PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Wildcard Weekend approaches at SAS Championship
Regular season finale allows one player outside the top 72 to possibly make Schwab Cup Playoffs
October 11, 2017
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- Nick Faldo is No. 96 in the standings but has been trending nicely. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
The SAS Championship not only is the last chance for players to jockey for position in the season-ending, three-tournament Charles Schwab Cub Playoffs, but it also is Wildcard Weekend.
What does that mean? It means a player who is outside the qualifying list for the Playoffs (top 72 on the money list AFTER the SAS) can qualify for them automatically and bump the player at No. 72 (Bart Bryant at the moment) with a top-10 finish at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina. If the player at No. 72 finishes in the top 10 and a player does form outside the top 72, the higher finisher gets the wildcard. (Click here for Schwab Cup standings)
So there is potential for drama. Barring any late withdrawals, there are 13 players in the field outside of the top 72 and thus eligible for the wildcard. Here they are, listed alphabetically, with a look at their 2017 season.
John Cook, Schwab ranking: 87. The Ohio native has played in only eight events this year and posted only one top 25 in an individual event, a T19 at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic in March.
Nick Faldo, Schwab ranking: 96. The three-time Masters champion has played in only six events this year. He has one top 25 to his credit, a T21 at the Shaw Charity Classic in which he was only four strokes off the lead entering the final round after firing a 64 on Saturday. But his final-round 73 pushed him down the leaderboard.
Brad Faxon, Schwab ranking: 86. Like Cook and Faldo, Faxon spends more time now as a commentator than a player. He has teed it up nine times this season, with two top 25s to show for it. His solo 14th at The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex is easily his most impressive result. He has played only once since that July event, a 52nd-place finish at the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.
Bobby Gage, Schwab ranking: 94. Gage has played in 14 events. His best finish is a T37 at the Allianz Championship in February.
Bob Gilder, Schwab ranking: 104. At age 66, Gilder has played in 17 events with a best finish in an individual event of a T50 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Gary Hallberg, Schwab ranking: 76. He carries the highest standing in the Schwab race of any player in wildcard contention. Hallberg has three top 25s in just 11 starts, and they all came in a row. He had at T25 at the Principal Charity Classic, a T18 at the 3M Championship and a T13 DICK'S Sporting Goods Open. He has a lot to play for: Even if he can’t finish in the top 10 and nab the automatic spot in the Playoffs, he could earn his way in with a top 15 and some faltering from the guys in front of him.
John Huston, Schwab ranking: 101. He has played in 13 events and has no top 25s. His best finish in an individual event is a T29 at the Principal Charity Classic.
Hale Irwin, Schwab ranking: 103. The winningest player in PGA TOUR Champions history counts one SAS Championship among his 45 victories. At 72, he has played in only seven events this year and has no top 25s.
Peter Jacobsen, Schwab ranking: 156. Another commentator-first guy, he has played in only four events with a best finish of T61 at the Principal Charity Classic.
Tom Kite, Schwab ranking: 92. The Texan has played a full schedule at age 67, starting 16 events. His best finish is a T40 at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
Gary Koch, Schwab ranking: 140. Yet another who’s broadcasting over ball-striking, he has played only twice this season and not since the Chubb Classic in February. His best finish was a T37 at the Allianz Championship.
Neal Lancaster, Schwab ranking: 122. A sponsor’s exemption along with Hallberg, Jacobsen and Koch, he has played in only two events, the U.S. Senior Open (T54) and the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (T50). Lancaster is a North Carolina native who grew up just 40 miles from the Prestonwood Country Club. His first PGA TOUR Champions event was the SAS Championship in 2012.
Larry Nelson, Schwab ranking: 110. The Hall of Famer has teed it up seven times in 2017. His best finish was a T35 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
All eyes on the SAS Championship