WOODS GIVES FEDEX A BOOST
The presence of Tiger Woods in any event is music to the ears of many people, particularly those backing the FedEx Cup.
The presence of Tiger Woods in any event is music to the ears of many people.
Tournament directors, television executives and spectators are all desperate to see the world number one at their event, especially if he ends up winning or at least in contention on the final day.
So the news that Woods will play all four of the new play-off events in the inaugural FedEx Cup this year has no doubt been greeted with nothing short of a ticker-tape parade on the other side of the Atlantic.
“It’s an exciting time for golf,” Woods said. “It’s certainly going to be more exciting for everyone, not just us as competitors who will be bucking heads against the best more often, but also for the fans.”
The new play-off system will initially feature the top 144 players after a 33-week points race which ends after the Wyndham Championship on August 19.
Those 144 golfers are eligible for The Barclays in New York, where the points will be reshuffled with the top 120 eligible for the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
After that the top 70 go to the BMW Championship in Chicago and the top 30 from there go to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Woods leads the points race and could conceivably skip the first or second event and still make it to the Tour Championship.
But maybe becoming a new father has influenced his decision to play all four anyway.
“I have to go on the road to get a little bit of sleep,” Woods joked. “From that standpoint, it’s been nice to get out and play a couple of tournaments.”
Woods will of course be among the field at next week’s USPGA Championship at Southern Hills, seeking to avoid only the fourth season of his professional career without a major victory.
So far 154 of the 156-strong field has been confirmed, with two spots left open for the winners of this week’s World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Akron and the PGA Tour’s Reno-Tahoe Open.
If the winner has already qualified, the final spots will be awarded to alternates, which likely means good news for local resident Bo Van Pelt.
Van Pelt is the second of 13 alternates but knows that of the 84 players in Akron, 81 have already qualified for the PGA Championship.
Also, one of the players already qualified may not even make it to Tulsa. Bernhard Langer had to pull out of the Deutsche Bank Players Championship in Germany last week with kidney stones and may have surgery this week to remove the stone.
Finally, sad news from America of the death of former US Tour professional Taylor Smith,
Smith, who passed away on July 21 at the age of 40, is best remembered for being disqualified from the 1996 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic for an illegal grip on his long putter.
Smith, the leader after three rounds, was using a long putter with two grips, the bottom one having a flat side in violation of USGA rules.
Fellow competitor Lennie Clements noticed the grip and alerted tour officials on the ninth hole. Smith completed the round, making a birdie on the 18th hole to shoot 67 and force an apparent play-off with Tiger Woods.
Smith’s appeal was quickly denied. He was disqualified, and Woods had the second victory of his abbreviated rookie season.
“He was impressive, a talented player the times I played with him,” fellow player Billy Andrade told Golf World.
“It’s really unfortunate he didn’t win at Disney. A player who has never won before, sure, that has an effect. After that, you didn’t hear much about him. Very, very tragic.”
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