July 6 2011
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
With just seven weeks remaining before the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup get under way, Nick Watney became the season's sixth points leader. Watney, who won last week’s AT&T National to move atop the FedExCup standings, needs to watch just one player this week to see if his lead will be safe. Only Mark Wilson, who led for 12 weeks earlier this year, can catch Watney at the John Deere Classic. It would take nothing short of a victory for Wilson to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 just like Watney did last week. In eight starts at the John Deere Classic, however, Wison has made just four cuts and has a best finish of T39.
WHAT ABOUT STRICKER? Two-time reigning John Deere Classic champion, and 2011 Memorial champion, Steve Stricker checks in this week at No. 12 in the standings. A third consecutive victory at TPC Deere Run would move him to No. 2, just ahead of PLAYERS champion K.J. Choi, but still 125 points behind Watney. David Toms could also move to No. 2 with a win or solo second, but cannot catch Watney this week.
WHO’S UP, WHO’S DOWN: Some familiar faces were moving up and down the ranks at the AT&T National. Adam Scott moved from 60th to 45th and Jeff Overton from 78th to 54th after both tied for third at Aronimink. Six 2010 PGA TOUR winners were moving the opposite direction, however, as Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Heath Slocum, Camilo Villegas, Stuart Appleby and Ian Poulter each dropped between seven and nine spots.
Making the biggest move was Chris Stroud, who tied for sixth at the AT&T National. With that finish, Stroud moved inside the all-important top 125 in the FedExCup standings, jumping from 132nd to 103rd, with just seven weeks remaining before the Playoffs. Ben Curtis is the new bubble boy, after missing the cut last week and falling to No. 125 in the standings.
MORE ON LAST WEEK’S WINNER: For the first time in his career, Watney finds himself atop the FedExCup standings. The former Fresno State Bulldog has twice been No. 2 in the standings, but only reached the pinnacle after winning last week’s AT&T National. In 14 starts this year, the 30-year-old has made 12 cuts with eight top 10s and his pair of victories. Last week’s victory was the first of Watney’s four to come after the month of April.