by Jeff Skinner
Week two of the FedEx Cup Playoffs gets underway Friday at The Deutsche Bank Championship. Steve Stricker will be defending his title against 99 of the PGA Tour’s best and this week is a big week for the two most popular golfers in the world. The season is running out on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and this week is a big week for both golfers.
Phil and Tiger haven’t been lighting it up on the course lately and the pressure is on to perform up to their reputations. Essentially, this has been a lost season for Tiger Woods. He has zero wins, no majors and hasn’t even qualified for the Ryder Cup. The on course highlight of Tiger’s year has been matching fourth place ties at The Masters and The U.S. Open. Last week at The Barclays he admitted he is stuck in between two swings: his old Hank Haney swing and his transformation into the new Sean Foley swing. It usually takes Tiger 18 months to fully incorporate drastic swing changes and he needs to do it a little quicker than that. For Woods to move on in the playoffs he’ll need to finish in the top fifty this week. He has showed some flashes of getting it back but can’t put it together for an entire tournament. If he can’t manufacture a game at TPC Boston he’ll be ending his season a bit prematurely. Tiger isn’t used to sitting out big tournaments but this has been anything but a normal year for Tiger.
Phil Mickelson looked to be primed for a great season when he won his fourth major at The Masters but since a second place finish at The Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for fourth at Pebble Beach he has been invisible. A missed cut at The Barclays couldn’t have helped Phil’s psyche. He has had plenty to deal with, Amy, his mom and now his own health issues, any one of which is enough of a distraction to put a player off his game. Recently Phil’s game has been inconsistent perplexing and at best. He’ll miss a fairway but then make a miraculous recovery shot only to miss a short putt. Phil is in no danger of being squeezed out of the playoffs; he’s in tenth place and will coast to the finals at the Tour Championship. Phil needs to tighten up his game if he wants another win this season and a FedEx Cup trophy might be just enough to get him Player of the Year.