This post is about what GolfDawgs did what over the official 2013-14 PGA Tour season, and what they're qualified for going forward.This weekend's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro (not the Lake Oconee one) was the last PGA Tour event to qualify for golf's post-season, aka the FedEx Cup Playoffs. This format has been explained before, but the easy answer is that the top golfers over the last 11 months based on earnings on the PGA Tour have a chance to compete for even more money with four tournaments, each of which is harder to qualify for than the previous. Not only that, but some of these players need a good showing to keep their Tour status, to get promoted, or to gain entry or invited to special 2015 tournaments (majors, World Golf Championships, etc.). And each of these events give serious points, so you need to keep performing to play well in the cumulative point format.
So everything is based on money. If you played well in run-of-the-mill tournaments but didn't win, that alone did not likely qualify you. But if you won and played well, or if you played well in a major or two (think top 10), then you're playing in golf's 2nd season. Majors and WGC events count more, and they have more prize money to boot. So timing is key. And if what I typed still doesn't make sense, you can always go to the source.
Many of you know that we have former UGA golfers that meet the criteria above. Not only did we have winners, and major winners, but we had guys performing well in big tournaments as well as regular Tour stops. Very few collegiate programs can boast anything like what our Bulldogs did this year in the professional ranks (Wake Forest in the 70's/80's, NC State in the early 2000's), but I'm certain none top us.
A quick update on our Dawgs who competed in the Wyndham:
Brian Harman never got anything going and missed the cut by 1 stroke. But he's safely in the Playoffs, so he probably wasn't too focused (See Alabama: 2014 Sugar Bowl).
Hudson Swafford made the cut on the number, but had a so-so weekend finishing in a T67 and pocketed $10k. He wasn't sniffing the playoffs unless he had a top 3, so he will probably be back on the Web.com tour (minor leagues for professional US golfers).
The most disappointing was Ryuji Imada. I've followed Imada for 15 years, and thought he had a chance to do something special after a first-round 66 and top 15 placement. But a Friday round of 78, including two double-bogeys and more 3putts than I can count, sank his chances and he missed the cut and is also relegated to mini-tour status.
On to this week's The Barclays. Played in NJ, covered by CBS on the weekend and cable Thurs/Fri, this is the first playoff event and carries a huge purse but only the 125 who qualified get to play. Thankfully, we have Dawgs in this fight. Of the top 125, here are those who once donned silver britches and now pay a bagman** of their own:
Bubba Watson. Ranked #3. 2 wins (including The Masters) and 7 top 10s. Bubba has cooled off during the summer, but has had hot flashes of his temper. He is likely qualified for the first two or three events due to his high ranking. And he's on the Ryder Cup, which is nice.
Chris Kirk. Ranked #10. 1 win, 3 top 10s, and only a handful of missed cuts. Very consistent. Is in good shape for the first two events, and is in the discussion of a Ryder Cup captain's pick.
Brendon Todd. Ranked #12. 1 win, 7 top 10's, and good showings in the majors. Also in Ryder Cup discussion.
Harris English. Ranked #17. 1 win, 7 top 10's (have you heard this before?) and just a very good all-around golfer. Highly touted coming out of UGA and has 2 wins in his 3 years on Tour. Due to his good play over his 3 years, he might get the most consideration for Ryder Cup, but he is also okay for the first 2 playoff events.
Brian Harman. Ranked #21. Bit of a journeyman, but after a decent season (6 top 10s) closed strong with a win at the John Deere (he likes to drive his tractor) and did well in the British (that's The Open to Mr. Sanchez) and the PGA. He should be in the field this week and next.
Russell Henley. Ranked #50. 1 win and another top 10. Up and down season, which describes his game. He has two Tour wins, so he's playing pro golf the next few years barring injury. Will probably only need to make the cut this week (or dang close) to make it into next week's field.
Erik Compton. Ranked #65. He of the two heart transplants had three top 10s and a solo 2nd at the US Open. He's playing this week and takes nothing for granted.
So we have 7 Dawgs in this prestigious playoff format, and get to see them play for big money. As mentioned, CBS has this weekend's coverage then turns it over to NBC (sans Johnny Miller thank you very much) for the final three tourneys - Deutsche Bank (Boston), BMW (Denver) and Tour Championship (Atlanta - East Lake). The tourneys have $8M purses each, and there is $35M of FedEx Cup money to boot (winner gets $10M). $67M will be doled out to 125 golfers, with the vast majority going to only 30... think it's worth playing for?
Let me know your predictions, prognostications, queries, questions, concerns, comments or whatever below. And GO DAWGS!!!!
**Note to the SEC, ex President Michael Adams, Auburn Fans, the NCAA and whatever other regulatory agency might be reading this. "Bagman" is a caddie in this context - someone who carries a golf bag for a golfer and is paid by the golfer. Please, by all that is holy, don't read anything else into it. This was a play on words.