Woods looks to keep moving forward in second start of FedExCup playoffs

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Tiger Woods is currently No. 65 on the FedExCup points list, and needs to climb into the top 50 to advance to next week's BMW Championship.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

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A chart of FedExCup standings at the Deutsche Bank Championship showed Tiger Woods at the top, not unusual considering he was won the cup and its $10 million prize every year he has played.

This chart was different.

It listed the 10 players who are on the bubble at the TPC Boston, starting with Woods at No. 65 through Josh Teater at No. 75. Only the top 70 after this week will advance to the third round of the playoffs at the BMW Championship, where Woods is defending champion.

Woods has failed to defend a title when the tournament has changed dates or when he was injured. Never has he not gone back to a tournament as the defending champion because he was not eligible.

"It's been a different year," Woods said.

It might be showing signs of turning around. One tournament is not enough to declare Woods' game is back, although his tie for 12th at The Barclays was his best finish since June. Plus, it got him into the second round of the FedExCup playoffs.

And for the first time since the Masters, when he returned to golf after a five-month layoff, Woods went through an entire press conference without a mention of his broken marriage or how it got to that point.

Even so, it remains odd to see Woods so far down any list.

Matt Kuchar is No. 1 in the FedExCup standings on the strength of his victory last week to open the four-tournament playoffs. Steve Stricker is No. 2 and the defending champion at the TPC Boston. They are assured of reaching the final round.

Woods is only assured of making the weekend because the Deutsche Bank Championship doesn't start until Friday, the lone tournament on the PGA Tour schedule that ends on a Monday.

"I'm starting to see some progress, which is nice," Woods said. "Mentally, I'm hitting the ball much better, hence I have more confidence. I'm driving the ball much straighter, hitting the ball a little bit farther, especially with my irons. And those are all positive signs. It's just a matter of making it a little bit more natural. And that's just reps."

Whether the tournament lasts any longer than Labor Day depends on the path of Hurricane Earl -- the same name as Woods' late father. The forecast was for good weather through noon on Friday before it starts getting nasty, with the worst of it late Friday afternoon and into the night.

The tour moved tee times up as much as it could with a 99-man field -- 40 minutes -- with hopes of getting the round in. Officials will decide Friday morning whether to play lift, clean and place to protect against the late starters having to return Saturday morning to complete the first round in what could be a swamp.

"It will be awesome to get this finished tomorrow," said Mark Russell, a vice president of rules and competition for the tour.

So much is at stake this week -- not one cup, but two.

For the 99 players -- Kenny Perry pulled out on Wednesday -- the goal is to finish in the top 70 in the standings to advance to Chicago and the BMW Championship. It's far more tense for the 14 players that U.S. Captain Corey Pavin has on a white sheet of paper he keeps in his pocket, all of them candidates to be among his four Ryder Cup picks.

Woods figures to be a lock. Zach Johnson is getting plenty of support as another pick. For the rest of them, the Deutsche Bank Championship is one last chance to make an impression on the captain, and even that might not be enough.

"There are no promises out there to anyone," Pavin said. "I think everyone is mature enough to understand that."

The players on his list were all invited to his barbecue during the PGA Championship, meaning they will get a phone call next week to say whether they made the team. The only addition was David Toms, a runner-up at Greensboro two weeks ago.

Pavin invited the eight players who qualified for his team -- Phil Mickelson had not yet arrived -- to dinner Wednesday night. He is soliciting their opinions, and said all the players are coming up with the same list of seven or eight guys who would be good picks.

"I think he's got a pretty good idea who his picks are going to be," Stricker said. "I mean, I think he still has some questions. I think it depends a lot on what happens here this week, and he wants to have some players step up and show him something. I don't think anybody is set in stone yet, but I think he's really looking forward to see what's going to happen here."

Stricker doesn't have to worry about that, nor does Matt Kuchar, who made his first Ryder Cup team. They can think exclusively about the FedExCup for now, both in prime position to chase the $10 million prize.

Woods, meanwhile, is trying to stay in the top 70 of the standings after this week, although his primary goal hasn't changed whether he's No. 65 or No. 1 in the FedExCup.

"I go out there and tee it up to win the tournament," he said.


