By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
It’s that time of year once again. Words and phrases like “bubble,” “control his own destiny” and “projections” are becoming more frequently used in the golf fan’s vernacular.
With the FedExCup Playoffs just nine weeks away, TOUR pros and fans alike are starting to look more and more intently at where everyone stands and what they need to do to qualify for the Playoff-opening Barclays in late August.With 125 spots on the line, anyone outside the top 100 needs to scramble to lock up a spot in the Playoffs. Those inside the top 100 will be jockeying for better position and an opportunity to play in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola with the FedExCup on the line.
This week’s field features 87 players from outside the FedExCup top 100. The battles right around the cut line are so competitive that just three available players ranked between Nos. 125 and 160 are not scheduled to compete at this week’s Travelers Championship.
Squarely on the bubble is 2009 PGA Champion Y.E. Yang, who could climb as high as No. 30 with a victory at TPC River Highlands, or drop as low as 156th if he misses the cut.
Though nearly three-fourths of the Regular Season is in the books, there’s still much to be decided before the Playoffs get under way.
CHANGE OF PLANS: One week can make the difference between missing the Playoffs altogether and a lengthy stay in the FedExCup chase. Fortunately for Michael Thompson, he picked up the latter at the U.S. Open. After starting the week at No. 90 in the standings, the runner-up surged 51 spots to No. 39.
The FedExCup top 100 qualify for the Deutsche Bank Championship with 70 and 30 qualifying for the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola respectively.
“(My finish) kind of guarantees me into the FedExCup (Playoffs), almost the second FedExCup event,” he said earlier this week. “I got in last year, barely, and I almost got into the second one, which I really wanted to do. So those are going to be new experiences for me, and my goal this year is to get into the TOUR Championship and finish out the year.”
According to projections, Thompson can’t secure a spot at East Lake this week. Another top-3 finish, however, would allow him to punch a ticket to the BMW Championship based on last year’s numbers.