One mark of a good year is when it becomes more difficult to set goals. Such was the case of Matt Kuchar, who won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average in 2010.
Winning a major is the obvious goal, along with winning any tournament. But having finished second to Jim Furyk in the FedExCup last year, Kuchar’s mission for 2011 became obvious.
“A goal of mine last year after finishing No. 1 on the money list, finishing No. 1 in stroke average -- tough to kind of put new goals out there -- finished second in the FedExCup. And I said, `Well, I know I can go higher than that.’ It’s only one spot, but it’s doable,” Kuchar said. “So that’s been a goal, to try to jump up that one more spot.”
He is off to a decent start.
Kuchar began the playoffs at No. 12 -- the highest seed of any player who failed to win this year -- and was runner-up to Dustin Johnson at The Barclays, which moved him to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings.
“Now I’ve put myself in position where a few more good weeks and I’ve got the Tour Championship to try to get in that No. 1 spot for the FedExCup,” he said.
THE LOW LIGHTS: The PGA Tour did well to complete 54 holes at The Barclays, especially since Plainfield Country Club received more than 8 inches of rain that submerged at least three holes.
But it put a damper on the start of the season -- and the end of the year for CBS Sports. For one thing, the final round was washed out and its final day of live coverage (Saturday) was on tape delay.
Worse yet, with everyone getting out of town ahead of Hurricane Irene, the CBS Sports crew had to cancel its famous “Low Lights” party. The celebration is held the Saturday night before its final telecast, and it includes video of the network’s year in golf featuring its entire crew. The “Low Lights” has been rescheduled for Torrey Pines, where CBS starts its 2012 season.
Some of the crew still got together Saturday night after the tournament. The ballroom and food already had been paid for. Though several staff had left town, executive producer Lance Barrow decided to stick around.
DIVOTS: After the first week of the FedExCup playoffs, Camilo Villegas made the biggest jump, moving up 58 spots to No. 51 with his tie for sixth at the Barclays. Brian Gay missed the cut and had the biggest drop, 15 spots to No. 71. … The Players Championship has created $500,000 scholarship endowments at the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville, the largest scholarship in the Jacksonville area. … Keegan Bradley was to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. He showed up at the TPC Boston with his clubs slung over his left shoulder, and a baseball in his right hand. His caddie asked if wanted to hit balls. “First, I’ve got to warm up,” Bradley said with a nod toward the baseball.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Two of the top 10 players in the FedEx Cup standings -- Matt Kuchar at No. 2 and Vijay Singh at No. 8 -- have not won a PGA Tour event this year.
FINAL WORD: “It gives you a boost that, yeah, I might be 40, but it’s not over yet.” -- Thomas Bjorn, 40, after winning the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles for his second win this year.