E-Notes – September 8, 2011
Of the three players (Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and William McGirt) who used the Wyndham Championship (the final PGA TOUR Regular Reason event) to play their way into top 125 to qualify for the 2011 PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, only Els (No. 68) remains in the Playoffs after T16 finishes at The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship. Here’s a look at Els’ FedExCup rankings heading into and during the Playoffs: PGA Championship (No. 126); Wyndham Championship (No. 118); The Barclays (No. 99); and Deutsche Bank Championship (No. 68).
The BMW Championship is the one PGA TOUR event remaining for automatic qualifying for the 2011 Presidents Cup, to be contested Nov. 17-20 at Royal Melbourne GC in Melbourne, Australia. At the conclusion of the BMW Championship, the 10 players for both the U.S. and International teams will be determined. The U.S. Team is chosen based on the players who earn the most official PGA TOUR money beginning with the 2009 Wyndham Championship through the 2011 BMW Championship, with money being doubled during the 2011 season. Currently, Nos. 10 (David Toms) and Nos. 11 (Brandt Snedeker) are separated by a mere $28,016 dollars, with both players competing in the no-cut 70-player field next week at Cog Hill G&CC, where last-place money is $16,000. Players between Nos. 18 (Jason Dufner) and No. 23 (Charles Howell) need a victory at the BMW Championship to potentially play their way onto the U.S. Presidents Cup Team, with $1.44 million being awarded to the winner (worth 2,880,000 points).
The International Team for The Presidents Cup will be based on the Official World Golf Ranking through the BMW Championship. Louis Oosthuizen currently holds the No. 10 position, followed byGeoff Ogilvy (No. 11), Vijay Singh (No. 13), Robert Allenby (No. 14) and Aaron Baddeley (No. 15). Tim Clark (No. 12) is not competing due to injury, but will serve as one of Greg Norman’s captain’s assistants for the International Team. Oosthuizen, who did not qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, is playing this week’s KLM Open on the European Tour in his final attempt to automatically secure his first Presidents Cup berth.
Both 12-man teams will be rounded out by two Captain’s Choices per team following the Playoff finale, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Captains Fred Couples and Greg Norman will announce their picks on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m. ET via conference call.
Six players competing at next week’s BMW Championship have claimed victories at the event: Dustin Johnson (2010); Camilo Villegas (2008); Jim Furyk (2005); Jerry Kelly (2002); Robert Allenby (2000); and Steve Stricker (1996). Villegas (Bellerive CC/St. Louis) is the only one of the six not to win at Cog Hill G&CC.
Webb Simpson’s victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship marked his ninth top 10 in 22 starts this season, three more than his career total prior to 2011 (six in 66 professional starts). Simpson is tied for second in top-10 finishes with Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, and Nick Watney, behind Luke Donald’s 11.
Four of the top eight players in the PGA TOUR’s new putting statistic, Strokes Gained – Putting, currently sit inside the top 10 in the FedExCup standings entering the BMW Championship.
Player Strokes Gained-Putting Rank Strokes Gained FedExCup rank
Steve Stricker 1 .897 per round 8
Brandt Snedeker 2 .729 per round 5
Luke Donald 6 .674 per round 4
Nick Watney 8 .626 per round 7
Webb Simpson’s two recent wins were the 28th and 29th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR this year, establishing a new mark for alumni wins in a single season, with six events remaining. The total win count is now 317.
India’s Rahil Gangjee achieved one of golf’s rarest feats on Sunday when he made a hole-in-one on a par 4, the 316-yard 15th hole at Southpointe Golf Club during the Mylan Classic. He joined Chip Beck (2003) and Richard Johnson (2009) in the Nationwide Tour record book.
It looks like popular Englishman Gary Christian will be a member of the PGA TOUR next year for the first time after seven seasons on the Nationwide Tour. Christian’s Mylan Classic win jumped him to fourth on the money list.
Of the 70 players still alive in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, 45 are Nationwide Tour alumni. This includes seven of the top nine, and eight who were on the Nationwide Tour last year.
Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., has received an invitation to play in next month’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. The 17-year-old won the Junior PLAYERS at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, with rounds of 72-64-75-211 (-3). The first and third rounds were played on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, while his second-round 64 came on Dye’s Valley, home of the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. The 78 male juniors played set ups similar to those used at THE PLAYERS and Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open.
The Nationwide Tour is idle this week before embarking on a seven-event stretch of tournaments leading to the season's end at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., Next week’s Albertsons Boise Open begins the run.
Mark Calcavecchia earned the Champions Tour Player of the Month award for August. Calcavecchia finished T8 at the 3M Championship before posting a solo 12th position at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. He capped the month with a win at last week’s Boeing Classic when he defeated Russ Cochran in a playoff.
The defending champion of the upcoming Songdo IBD Championship presented by Korean Air, Russ Cochran, is currently sixth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Bob Gilder is scheduled to play in his 300th official Champions Tour event at the Songdo IBD Championship presented by Korean Air. Gilder, 60, won the Principal Charity Classic earlier this season.
Five players in the Songdo IBD Championship field have won major championships on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour – Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Mearaand Tom Watson.
At last year’s Songdo IBD Championship, only four players posted three consecutive sub-par rounds – Fred Funk, Michael Allen, D.A. Weibring and Sandy Lyle. Funk was the only player to record three consecutive rounds in the 60s, however.
16 – The number of players in the Songdo IBD Championship field who have won major championships on the PGA TOUR. The 16 players account for a total of 26 major championship wins.
Tom Kite is closing in on 1,000 combined career starts on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour. The Songdo IBD Championship will be Kite’s 999th start. Only 11 players have reached the milestone, most recently Hale Irwin. Miller Barber, with 1,292, has the most combined career starts on both Tours.