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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nothing's Set in Stone Yet But...

There may be a couple of things we can be pretty sure of in the final round, tape-delayed though it will be.

Devil Ball posted a list of "scenarios" about who can win the FedExCup depending on how other players finish. Now, whatever you may think of them, one thing becomes very clear after a quick glance-over: Luke Donald is the key player (read that as "spoiler") here. If he wins, Donald has a very short path to the Cup -- only Kuchar or Johnson can stop him from taking it all, and neither is anywhere near being in position to do so. Likewise, a Donald win means that neither Hoffman, Stricker, nor Casey can win the FedExCup.

Furyk and Goosen can also lock up the Cup if they win, but they'll need help. Casey and Hoffman are both close enough to keep them from taking the Cup, even without a win.

The Vardon Trophy (for low scoring average) is mere inches from Steve Stricker's fingertips. You may remember that Kuchar was leading Stricker by just 0.01 of a stroke coming into the week. Stricker is currently 4 shots clear of Kuchar (even par vs. 4-over). At this point, my figuring shows Kuchar at 69.63 and Stricker at 69.60. That figure depends on how the Tour adjusts each player's stroke average after this week; currently, they are adding 14.577 strokes to Kuchar's stroke total and subtracting 7.374 strokes from Stricker's. (Don't ask me why; that's just what it says on their stat pages.)

At any rate, if Stricker can remain 4 or more strokes ahead of Kuchar, I think Stricker will get the Vardon Trophy. This could play into the Player of the Year race.

See, if Donald wins the tournament we don't have a 3-time winner, just several double winners -- one of which is Stricker. With 2 wins and the Vardon Trophy, Stricker should be on the short list of likely candidates... even if POY is just a popularity contest. Steve's a pretty popular guy.

Of course, a Furyk win gives him 3 wins and would put him on the POY short list as well.

I suspect Kuchar will get the money title unless he totally collapses but, with only one win, I don't think that's enough to get him POY.

So I think the big names to watch in the final round are Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, and Steve Stricker:
  • Furyk has the most control over his destiny (man, I hate using that phrase) since a win could possibly give him both the FedExCup and POY.
  • A Donald win likely gives Stricker POY... assuming Stricker can win the Vardon Trophy. Stricker has to play well Sunday, whether he wins or not, if he wants to be POY.
And, of course, it's unlikely we'll see any change in the way the points are done next year. I suspect the Tour and sponsors got exactly what they wanted... even if we won't get to see it live.


  1. This could be a VERY exciting finish. We had a little rain overnight. Might soften up the greens just a touch early on. I just hope the big storms hold off until after they finish around 3:30.

    Watched Els hitting a few chips from the rough around the practice green. Doesn't look like the speed was affected by the rain at all. Watched Ryan Palmer roll two putts at a time from 10-15 feet - he made 11 of 12 in a row from different spots around the hole. Pretty amazing how good these guys are.

  2. oh boy - the rains have rolled in - thunderstorm and heavy rain has the guys off the course a little before 2:00. Not good. I wouldn't be surprised if this turns into a Monday finish.

  3. Turned out that the tape delay was a good idea after all... otherwise, they'd have lost viewers during the two hours of dead time during the delay.

  4. I noticed that - the timing was almost perfect. A shame, though. Three days of great weather and the final round was just a mess.

    Felt bad for Watney. Talk about having the rug pulled out from under him. The marshall at the 10th tee congratulated him on his "middle 9" 58. How crazy is that ? He finished with a 28 on the back on Saturday, then picked it up again on the front today with a 30. He just couldn't get the momentum going again and finished with two bogies.

  5. I've mentioned that in my summary for tomorrow. Watney's score was definitely one of the highlights of the week!