GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be missing five major champions as well as one former PLAYERS champion when The Barclays begins on Thursday.
Angel Cabrera, who has two majors on his resume, as well as former British Open champs Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton and PGA winners Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, won't be participating after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship.
All came into the week ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points as a result. Other notables on the sidelines are Henrik Stenson, who won the 2009 PLAYERS Championship; Rocco Mediate and Boo Weekley.
MORE FEDEXCUP: Standings | Inside the FedExCup | No. 1 Watch | Movers | Bubble Watch
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
With two weeks remaining until the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup get under way, the pressure is on players to gain or maintain their positions inside the top 125.
If the season were to end today, 14 players in the PGA Championship field -- including Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington -- would be on the outside watching the Playoffs begin at The Barclays. Three others -- Camilo Villegas, Heath Slocum and Arjun Atwal -- are ranked between 120th and 125th in the standings. Those three, especially Villegas at No. 125, are anything but safe in their quests to make the Playoffs. Villegas is just fractions of a point ahead of Els, the 2010 regular season points leader who could leap frog the Columbian this week at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Others on the outside looking in are 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (145th), Paul Casey (147th) who finished sixth in last season’s Playoffs race, two-time major winner Angel Cabrera (150th) and 1991 PGA Champion John Daly (199th). Click here for more on the FedExCup bubble and to see how many points separate these players from the 125-man cut line.
LOOKING SAFE: Two players moved across the 125-man cut line last week, and both are now in good position to make it to the Playoffs. Scott Piercy, who won the Reno-Tahoe Open was the week’s biggest mover as he jumped inside the top 100 and Steve Flesch, who tied for third in Reno, made his way to 115 th -- 32 points ahead of Villegas and Els. Being pushed out were William McGirt and Dean Wilson, who check in this week at Nos. 127 and 128 respectively.
NO. 1 ON THE LINE: The battle around the 125th position will not be the only FedExCup point of interest this week at the PGA Championship. Nick Watney, the current FedExCup No. 1, has 11 players chasing him with the potential to move atop the standings with a victory.
Among them are Jason Day, who has two runner-up finishes in majors already this season and Bubba Watson, who lost the PGA Championship in a playoff last year. Phil Mickelson and David Toms, who dueled at Atlanta Athletic Club a decade ago, are also within striking distance. Mickelson, Watson and PLAYERS Champion K.J. Choi could move ahead of Watney with a runner-up finish while No. 3 Luke Donald and No. 2 Steve Stricker are each less than 100 points shy of Watney.
CHAMPIONS PROJECTIONS: Three former major championship winners -- Woods, Harrington and Ben Curtis -- are Nos. 129 through 131, respectively in this week’s standings. Here is what the three needs to do to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup:
Woods likely needs a 14th-place finish or better at the PGA Championship to qualify for the postseason since he has indicated he is unlikely to play the Wyndham Championship. Harrington needs a 12th-or-better showing at the PGA to secure his position. Ben Curtis isn’t playing in the PGA Championship and, based on projections, will need an 11th-place-or-better performance at the Wyndham Championship to guarantee his spot.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With heavy rain now soaking the course -- and thunder and lightning in the area -- it will likely be a while before play resumes. Six players, however, were fortunate enough to finish their rounds before the horn sounded.
Your leader in the clubhouse at the moment? Kris Blanks, who carded a 2-under 68 that included an eagle on the par-4 15th, which is also this week’s Kodak Challenge hole. Blanks drove his ball short of the green on the 275-yard hole, then chipped in for the eagle from just inside 54 feet.
Ben Curtis, meanwhile, is one back after a 69. Curtis has a history of playing well here with four career top-15s in the event, including a pair of top-5s.
Others already done for the day are: Graham DeLaet (70), Scott Stallings (71), Steve Elkington (71) and Paul Goydos (72).
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Playing early on a Saturday means that you haven't exactly been at the top of your game during the first two rounds.
Today at the Memorial Tournament, though, it may be a blessing in disguise. That's because the weather conditions are expected to worsen as the day progresses.
A cold front will move into the area in the afternoon with scattered thunderstorms developing -- possibly with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain. Already the winds have kicked up, storms are forming to the south and a gray haze has settled over Muirfield Village.
Winds in the morning were in the 5-10 mph range. By 3 p.m., though, the wind will be gusting to 20 mph which will make an already challenging layout even more so.
Mark Leishman is among those taking advantage of his early tee time. He just made the turn in 5 under and is four strokes off the lead. Ditto for Ben Curtis, who made the cut on the number and is 4 under through 16 holes.
Here is the live interview schedule for players speaking in the media center this week, which will be streamed live on PGATOUR.COM:
Tuesday, May 31
11 a.m. – Jack Nicklaus
2 p.m. – Justin Rose
3 p.m. -- Jose Maria Olazabal
4 p.m. -- Ben Curtis
Wednesday, June 1
10 a.m. -- Luke Donald
11:45 a.m. – Keegan Bradley
Noon -- Charl Schwartzel
3:30 p.m. -- Fred Couples
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The first round of THE PLAYERS Championship is under way and Ben Curtis isn’t wasting any time taking advantage of his early tee time.
The one-time British Open champ birdied his first four holes on the back nine here at TPC Sawgrass, where the wind is down and apparently so is the scoring.
Three of those birdies came from inside 15 feet while the fourth came courtesy of a 33-foot putt on the par-3 13th.
The streak just ended, however, with Curtis three-putting from just inside 17 feet on the 14th hole, dropping him back to 3 under.
Accenture Match Play points breakdown
|550 points – Win||101 points – T5 (loss in the round of eight)|
|315 points – Runner-up||68.25 points – T9 (loss in the round of 16)|
|200 points – Third place||46.56 points – T17 (second round loss)|
|140 points – Fourth place||22.50 points – T33 (loss in the first round)|
This just in: Ben Curtis badly hooked his drive on the par-4 12th and had to chip out onto the fairway. His approach found the green, but his three-putted for double bogey.
Rose's 12th hole wasn't much better. He also missed the fairway -- again -- and failed to get up and down for his third bogey of the day.
The new leader? Scott Verplank, who shot 64 and is already in the clubhouse at 14 under.
Ben Curtis wasted a gorgeous tee shot on the par-3 11th when his 6-foot birdie putt spun out of the hole. He ended up parring the hole along with Justin Rose, who saved par after a disastrous tee shot that ended up in the front bunker.
The final group has played a collective 22 holes today .. with only one birdie. For whatever reason, Rose's shots have misfired all day, although his short game has bailed him out most of the time.