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‘Dawgs on Tour: Freude Am Fahren

FedEx St. Jude Championship - Final Round Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tournament: The BMW Championship, August 18 - 21, 2022. The 2nd round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Course: Wilmington Country Club (South Course), par 71, 7,534 yards. In Wilmington, Delaware.

Purse: Just like last week, $15 million in total, $2.7 million to the winner. With only 70 players in the field, compared to 125 last week, you’d think think the payout would be greater per player. But last week the top 70 and ties made the cut and were the only ones being paid; this week there is no cut so all 70 (actually 68 because Cam Smith and Tommy Fleetwood have withdrawn) get the full purse - very similar to the number of players paid last week.

Defending Champ: Patrick Cantlay. The stoic UCLA Bruin squared off against the bulky SMU Mustang last year and they pulled away from the field on the final day. Tied after the regulation 72 holes, they really should not have been. Patrick was putting out of his mind, hooping long putts on seemingly every hole - like 20 foot hoops. But he did, forced a playoff, and kept Bryson on his heels for 5 holes before defeating him on the 6th playoff hole. I did not mind this result.

Fun Fact: After playing this event in Owings Mills, MD last year, the Tour makes the wi$e decision to move the tourney to the hot bed of Wilmington. That’s the fun fact.

TV Times: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 12 p.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC). Jim Nantz is in full NFL mode, Nick Faldo is in full Montana ranch mode, so Zinger and Dan Hicks will be in the booth this week and next.

‘Dawgs in the Field: 6. Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Keith Mitchell, Sepp Straka.

So how did they get to this 2nd round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs? Here’s how they fared last week in the 1st round:

Russell Henley missed the cut by 1, and fell eleven spots to #43 on the list.

Chris Kirk wasn’t close after rounds of 74-74, but he only moved down 9 positions to #61.

Brendon Todd made the cut with ease, but fell off Sunday with a 75, which dropped him outside the top 70 to #74, thus his season is over.

Greyson Sigg was in the most tenuous position, and he did make the cut under pressure. But his T61 finish only moved him up 1 spot in the standings, so he too can relax at home.

Keith Mitchell played good, but not spectacular, golf all week, slipping but a single position to #38.

Kevin Kisner was looking good after a Friday 64, yet he couldn’t keep up the momentum. Still, his T15 finish in Memphis moved him up 8 spots to #28 - inside the magical top 30.

Brian Harman opened with 66-66, and had some TV coverage over the weekend. His tie for third really moved him up the rankings - he is now 23rd, and did the heavy lifting while in Memphis. He needs to hold serve in Wilmington in order to secure arrangements for Atlanta.

And Sepp Straka, already in a strong #35 position, lost in a playoff to Will Zalatoris, but his 2nd place finish bumped him up to 8th in FedEx Cup points. He’s almost assured of making it to the Tour Championship unless some really crazy things happen.

So Mitchell, Kirk, and Henley are now outside the top 30 and will need a good week to move into the Tour Championship. Kisner is almost squarely on the bubble at 28 so he needs a top 20 to cement a trip back to East Lake - he can’t really afford to be outside the top 25 depending on who is in front of him on this weekend’s leaderboard. Straka, as mentioned, can relax. And he probably needs it after the crazy playoff last weekend.

Unless you think NFL preseason football is quality TV, or that the Braves won’t #Barve, this is some of the most competitive pro sports being played in the US right now. And it’s fun to watch ‘Dawgs chasing little white balls. As always...