by Jeff Skinner
1. That is what they call a great bounce-back. Billy Horschel was ripped by many for “choking” when he chunked his approach at the 18th in Boston last week. Well there was none of that this week as he rebounded to win the BMW Championship. He said he didn’t let things like that bother him and knew it was just one bad swing at the wrong time. Call it redemption, call it payback or call it karma. He played some solid golf this week.
2. Some others may be hearing the “C” word thrown their way this week. Ryan Palmer shanked one into the creek on 13 and then lost five strokes to par over the last six holes. Sergio Garcia played ping-pong across the 17th green when he “Vin Scullied” one into water for a triple bogey. Ouch.
3. We all want to play like the greatest players in the game and it seems to be getting easier for us to imitate the world’s best. Case in point is world number one Rory McIlroy. On Saturday he four putted the par three 13th hole. To prove that a hacker lies deep within even the best golfers he followed that up with another four putt on the very same hole on Sunday. See, you can play like Rory.
4. One of the reasons the PGA Tour started these FedEx Cup playoffs with the 10 million pot of gold at the end was to get the best players on the course after the major season and to avoid the start of the NFL season when golf loses millions of viewers. This season, with no break in play it seems that some players are struggling with their conditioning and motivation. Oh, and of course the opening week of the NFL season just demolishes everything else.
5. Tom Watson was brought back to captain the Ryder Cup to shake things up and break the hold that Europe has had on the cup. But from the look of his captain’s pick’s it appears shaking things up wasn’t on his mind. Old Tom is an “Old School Dude” and he went with experience, experience, experience. Well, of the three players only one has played on a winning Ryder Cup Team, Hunter Mahan in ’08 but the last time he made the Ryder Cup he chunked his chip at the Belfry to lose the Cup to Graeme McDowell. Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley both made their first teams in ’12 when the USA blew the large lead on Sunday and lost the cup. Shaking it up would have been getting some new, fearless blood on the team. Tom went with experience…we’ll see.
6. Speaking of the Ryder Cup …Tom’s boys had a mixed week at the BMW as they try and win the FedEx Cup and save themselves at the same time. Bubba Watson finished in second, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler were T4. Jordan Spieth finished T8 and Jimmy Walker was T20. Zach Johnson T43, Matt Kuchar T46, Simpson and Patrick Reed finished T53 while Mahan finished 59th.
7. Missing from that list were Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Missing because the both withdrew from the BMW under fairly controversial circumstances. Bradley cited a drop he took for an embedded ball on Friday and after a night to think about it he said he questioned if it was done correctly, even though a rules official had instructed him to do so. He felt unsure and his conscience told him it was better to withdraw than to continue under these circumstances. Really? His pal Philly Mick didn’t fabricate any story about his conscience or feign injury like so many would. He was honest: he was out of contention, had no chance at winning or heading to the Tour Championship and was exhausted. He said he wanted to “concentrate on the Ryder Cup.” He gets credit for honesty but boy I bet Tim Finchem will give him an ear full about bagging it during his playoffs.
8. And something tells me that if Phil hadn’t decided to forsake the playoffs and rest up for the Ryder Cup that his Ryder Cup protégé and partner Bradley wouldn’t have felt that pang of guilt that forced him to withdraw. I’m just saying.
9. Morgan Hoffman had some great week at Cherry Hills. He shot 62-63 on the weekend to finish third and catapult up the FedEx Cup leaderboard to 21st place. This from a player that barely made the playoffs at number 124 out of 125 to qualify for The Barclays. That just shows how volatile these playoffs actually are.
10. Going into the Tour Championship at East Lake here are the top five on the FedEx Cup Points List: Chris Kirk (1 Tour win & a win at The Deutsche Bank) Billy Horschel (T2 at Deutsche Bank and a win at The BMW) Bubba Watson (1 Tour win, The Masters and 2nd at The BWW) Rory McIlroy (Open Championship, WGC, PGA Championship) and Hunter Mahan (a win at The Barclays). All these players control their own destiny: if they win the Tour Championship they will clinch the 10 million and the FedEx Cup. I know these are the “playoffs” and the tour wants to generate some excitement but the points for winning a Playoff event are so great now it seems almost too volatile.
Extra Point. This I know for sure…there isn’t any golfer in this field that wouldn’t trade their entire season including that FedEx Cup Championship for the season that Rory had. Ten million buys a lot of stuff…two consecutive majors gets you immortality.