Fed Ex Cup Winners and Losers
Villegas finally has the win on his résumé to match the attention and the hype. His final-round 68 at the BMW Championship was the highest round he shot all week. It adds some legitimacy to the talk about including him among the group of young players in position to make Tiger's rehab harder in 2009. Villegas' upside is always going to be determined by his putter. Until recently--especially this past weekend at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis--he hasn't even been average on the greens. That will have to change for him to be a consistent threat.
When did finishing 44th feel so good? How about when it basically clinched the $10 million bonus ($9 million cash, $1 million deferred) that comes with being the FedEx Cup champ? If Singh plays four rounds at the Tour Championship and correctly signs a scorecard all four days (Sept. 25-28), he wins. Say what you want about Singh's bedside manner, but playing the way he has for the last month with a full-blown case of the putting yips is nothing short of remarkable. He's been a relentless worker for more than a decade, and he basically willed himself into being an acceptable putter. I wonder if he has a bruise on his belly from jamming that putter into his gut.
Hart needed birdies Sunday on 17 and 18 to not only get into the top 30 on the points list and into the Tour Championship, but also to qualify for next year's Masters and his first since 2001. He rolled in putts on both and earned $756,000 for finishing solo second. Hart played his last 36 holes without making a bogey.
Kim tied for third with Jim Furyk at the BMW, adding $406,000 to his now $4.2 million in prize money this year. He looks a little bit crispy from his first season of serious scrutiny--the pressure of two wins and five other top-10s will do that to you--but that's a great problem to have. He doesn't always hit the shot he needs, but nobody outside of Tiger is as fearless about going for them even when the last one failed. Kim has the rep as the second-most talented player on tour, and it'll be fun to watch him try to prove that.
The FedEx Cup
It isn't really the PGA Tour's fault, but for the second straight year, this playoff format doesn't have any juice. Tiger Woods' injury was obviously a tough blow, but Tiger probably wouldn't have played all the FedEx events anyway, with the Ryder Cup landing in the middle. Singh sucked out a lot of the remaining drama by winning the first two playoffs events. The Singh-Sergio Garcia playoff showdown at the Barclays was nice theater, but when the only thing at stake is more money for guys who already have more than they can spend, it just isn't enough. Keeping more positions up for grabs early in the FedEx race was an improvement, because it had the potential to scramble the standings. But that only matters if people care who wins the trophy in the end. Whose soul would have to be sold to get the PGA of America to agree to a deal involving the PGA Championship in the playoffs?
I suppose Sergio should get some credit for hanging around after his devastating loss at the PGA last month, but it just meant taking another body blow from Vijay Singh in the Barclays playoff. I mean, how cursed do you have to be to have Vijay Singh raining putts in from all over the lot on you?