5 things to watch this weekend

By Doug Ferguson
Published on
5 things to watch this weekend

NORTON, Mass. — Ryan Moore can't remember the last time he played six straight weeks on the PGA Tour.

It's working so well, he might consider doing it more often.

Everyone knew that golf was going to be loaded with big events at the end of the year, so Moore decided to pace himself and play often during the end of the year. He wasn't in the Olympics. He's not even thinking about the Ryder Cup.

This is all about the FedEx Cup, and Moore said he could think of "10 million reasons" why he'd like to win it.

FEDEX CUP: 5 things to know | Deutsche Bank Championship scores

The $10 million payoff is still 11 rounds away spread over the next 23 days in three states. Even so, Moore had another reason to believe he was trending in the right direction. He opened with a bogey-free round of 6-under 65 and shared the lead with James Hahn in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Saturday typically is known as "moving day" on the PGA Tour, except at the TPC Boston. With the traditional Labor Day finish, Saturday could be the end of the season for several players.

THE CUT: The top 70 in the FedEx Cup after this week advance to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick, the third playoff event.

Anyone outside the top 70 — or near the top 70 — is most likely done for the season if they miss the cut.

Two players getting the most attention are Jim Furyk (No. 84) and Steve Stricker (No. 97). Both opened with a 4-under 67 and were two shots out of the lead, and they would appear to be safe to make the cut. That would be the first step. Then, they would need a high finish to advance.

That's still better off than Patton Kizzire, who opened with a 78; K.J. Choi, who shot 74; or Jason Bohn, who shot 72. All of them are outside the cut line, and all are outside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup.

THE LEADERS: Moore had been trending in the right direction. Hahn has not.

Hahn missed the cut eighth straight times before he won the Wells Fargo Championship. Since then, Hahn has failed to crack the top 40 in seven straight events, and he missed the cut in his last two tournaments.

"I accomplished my goal. I won another PGA Tour event, I made it to the playoffs, I kept my job for next year," Hahn said. "There's a lot of positives that come out of this depending on who you ask."

Moore, meanwhile, won the John Deere Classic three weeks ago and tied for seventh in The Barclays. He is No. 11 in the FedEx Cup, and a good performance this week would earn him a trip to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

PHIL'S FOLLIES: Phil Mickelson talked passionately about his desire to finish strong in the FedEx Cup playoffs, particularly because he was leading the PGA Tour in adjusted scoring average. If he could keep that lead over the next three weeks, he would win the Vardon Trophy for the first time in his career.

Jason Day is right behind him. So is Dustin Johnson.

RELATED: Phil Mickelson is on a mission | Phil's Ryder Cup journey in photos

Mickelson didn't help his cause when he opened with a 75, due largely to one hole — and one decision. He missed the green left on the par-4 sixth, the ball in deep grass inside a water hazard. Mickelson tried to get it out — not once, but twice — and the grass was too thick. He then took a penalty drop and made a quadruple-bogey 8.

EYE ON THE RYDER CUP: U.S. captain Davis Love III will make three picks for his Ryder Cup team on Sept. 12, and he said every American at the Deutsche Bank is on his radar. Then again, Mickelson said it was "obvious without naming names" who three of the picks would be.

So does form matter?

RYDER CUP: Love III relying on team to help make captain's picks

J.B. Holmes sure hopes so. He finished 10th in the standings — the top eight made the team — and opened with a 67. So did Jim Furyk, an assistant captain who is 15th in the standings despite missing four months of the season recovering from wrist surgery.

DAY SCARE: Jason Day opened with a 70, and then came the real stress. He learned his wife and two children were involved in a "traffic incident" when their car was struck by a bus. Ellie Day was taken to the hospital as a precaution, though he reported everyone was doing fine.

This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.