Ryan's Top 125, FEC Playoffs

Ryan O'Sullivan
August 19, 2013
Banked Beans
Rory McIlroy returns to No. 1 and is looking to fill up his bank account with another big payday at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston

The FedExCup Playoffs field of 125 is set and The Barclays awaits. Knowing the cast of characters and realizing that there are numerous games out there just for the Playoffs, we’re going to dive in and take a look at how the players stack up.

When reading this list, it is to be considered a valuation of each player and not necessarily a predicted order of finish. As an example, I have projected only two players currently sitting outside the top 100 as a value inside the top 100. The reason for that is simple. A missed cut for any of those at Liberty National and he's done.

The numbers that matter at this point are the top 100, top 70 and top 30. Those are the cutoffs for the Deutsche Bank championship, BMW Championship and TOUR Championship, respectively.

The further down the current FedExCup standings a player stands, the more that has to go right for him to play in each of the four events. So, I may have a dreaded gut feeling that Martin Kaymer, currently 103, is about to start a hot streak, but slotting him anywhere inside the top 70 would be a ridiculous risk.

With that as the backdrop, here’s how they stack up:

Rank  Golfer (FedExCup seed)  Comment

1  Tiger Woods (1)  He owns multiple wins at two of the four Playoff venues and has proven to be a huge threat in any tournament that isn’t a major. Last I checked, none of these are majors.

2  Adam Scott (11)  He’ll have a chance to lock down Player of the Year honors with a win at East Lake. Expect his move to start at TPC Boston.

3  Brandt Snedeker (3)  Tied for 12th at Liberty National in ’09 and owns top-six finishes in each of the last three years at the Deutsche Bank. Form is a question.

4  Rory McIlroy (49)  Think I’m crazy? He started to look comfy in the midst of playing eight tournament rounds in 11 days at the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA. Could be down to him or Scott for a TPC Boston win.

5  Phil Mickelson (4)  Why not?

6  Matt Kuchar (2)  The Playoff venues in play this year haven’t proven to be his best friends, but he’s solid enough to contend anywhere.

7  Luke Donald (55)  Perhaps a big reach, but he’s racked up several top threes at TPC Boston; the BMW is played in his hometown; and if he can sneak into East Lake, he’s finished inside the top three each of the last three years.

8  Jim Furyk (23)  He could top-15 the first three events to death, and then head to East Lake where he is a past champion with nine top 10s.

9  Henrik Stenson (9)  Has very little record to speak of on the Playoff courses, but his form is undeniable.

10  Jordan Spieth (8)  Would anything he does truly surprise anyone? This would lock him up for the 2014 major rota, which is a huge deal considering he started 2013 with but a few sponsor exemptions.

11  Jason Day (14)  Steady record in the Playoffs and his season has been a great bounce back.

12  Bill Haas (5)  Really not sure how he faded this far, but he’ll be dangerous at East Lake considering he won in his only start.

13  Justin Rose (7)  Doesn’t boast the strongest record in some of the early Playoff venues, but he’s always a factor.

14  Dustin Johnson (16)  Life is good. He got engaged last week and has a nice Playoff résumé over the years.

15  Zach Johnson (18)  He’s skipping The Barclays for his brother’s wedding, but hasn’t finished out of the top 10 in his last five starts this season. He’ll be dangerous when he gets back.

16  Hunter Mahan (21)  New dad should have had time to recover and jump back in with both feet.

17  Billy Horschel (6)  Concerned by his recent chilly form and his lack of Playoff experience. Others have a leg up on him in course history.

18  Keegan Bradley (10)  How much would he love to win in Boston?

19  Jason Dufner (15)  The question will be how long his PGA hangover lasts, but he won twice in close proximity in 2012. Anybody else pulling for a pairing with Rory Sabbatini?

20  Webb Simpson (17)  One of very few players that can claim top-10 finishes at Liberty National, TPC Boston and East Lake. Hasn’t been elite in 2013, but hasn’t been bad either.

21  Lee Westwood (35)  He still has one really good week left in him.

22  Charl Schwartzel (33)  Weak Playoff history but a solid season leads him into the Playoffs. He could be due for a win.

