In the past, players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson often opted to skip most tour events after the PGA Championship. The FedEx Cup Playoffs is an effort by the PGA TOUR to attract more top players to compete in the season’s latter half. The 2010 FedEx Cup Playoffs, the third edition of the purse-rich contest, looks to be the most competitive one yet. The fact that this competition is the last chance for Ryder Cup’s hopefuls, who have not yet qualified for the U.S. team, to impress Captain Cory Pavin significantly improves the event’s importance. In this article, I will preview the 2010 FedEx Cup Playoffs and offer schedule information as well as predictions.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs is consisted of four events, to be played in consecutive weeks. Although players do earn points for their performance in the regular season, these four events offer five times more FedEx Cup points than non-playoff tour stops. The Barclays championship (Aug 26-29) is the first of the playoff events, featuring the top 125 points leaders. After each event, the field is appreciably reduced with the survivors advancing to the next event. The Cup was previously won by Vijay Singh (2008) and Tiger Woods (2009).
South African Ernie Els is the odds-on favorite to win the 2010 FedEx Cup. Els is currently leading the cup standings and historically, the points leader from the regular season has won the coveted cup. Both Singh and Woods were able to retain their pre-playoffs lead en route to winning their FedEx Cup titles. Most importantly, Els is enjoying one of his better seasons having won 2 PGA titles and contended in most of the big tournaments. The key to Ernie winning the Cup is whether he could win at least one of the four playoff events. The Barclays appears to be his best bet for a win, as he has had great success at the championship.
=>CONTINUE ON PAGE 2
Another strong contender for the 2010 FedEx Cup is American Steve Stricker. This is due to the fact that all four courses, featured in the Cup Playoffs, suit Stricker’s game really well. As a matter of fact, Stricker was a former champion of two of the four events and has finished in the top 10 numerous times at the remaining events. As he is among the points leaders entering the playoffs, Steve definitely has a shot at winning the Cup if he could pull off strong performances at these familiar venues.
Lefty Phil Mickelson is another contender for the FedEx Cup. Mickelson has had a perplexing year. Other than his terrific victory at the 2010 Masters, the number-two ranked player hasn’t done much. Mickelson was given numerous opportunities to take over the top world ranking from Tiger Woods, only to miss out on all these chances by performing miserably. With the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he will have another chance to become the number-one player. Unfortunately, it is still uncertain as to how much Phil’s recent medical condition will affect his play. If he could keep himself healthy, Mickelson has a decent shot at winning the Cup as well as taking over the top ranking.
Despite having a horrible year, Tiger Woods still has an outside shot of defending his FedEx Cup title. For Tiger to win the Cup, he would need to win all four playoff events including the Tour Championship. Unfortunately, Tiger’s game has sunken so low that his primary goal right now isn’t to win the Cup but just to play better. With the help of golf instructor Sean Foley, Woods is likely to play better but won’t be able to pull off a near miracle. Other contenders for the Cup include Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, and Dustin Johnson.
My predictions for the 2010 FedEx Cup: Ernie Els wins a tight race over Furyk and Mickelson; Tiger plays well. The schedule includes the Barclays (Golf/CBS, August 26-29), Deutsche Bank Championship (Golf/NBC, September 2-5), BMW Championship (Golf/NBC, September 9-12), and the Tour Championship (Golf/NBC, September 23-26).