Comments

charlesandelena

Jose, I don't disagree that Mr. Woods has done great things for the game and has helped its popularity, but he did not do it alone and he was not the only reason. Their are dozens of others that have made the game popular as well. All I am saying about that is that I shouldn't read a artical on every single tournament regarding him as the primary center piece. He isn't and shouldn't be for crying out loud. How would you feel if you were the defending champion and 2nd in Fedex Points and your not even mentioned on front page of the PGA.com website. Instead we have an article on how someone who isn't playing well, may not make it past the first playoff. Really?? I am just tired of everything has to have a Mr. Woods twist on it. As to you point about sports icons, I don't agree. I think you would get a argument by many regarding the greatest baseball player or any other greatest in any sport. It takes more than great athletic ability to be the greatest. Also, Jack is not the end all, be all as to the authority on who is the greatest in Golf. I still disagree with your point on Golf be a game and not a sport before Mr. Woods. Simply not true. The reason it is in the Olympics now is because it is played around the world and has been for a long time. Mr. Woods is just one player and that does not qualify a sport. Quote by the IGF. "the universal nature of golf, with 60 million people playing the sport in more than 120 countries". Please don't even try to say that it is universal because of Mr. Woods. Golf has been around for 100's of years. Have a good 3 day weekend and enjoy some golf. :)

jml911

Unfortunately Charles, it is about money! The players, PGA management staff and all concerned do, think and act in ways that will grow the tour and make it profitable for all. Now, the tradition, that has not changed, nor the exploits by the greats that you mentioned. I think that Jack is the greatest golfer of all times until Tiger proves otherwise. Ask Jack who is the best golfer of all time? He will respond with Tiger! I do not need a crital ball to know that the tour would not have been where it is today without Tiger, it's all ther in the history. Look at the first 100 years versus the last 10 years! In so far as decency is concerned, Tiger and most of the players would risk loosing millions and penalize themselves to cheating on the course. His personal life has nothing to do with his accomplishments and how the tour has benifited from it. A basebal icon, babe Ruth was a womanizer and drunkard, yet he is considered as the greatest ball player of all time. Yes, before tiger, golf was just a game not a sport! Guess what, there are so many people playing now that it will be in the Olympics charles, credit to Tiger.

charlesandelena

I respectfully disagree Jose simply because you cannot credit the PGA's success solely on Mr. Woods although I admit he has helped, but so have so many other players. You can't say that if there was no Tiger, golf would not have the same prize money because you dont have a crystal ball. I am just tired of seeing every single thing has to revolve around Mr. Woods. Also, golf is not just about money. It is a sport of tradition, honor, integrity and so many other things before money. It is a shame that you, just like so many others can only think about money. Sorry, I don't buy into it nor will I sacrifice common decency for the sake of money. Excuse me, but you are the new one to golf if you think there was no sport prior to Mr. Woods. Have you ever heard of names like Hogan, Norman, Faldo, Palmer, Nicklas, Player and so many others. As a matter of fact, it was a better game before Mr. Woods. It wasn't all about money and ratings. Who cares about TV ratings. TV ratings do not make something good. Geez, just turn on your TV and see the stupid things that have good ratings.

Before you go an talk for every PGA tour pro, I think you should check the history on what they think of Mr. Woods. I don't think you will find the kind of love you claim. And make sure you quantify which ones are sponsored by the same sponsors as Mr. Woods and then we'll talk about who on tour thinks he made golf what it is and who appreciates it. If being appreciative means being embarrased for golf and what he has done to smear the sport, then I guess your right.

jml911

Are you kidding me Mr. Charles Lang? What cave have you been hiding in? There would not be any Fedex Cup playoff and all the millions that the top 125 players make from the playoffs with Tiger Woods. You must be new to golf because if not you would know the following: The annual prize pool has doubled since Tiger started playing, they now call golf a sport, if any player is asked the same question, they answer the same way, Tiger Woods has made the PGA tour what it is today and they appreciate it very much. Things like the $1 million Kodak challenge that a middle of the pack player won last year is only there because Mr. Woods plays and is the best player on the planet. When Tiger does not play in a tourney, TV ratings go down about 60% and that Charles is why they are not writing about the sixty four other guys.

charlesandelena

Why does everything and every story have to revolve around Mr. Woods. He won the tournament in 2006 and is not playing well at all. Why not give, oh I don't know, someone else a little press time that is more deserving. Maybe Steve Stricker is deserving of some press since after all he did win last year and is currently 2nd place in Fedex Cup Points. Maybe the 64 other players ahead of him might deserve a little coverage. Pro golf is not all about Mr. Woods and I wish someone would grasp that, especially the PGA that is rooted in tradition and honor. Please retain some dignity and stop kissing the feet of someone who obviously does not deserve the honor you try to bestow.