23  Patrick Reed (22)  He seems like the kind of guy that could get very hot and very confident in a spurt, much like we’ve seen from Spieth and Horschel this year.

24  Matt Jones (37)  He’s slithered his way up the FEC standings this season and has threatened to backdoor a win on more than one occasion. Final-round 62 at Wyndham demonstrates perfect form.

25  Angel Cabrera (40)  He’s had a great season and his best chance to make a move in the Playoffs will be at TPC Boston.

26  Chris Stroud (47)  He’s popping up on leaderboards with greater frequency, narrowly missing a win in Hartford and making noise with a first-round 64 in Greensboro last week.

27  Boo Weekley (12)  Finished T41 at Liberty National in ’09 and has made his share of cuts at TPC Boston. It won’t take much to get him to East Lake.

28  Kevin Streelman (13)  Similar to Weekley in almost every way, he should grab a cut or two and sneak into the TOUR Championship for the second time.

29  Harris English (19)  If he had a little more course history to go on, I may feel a little better about his chances. Tied 69th at TPC Boston last year.

30  Steve Stricker (20)  He’s sitting out The Barclays, but expected back for the Deutsche Bank. Has to jump on the horse quickly.

31  Graeme McDowell (28)  His feast-or-famine season makes him a legitimate risk/reward player, but his course history is lacking in both opportunities and form when he’s had chances.

32  Bubba Watson (38)  Like many of the longer players, his best option for a big week could be TPC Boston. Missed cut at Liberty National in ’09.

33  Jonas Blixt (29)  Though just a sophomore, he’s shown how deadly he can be with the ball-striking keeps up with his white-hot putter.

34  David Lingmerth (45)  By definition, the rookie doesn’t have any experience on these courses but that hasn’t stopped him from having a big season and showing up in some big events.

35  David Hearn (53)  A breakthrough season in many ways for the Canuck, a Playoff push is not out of the question.

36  Gary Woodland (60)  Now that he’s had a little time to process his win in Reno, he’ll be an interesting watch in the Playoffs if for nothing more than a true value in 2013-14.

37  Russell Henley (24)  Might need a Playoff win to overtake Spieth for Rookie of the Year.

38  Jimmy Walker (26)  His excellent season finally cooled off after a T2 at The Greenbrier Classic.

39  Graham DeLaet (34)  Made a nice run in the 2012 Playoffs after barely sneaking in and has a realistic shot at making the TOUR Championship this time around.

40  Charles Howell III (29)  Often seems to fade as the year drags on, and this year hasn’t been much of an exception.

41  Rickie Fowler (42)  Has some pressure to salvage a mediocre season.

42  Charley Hoffman (48)  That he is a past winner at TPC Boston should pique interest.

43  Nick Watney (63)  He’s the defending champ at The Barclays, albeit at Bethpage Black, but also finished T6 at Liberty National in ’09.

44  D.A. Points (25)  Was T31 at Liberty National in ’09 and must do something similar this time around or he could fade very quickly.

45  Ernie Els (82)  Has a T3 at TPC Boston and was T2 at the ’09 Barclays. One of those further down the list that could nab a couple of top 10s and make some noise.

46  Chris Kirk (31)  Still making cuts, but hasn’t been a factor in a tournament in a while.

47  Roberto Castro (41)  The question is whether he has one more big run in him. It all comes down to the flat stick.

48  Tim Clark (56)  Easily a guy that could throw up a couple of top 25s early and enter the fray.

49  Sergio Garcia (59)  Missed a nice opportunity after opening strong at the Wyndham, but he’s never been much of a defender as was the case in Greensboro.

50  John Huh (65)  After a great Wyndham Championship, he could be the guy that finds a quirky Liberty National to his liking.

51  Ian Poulter (70)  He’s the kind of guy that will lose interest quickly if it doesn’t go his way early, but has something left to prove this season.

52  John Merrick (30)  Missed the cut at Liberty National and has kept a fairly low profile since his win at Riviera CC.

53  Ryan Palmer (46)  Has a good enough history at the Deutsche Bank to render him noteworthy, but hard to see a life-changing run.

54  Scott Stallings (43)  Never made much noise at the only venue he’s seen in this year’s Playoff rota (TPC Boston).

55  Kevin Chappell (58)  In unfamiliar territory for the most part, but plays hard courses well. Don’t be surprised at a top 15 at some point in the first two or three events.

