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August 17 2011

10:02 PM

FedExCup Update: Wyndham

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Ernie Els entered last year's Playoffs as the FedExCup No. 1. This year, he's fighting to play The Barclays.
MORE FEDEXCUP: Current standings | Bubble watch | Inside the FedExCup | Movers | Points distribution By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM With the PGA TOUR’s regular season coming to a conclusion this week at the Wyndham Chapmionship, this week offers the last opportunity for players to move into the Playoffs or to fortify their positions at The Barclays. CHANGING THIRD: If the Playoffs started today, 37 of the 125 players (nearly 30 percent) who were eligible to compete at The Barclays last year would be on the outside looking in. A number of those players -- 11 to be exact -- start this week within 83 points of the 125th spot and will be competing at the Wyndham Championship. Don’t look for the number of fresh faces to change much this week. Four of the five players just inside the bubble were also contenders in the Playoffs last year. BIG NAME BUBBLE: Ernie Els has never finished a Regular Season outside the FedExCup top 50, but a year after leading the points race going into the Playoffs, the World Golf Hall of Famer is on the brink of missing out. At No. 126 in the standings, fractions of a point behind No. 125 Camilo Villegas, Els will need a solid showing at Sedgefield to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. “I guess the Playoffs have started early,” Els said. “I know the Playoffs for the FedExCup start at The Barclays but in our case, if we want to get to the Playoffs, we have to get into the top 125.” Els is not alone. Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, Justin Leonard, Paul Casey and Angel Cabrera are among the 19 players in the field this week outside the cut line but within 85 points of No. 125. Villegas Villegas, who won both the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship in 2008 knows that anyone who qualifies for the Playoffs can be dangerous. “All it takes are two good weeks,” he said. “You play two good weeks in those Playoffs and you have a good chance of winning (the FedExCup).” Villegas, Els and No. 124 Cameron Beckman will play in the same group for the first two rounds, teeing off Thursday at 7:40 a.m. ET. JOCKEYING FOR POSITION: This week isn’t just for the bubble boys. Players safely in the Playoffs, like No. 15 Bill Haas, are also in Greensboro looking to accumulate valuable points for the upcoming push for the FedExCup. “This is a good opportunity to put yourself in a better position in the FedExCup race,” Haas said during a Wednesday press conference. “I like where I stand now but obviously it would be nice to be even (higher).” Haas joins David Toms, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker as players inside the FedExCup top 20 who are teeing it up this week. Though all are likely safe for the first three Playoffs events, every point counts toward making the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and being eligible to win the FedExCup.
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