09/04 01:25 CDT No. 1 up for grabs at 2nd playoff event in Boston
No. 1 up for grabs at 2nd playoff event in Boston
By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer
NORTON, Mass. (AP) --- The second FedEx Cup playoff event is all about the Big
And the battle for No. 1.
Rory McIlroy returned to No. 1 in the world even though he skipped opening
playoff event last week at The Barclays. That's mostly about math, and an
indication that McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are running nose-to-nose at the
moment. Spieth has the easiest road back to No. 1 this week and likely only has
to finish ahead of McIlroy.
Jason Day, coming off his six-shot victory at The Barclays, would have to win
to have any chance.
The Deutsche Bank Championship gets underway Friday, and at least for the
moment, the focus has shifted from the race for the $10 million bonus by
winning the FedEx Cup to a world ranking that figures to keep changing over the
next few months.
Tee times Friday at the TPC Boston are based on the FedEx Cup standings,
meaning Day, Spieth and Bubba Watson will be in the same group for the opening
two rounds. McIlroy slipped six spots to No. 15. He will be a couple of group
ahead of them alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Kevin Kisner.
The original "Big Three" were Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player ---
all were represented by IMG founder Mark McCormack.
That led one reporter to ask Day and McIlroy which of the old "Big Three" they
And both picked Player.
"He was the smallest," McIlroy said. "Yeah, I'd probably be Player. Sitting
here in 30 year's time, if I had the career he head, I'd be pretty happy."
Yes, but how many pushups can McIlroy do?
"Probably not as many as him," he said.
Day also went with Player, later adding that he hoped to win enough tournaments
to rate with Palmer and Nicklaus. Day has six, so he has some work to do.
"It's funny to look at it that way," Day said. "This is a totally different
era. Back then, these are the guys that put golf on the platform that we're on
today. Arnold changed the way we look at golf. He came out when TV came out and
really made golf sexy. Jack with his dominance. And then obviously, Gary being
an international player, and also dominant, made a lot of fun golf to be
Here's what to watch for Friday:
THE BASICS: Only the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings qualified for the
Deutsche Bank Championship, and two players have withdrawn. Sergio Garcia, who
also skipped last week, has dropped to No. 43. Wil Wilcox had an injury. He was
No. 89, so his season is over.
The magic number for the week is 70. That's how many players advance to the BMW
Championship north of Chicago in two weeks.
For all the talk about the Big Three, Spieth said there were 100 players "fully
capable of having four good days and winning this event, and hopefully that can
The TPC Boston has been favorable to the higher seeds.
Only one winner --- Charley Hoffman at No. 59 --- outside the top 15 in the
FedEx Cup standings has won the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Those are just the winners. A year ago, Geoff Ogilvy was No. 100, had a hot
stretch for 27 holes, tied for second and went all the way up to No. 24.
THE STREAK: Hunter Mahan, barring a quick turnaround, is on the verge of ending
the longest streak in the FedEx Cup era.
Mahan has never missed a playoff event since this lucrative series began in
2007. He was in trouble a year ago, but only briefly. He was No. 62 going into
the playoffs and won The Barclays, sending him to one of the coveted top five
seeds at the final tournament at East Lake.
Mahan is No. 91 going into the TPC Boston. The streak ends unless he can at
least get to No. 70.
THE PRESIDENTS CUP: Another streak already has ended.
Phil Mickelson has qualified for every Presidents Cup team since it began in
1994. He was eliminated last week at The Barclays. Even if Lefty were to win
the Deutsche Bank Championship, he would not crack the top 10. So his only hope
is a win --- or at least close to a win --- to get one of the two captain's
picks by Jay Haas.
Mickelson has been part of every Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup team since 1994.
That's 20 in a row.
Chris Kirk is holding down the 10th spot, and Bill Haas (No. 11) would need
fifth place to have a chance to move past him.
For the International team, Danny Lee is narrowly ahead of Steven Bowditch,
with John Senden still in range. That team is decided by the world ranking.