56  Ryan Moore (68)  Good record at TPC Boston warrants the boost.

57  Ken Duke (32)  His season was made with a win at the Travelers Championship. Everything else is gravy.

58  Martin Laird (44)  He’s been a factor in some unlikely places this year, so could be a decent value if he falls to you in a Playoff format.

59  Marc Leishman (69)  He’s perfect in four attempts at TPC Boston, with a T15 in ’09 after a missed cut at Liberty National. A similar formula this time around would put him right around this spot.

60  Sang-moon Bae (36)  Wasn’t impressive at TPC Boston last year and that’s his only return site.

61  Michael Thompson (39)  Not unlike Blixt, he’ll be dangerous the few weeks out of the year when his putter is allowed to shine.

62  John Rollins (57)  Historically does his best work in the weaker fields. That may not bode well in the Playoffs.

63  Scott Piercy (50)  A T5 at the PGA reversed a pretty serious dry spell. Can he keep it up?

64  David Lynn (54)  There’s more we don’t know than we do in this case.

65  Brendon de Jonge (51)  Will likely do enough to see his way to the BMW Championship but hard to imagine him emerging high enough in any tournament to end up at East Lake.

66  Fredrik Jacobson (66)  I’m not in love with his form, but a T6 at Liberty National requires you take him somewhat seriously.

67  Brian Gay (52)  He was T12 at Liberty National, but that’s about the only good news.

68  Josh Teater (61)  He’s made a couple of cuts at TPC Boston, which will likely be what he needs to make it to the BMW.

69  Stewart Cink (83)  A bit of a renaissance year and he has some good history at TPC Boston and a T28 at Liberty National. He doesn’t have to make a huge move to see the BMW Championship.

70  Richard H. Lee (84)  He’s been a steady improver. I’m not sure what his limit is, but sneaking into the BMW Championship is not out of the cards.

71  K.J. Choi (62)  Someone has to be the highest-seeded guy not to make it to the third stage, and he wins the award. Missed cut at Liberty National and only one top 25 at TPC Boston.

72  Kyle Stanley (64)  A bad final round at the 2012 BMW kept him out of the TOUR Championship last year and he very well may narrowly miss the BMW this year by similar circumstances.

73  Brian Davis (71)  Not much would surprise me with the veteran, but it’s hard to think the non-winner can be counted on for a deep run.

74  Robert Garrigus (73)  He’s actually starting to trend after a horrible middle of his season, so this may be a tad low.

75  Brian Harman (80)  I don’t know exactly what his T3 at the Wyndham means for his Playoff chances, but it can’t be bad.

76  Rory Sabbatini (85)  He’s played his way into form the last few months and could make a modest move with a few breaks.

77  Bo Van Pelt (90)  This is headed down the path of a lost season, but his history in the Playoffs gives him a chance.

78  Martin Kaymer (103)  Similar to Garrigus, he’s woken up a bit lately and may have a little run in him.

79  Cameron Tringale (67)  He’s 0-for-2 at TPC Boston and limping into the Playoffs.

80  Brendan Steele (81)  Tied for 10th at Deutsche Bank in 2011 and has a fourth and a T11 in his last two starts leading into The Barclays.

81  Luke Guthrie (72)  He was supposed to have had the season Russell Henley, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have enjoyed. Perhaps there is still time.

82  Matt Every (88)  Don’t put too much stock into a nice effort at the Wyndham. He seldom finds success in back-to-back weeks.

83  Pat Perez (89)  Dangerous mainly in that he can get hot at any time for a short run.

84  Bob Estes (94)  He proved he can survive an awkward interview with David Feherty at the Wyndham Championship. Oh yeah, and that Estes can still play a little.

85  Justin Leonard (91)  He doesn’t know what to do with them, but the veteran just keeps making cuts.

86  Nicholas Thompson (77)  It probably ends in Boston, but it’s been a really nice return to the PGA TOUR no matter the Playoffs.

87  Martin Flores (86)  A T4 at the John Deere Classic and a T16 at the Wyndham Championship have him in solid form.

88  Jerry Kelly (79)  There are dumber things to do than take a risk on a veteran in the Playoffs.

89  Kevin Stadler (87)  Probably doesn’t putt well enough to make too much noise in elite fields, but did share 10th at TPC Boston last year.

