeah, there is a difference ... But in the end it's what can you do for your team? Are you able to contribute?”
Woods did in 2010, going 3-1 in Wales.
“The whole idea is that when your name is called, are you able to get a point?,” Woods said. “And that's what we're going to try to do. Hopefully I can get on the team and be a part of that.”
Last week Jack Nicklaus gave his endorsement for Woods being on the team, no matter the circumstance.
“I don't care what he does between now and then,” Nicklaus said. “If Tiger wants to play, I would certainly choose him. “My guess is that Tom feels pretty much the same way. Tom would certainly like to have Tiger on his team and I think anybody in their right mind, unless he just doesn't want to play or doesn't think he could play, would not choose him.”
As for Woods, he added that his game is coming along. But it's still not 100 percent.
“The speed is developing,” he said. “I've gotten stronger, but we're just now introducing explosive training. The explosiveness is going to come back with time.”