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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Unfortunate But Not Tragic... for Some

Jordan Spieth has been making history all year, and Friday he added another bit to his resumé -- he became the first World #1 NOT to win in his first outing after achieving the feat. And as a result, Rory McIlroy will regain his #1 ranking next week without having to play at all.

It seems somewhat appropriate in a way, since Jordan made up the ground between him and Rory while Rory was out with that ankle injury.

Jordan Spieth

And, as Nick Faldo noted, Jordan will probably be the best #1 to lose it after only one week, having become the youngest two-time major winner on his way to the top.

I found it somewhat ironic that, even as Jordan was missing his first cut in three months or so, that a number of players on the Tour were also missing the cut with far more dire consequences.

Jordan may have gotten all the press but the real drama was happening in Portland. Unlike The Barclays, where the cut fell at +2, the cut at the Portland Open came at -2 and ended the dreams of several players. If you missed the cut at The Barclays, you've still got your Tour card for next year. That's not guaranteed for some of the players in Portland.

In case you don't know how it works, the Top75 on the Tour's season money list and numbers 126-200 on the FedExCup points list go to the four-event Playoffs. And THE 25 -- the Top25 players all season on the Tour -- will already have their PGA Tour cards for next season; they play in their playoffs largely to see if they can improve their position.

A new twist this year is that THE 25 get to keep their season money totals going into the playoffs, as a reward for their good play all year. (I agree with that choice. It bugged me that some players won a Tour card through a year of hard work but ended up ranked worse than players who played badly all year on both tours.)  Everybody else starts with $0, zilch, nada in the bank, and they're basically playing for the remaining 25 PGA Tour cards that are up for grabs.

Ron Oppenheimer missed the cut and is predicted to drop from 24 to 27. So not only did he miss out on the first 25 Tour cards but he now loses the $160,158 he accrued playing the Tour all year. He's in the same spot as #200 from the FedExCup money list. (Although at least Ron is guaranteed a full Tour card next season. That's something.) He's still got a shot at his PGA Tour card but now there are 124 other players from two tours with the same starting position after that same card.

For him, the dream just became a lot harder.

Other players didn't fare even that well. For example, Drew Scott also missed the cut. He was the bubble boy at 75, now he's projected at 79. That means no playoffs and not even a full Tour card next season. Scott Parel fared just as badly -- 74 before, projected 78 now. For these players, the season is over and the dream of a PGA Tour card is dead until next year.

So while you're feeling bad for Jordan missing the cut and losing his World #1 rank for perhaps only a week, but still teeing it up at Deutsche Bank next week with the #1 spot in the FedExCup rankings, spare a few moments to think about the guys still trying to secure playing privileges ANYWHERE next year.

After all, for every player who lives the dream there are at least a dozen who endure the nightmare.