90  Daniel Summerhays (75)  Liberty National and TPC Boston could be a challenge for him off the tee.

91  William McGirt (92)  He’s 2-for-2 at TPC Boston, but doesn’t have a top 25.

92  Brian Stuard (78)  Only has one top 20 in his last 15 starts and is a Playoff rookie. Not the best combo.

93  James Driscoll (93)  The Massachusetts native would love nothing more than to win the Deutsche Bank. Tied for 27th in his only try in 2006. Missed the cut at Liberty National in ’09.

94  Derek Ernst (74)  I can’t see it ending well.

95  Scott Brown (76)  Considering he began the year with partial status, he’s more than accomplished his goals already.

96  Mark Wilson (102)  He tied for 58th at Liberty National in ’09. That means two things. He made the cut and he’s seen the course.

97  Jason Kokrak (95)  The bomber will need to put up a performance similar to the one he flashed at Congressional if he’s to move past the Deutsche Bank.

98  Ted Potter Jr. (96)  The question boils down to if he can make a cut at Liberty National.

99  J.J. Henry (97)  He tied for 67th at Liberty National in ’09, and a repeat of that should barely squeak him into the Deutsche Bank.

100  Jeff Overton (100)  It’s not that I love him so much as I don’t see enough value below him to bump him.

101  Bryce Molder (98)  Missed the cut at Liberty National in ’09 and he doesn’t have the room to afford a MC this time around.

102  Geoff Ogilvy (99)  Just like Molder, missed cut in ’09 at The Barclays and his form is a shell of his former self.

103  Chez Reavie (112)  Might have the best chance of those with serious work to do, but he can’t afford a slip-up.

104  Camilo Villegas (110)  Big bounce-back season for him just to make it this far.

105  Morgan Hoffmann (111)  We’ve seen our share of first-time winners this year and the Jersey native could rile up the hometown crowd at Liberty National if the unlikely happens.

106  Jason Bohn (106)  He’s flashed a little form lately.

107  John Senden (105)  It’s been an off-year for the ball-striker from Down Under, but he can’t be completely counted out at The Barclays.

108  James Hahn (101)  Frankly, I expect the rest to miss the cut so they just fall in line.

109  Charlie Beljan (104)  Good week in Greensboro, but he’s made only seven cuts this year.

110  Lucas Glover (107)  Missed cut at Liberty National in career year of ’09. This hasn’t been a career year.

111  Jeff Maggert (108)  Missed cut in ’09 Barclays.

112  Justin Hicks (109)  First trip to Liberty National and zero margin for error.

113  Carl Pettersson (113)  His missed cut at Sedgefield Country Club is as big of a red flag as you can find for his game.

114  D.H. Lee (114)  No reason to think otherwise.

115  Andres Romero (115)  If he could somehow make it to TPC Boston, he’s enjoyed a little success there.

116  Johnson Wagner (116)  He can be thankful for The Greenbrier, but the rest of the season has been less than inspiring.

117  Erik Compton (117)  It’s awesome he retained his card, but his form has faded with the season.

118  Charlie Wi (118)  Had a chance to make a real move at the Wyndham Championship, but finished with a 75-72 on the weekend.

119  Aaron Baddeley (119)  Missed cut at ’09 Barclays and has been awful in 2012 given his previously high standards.

120  Steven Bowditch (120)  Other than Derek Ernst, Bowditch may be the biggest dark horse to have kept his TOUR card.

121  George McNeill (121)  When you look at his record, it’s actually pretty amazing that he’s even here.

122  Greg Chalmers (122)  Smooth-putting Aussie has to hit it better.

123  Stuart Appleby (123)  Breathing a major sigh of relief just to retain status.

124  Scott Langley (124)  It seems like a long time ago that he almost won the Sony Open. He needed every point from that event just to keep his card.

125  Ben Crane (125)  Something is off here.

It’s been fun providing these updates throughout the year, and I hope they’ve proven helpful. If the next four tournaments prove to be as exceptional as the 2013 season has been to date, it should be a great ride.

As always, best of luck to all!