One hundred and twenty five players becomes 100 this week for the second of four FedEx Cup playoff events. However, the big golf news of the week will be the three wildcards announced by Darren Clarke for the European Ryder Cup team. Davis Love has two weeks more to make his choices but he has four places to fill from those otherwise not qualified for the US team to compete in the matches at home. He has much to ponder before the Ryder Cup begins on September 30.
The Deutsche Bank Championship has a limited field of 100 players that includes all the usual suspects. The top 70 in the standings progress to next week but only 30 golfers will qualify for the Tour Championship a week later. Adam Scott has a game ideally suited to the TPC Boston course that is the regular host of this tournament while Rory McIlroy also has a decent skills’ profile in the context of the layout.
Danny Willett is one of five rookies that made the Ryder Cup team by rights which could impact on Clarke’s selections. The Masters Champion is favourite for this week’s European Masters on the European Tours but other players are preferred. Bradley Dredge and Miguel Angel Jimenez are the each-way alternatives to Willett based on past course form and their main attributes.
On the US Tour all roads lead to the Tour Championship that decides who wins the FedEx Cup and $10 million bonus. The last six winners of the finale have won the FedEx Cup which means any one of one 100 players could still become a ten times millionaire to add to their vast wealth. Even professionals playing a sport that can bring massive financial rewards would enjoy a $10 million payday on top of more than another million bucks for winning the Tour Championship. To date Tiger Woods is the only multiple FedEx Cup winner while McIlroy has never won the honour.
Patrick Reed won the Barclays last week and leads the standings. However, even winning the Deutsche Bank would not clinch the FedEx money. In three of the nine renewals of the FedEx Cup a player has won two of the four counting events, not won the Tour Championship and been overhauled at the top of the point’s table. Scott is another player who has not won the FedEx Cup but that could change this year. Jim Furyk was the winner in 2010 and with the Ryder Cup in mind Mister 58 is in form.
After finishing tied fourth behind Reed last week Scotty is now third in the season long ranking and fourth in the playoff points table. Scott would have a good chance of leading the standings if he won this week and TPC Boston is a good fit for his game. At just below 7,300 yards the par 71 is average in length and the key skills for good scoring are driving distance, greens in regulation and scrambling. Scott fits this profile more than most and he is proven at major championship and WGC level.
Those betting on the Deutsche Bank Championship should be aware that the tournament runs from Friday to Monday to coincide with the Labor Day holiday at the start of next week. In fact only 99 players could start as Henrik Stenson is in trouble with a knee problem and the Open champion is a big doubt. The only other key absentee is Willett who plays in Europe instead for much less cash so maybe he is being paid appearance money to tee it up in Switzerland.
The Crans-Sur-Sierre Golf Club venue is known for magnificent views and air that makes the ball travel further. The course has hosted this event and its predecessors since 1972 and Willett is the defending champion. The layout puts a premium on accuracy over distance and controlling the flight of the ball will be a key skill. The average winning score over the last six years is 19 under which is very low for a par 70 track and is almost level 66’s. Birdie conversion will be important this week.
Jimenez and to a lesser extent Dredge are tour veterans who do well on freakish courses that are not over long. Jimenez has built up a solid bank of course form over many years and Dredge is a good second shot player when accuracy is required. Winning may be beyond both players but both have place prospects and can make the payout places while Scott is the player to back in the States this week.