Establishment (Jim Furyk) vs. Youth (Rickie Fowler)September 13, 2011
Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
NORTON, Mass. -- One of the themes for the 2011 PGA TOUR season is the competition involving the younger players and the established ones. How will the veteran players -- those with significant TOUR experience and long-standing championship pedigree -- fare against the hungry up-and-comers who are looking to nudge their way into the TOUR's elite?
Each week, PGATOUR.COM will select two players and analyze their chances heading into the tournament. We'll then track which player has the better score for his team, and keep a running tally throughout the year.
For the BMW Championship this week, we've selected Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler -- two players who are battling to make the top 30 in the FedExCup standings and advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Furyk and Fowler are also facing off this week in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook.
Going into the third event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, though, both players are on the outside looking in. Furyk is ranked No. 35 while Fowler is two spots lower.
Furyk won the Playoffs finale at East Lake a year ago and is the defending FedexCup champion so he's got plenty of additional motivation. He's also a former champion at Cog Hill, winning in 2005 before the BMW Championship became a part of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
YEARS ON TOUR: Furyk is in his 18th year on the PGA TOUR. He's won 16 times, including the 2003 U.S. Open.
OVERVIEW: Furyk just made the ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame, but make no mistake -- his career is far from over. He proved that a year ago when he won a career-best three times, including the Playoffs finale at East Lake, and captured the FedExCup. Furyk also was named Player of the Year in a vote of his peers. He's been one of the TOUR's steadiest players over his career as evidenced most recently by his performance in the FedExCup. He's never finished lower than 11th and has been fifth or better the last three years. One of his other crowning achievements also came in the Chicago area as Furyk won the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, tying the 72-hole record and beating Stephen Leaney by three strokes.
HISTORY IN THIS EVENT: Furyk has a solid record at Cog Hill. He has eight top-10s in 14 starts on the public gem, including the win in 2005 when he beat Tiger Woods by two strokes. His best finish since the tournament became a Playoffs event was a tie for second here in 2009 when Woods took an eight-stroke victory.
OUTLOOK THIS WEEK: Furyk is coming off his best finish of the season in a solo sixth at the Deutsche Bank Championship. It was his second top-10 in three weeks, following a tie for ninth at the Wyndham Championship, so he appears to be peaking at the right time.
YEARS ON TOUR: This is Fowler's second year on the PGA TOUR and last season's Rookie of the Year is still looking for his first victory. He has four runner-up finishes in his first 53 starts as a pro.
OVERVIEW: With his colorful clothes and X-Game persona, Fowler has quickly become one of the PGA TOUR's most exciting young players. At every tournament Fowler plays you can see youngsters sporting his trademark orange shirts and pants, as well as the distinctive flat-billed cap. He is as much substance as form, too. Fowler lost in a playoff at the Frys.com Open in his first start as a pro, then followed that with two more second-place finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Memorial Tournament among seven top-10s in his rookie campaign. Fowler's sophomore season hasn't been quite as productive but he does have four top-10s, including a tie for second at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last month.
HISTORY IN THIS EVENT: Fowler is playing in the BMW Championship for the second consecutive year. He tied for 45th a year ago and didn't break par 71 in four rounds.
OUTLOOK THIS WEEK: The 2011 season has been a mixed bag for Fowler. He seemed to be gaining momentum with a tie for fifth at the British Open and the share of second at Firestone three weeks later. But Fowler hasn't finished higher than 51st in three starts since, including ties for 52nd in the first two Playoffs events.
Here are the results of the previous matchups this year Score/Finish Tournament Score/Finish Steve Stricker 20 under (T-4th) Hyundai TOC Dustin Johnson 14 under (T-9th) Ernie Els 4 under (T-42nd) Sony Open Jason Day 8 under (T-20th) Stewart Cink 5 under (MC) Bob Hope Classic Bubba Watson 7 under (MC) Davis Love III 5 over (MC) Farmers Insurance Open Rickie Fowler 5 under (T20) Angel Cabrera 7 under (T-49th) Waste Management Phoenix Jhonattan Vegas 2 under (MC) Padraig Harrington 2 over (T63) AT&T Pebble Beach National Dustin Johnson Even (T55) Jim Furyk 1 under (T35) Northern Trust Open Louis Oosthuizen 3 over (T62) Vijay Singh 9 over (MC) The Honda Classic Anthony Kim 7 over (MC) Luke Donald 11 under (T6) WGC-Cadillac Championship Jhonattan Vegas 2 under (T31) Sergio Garcia 7 under (T15) Transitions Championship Matteo Manassero 6 under (T20) Phil Mickelson 1 under (T24) Arnold Palmer Invitational Graeme McDowell 9 over (MC) Fred Couples Even (T60) Shell Houston Open Gary Woodland 10 under (T13) Tiger Woods 10 under (T4) The Masters Martin Kaymer 6 over (MC) Justin Leonard 2 under (T30) Valero Texas Open Anthony Kim 7 over (MC) Jim Furyk 5 under (T21) The Heritage Jason Day 7 under (T9) David Toms 7 under (T18) Zurich Classic of New Orleans Brandt Snedeker 2 over (MC) Phil Mickelson 10 under (T9) Wells Fargo Championship Bubba Watson 3 under (T48) Tiger Woods Withdrew THE PLAYERS Championship Charl Schwartzel 6 under (T26) Paul Goydos 5 under (T10) Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Jason Day 3 under (T31) Vijay Singh 5 over (T27) HP Byron Nelson Championship Nick Watney 1 over (T8) Jim Furyk 8 over (MC) the Memorial Tournament Bubba Watson 1 under (T42) David Toms 5 over (MC) FedEx St. Jude Classic Camilo Villegas 8 under (3) Ernie Els 6 over (MC) U.S. Open Graeme McDowell 2 under (T14) Padraig Harrington 4 under (T63) Travelers Championship Aaron Baddeley 11 under (T24) K.J. Choi 11 under (2nd) AT&T National Adam Scott 9 under (T3) Stewart Cink 3 under (MC) John Deere Classic Louis Oosthuizen 3 under (MC) Tom Watson 6 over (T22) British Open Bubba Watson 9 over (T30) Mike Weir (WD) RBC Canadian Open Matt McQuillan 5 over (T31) Davis Love III 2 over (MC) The Greenbrier Classic Jeff Overton Even (T49) Steve Stricker 7 under (14) WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Nick Watney 2 under (T23) Tiger Woods 10 over (MC) PGA Championship Dustin Johnson 7 over (MC) Davis Love III 11 under (T12) Wyndham Championship Bill Haas 2 under (MC) Phil Mickelson 8 under (T43) The Barclays Keegan Bradley 1 over (MC) Ernie Els 8 under (T16) Deutsche Bank Championship William McGirt 3 under (T42)
Fowler, who is in his second year on TOUR, is battling to reach the TOUR Championship for the first time. Last season he finished 32nd in the FedExCup standings when the BMW Championship was over -- just eight points shy of the cutoff.