News & ToursAugust 15, 2007

Last Chance: You Rest, I'll Play

Tway

This week's Wyndham Championship should be played in Dayton, Ohio, because it reminds me of the play-in game in the NCAA Tournament. You know the one where someone like Florida A&M or Prairie View gets the right to be destroyed by North Carolina in the first round when the tournament really begins a few days later. But the PGA Tour is playing this week at Forest Oaks in Greensboro, N.C., and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in up upper echelon of the tour's points list in the field the week before the 144-man playoff field is finalized. There are a few -- Jonathan Byrd, Carl Pettersson and new Presidents Cup team member Lucas Glover -- but the tour's biggest names are resting up for the, ahem, all-important four-week championship.

Here then, is a look at some of those who are playing this week, the guys ranked 140th to 150th in the FedEx Cup standings, and their chances of staying in or moving into the playoffs, where it's unlikely any of them will advance past the first round. (Here's a bit of unsolicited advice to Camp Ponte Vedra. How about naming the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team after this event, instead of the PGA Championship? It might entice a few more top-tier players to the tournament.)

140 -  Michael Putnam: Many of us at Golf World thought he'd be a rising star in 2007, but it hasn't materialized. Putnam doesn't have a top-10 finish, but he has made 16 cuts in 20 starts. His spot in the playoff is probably secure, but he's likely not going to make it past the first round. (Current points: 1,736)

141 -  Bob Tway: Tway (above right) has been treading water recently with no top-25 finishes since the Nelson. One reason: nearly 20 percent of his tee balls go into the right rough. The tour average is 13.4 percent. (Current points: 1,695)

142 -  Lee Janzen: Another former major champ who runs the risk of not qualifying for the playoffs. He hasn't made a cut since the U.S. Open and stands a good chance of being bumped. (Current points: 1,694)

143 -  Glen Day: Four players down, four players without a top-10 finish this year. There should be a rule that if you cannot finish that high, you cannot qualify for Barclays. Day, at least had a T-15 a few weeks ago in Canada. (Current points: 1,672)

144 -  Marco Dawson: The ultimate Bazooka Joe. He ranks 151st in earnings, right on the cusp of not earning any playing priveliges for 2008. You wonder what's more important to guys like Dawson: Qualifying for the playoffs or earning enough money to keep a tour card next year? (Current points: 1,669)

145 -  Eric Axley: The lefty has played 28 tournaments this year, a tour high, and all it has gotten him is a bunch of frequent flyer miles. If he doesn't move up one more place in the standings this week, he'll finally be forced to take some time off. By the way, he was T-3 at Greensboro a year ago. He's 102 points behind Dawson, and if Marco misses the cut (I can't believe I'm writing this) Axley needs to finish solo 41st to pass him. (Current points: 1,567)

146 -  Steve Lowery: The first player on this list who has finished in the top-10 this year. He did it way back at the Sony Open in Hawaii and he was T-10 on the number. (Current points: 1,536)

147 -  Cameron Beckman: He's actually had a few good finishes at Greensboro (a T-16 and T-21 in 2004 and 2005) and a similar performance this week would give him about 300 points, enough to bump him into the top 144. (Current points: 1,514)

148 -  Chris Couch: It has come to this: Couch is playing the best golf of his season, four straight cuts made and a T-13 at Milwaukee. He was T-12 at Greensboro in 2006. But if Couch plays well enough to jump into the playoffs would anybody notice? (Current points: 1,494)

149 -  Mark Hensby: Probaby the best player in this group, Hensby suffered back and neck injuries in a car crash in 2006 and hasn't really been on track since. A T-12 at Colonial was his best finish of the year. (Current points: 1,466)

150 -  Mathias Gronberg: Here's a question for this week's winner. What's more important: Getting into the playoffs or qualifying for the Masters? How many do you think will say the former and really mean it? (Current points: 1,463)

--John Antonini

(Photo: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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