It’s Playoff time and while we are missing some of the European players that we see in the WGC and Majors, we will have a gamer mentality from players trying to make it to the Tour Championship. There’s also incentive to players to try and impress for Ryder Cup spots. There are 4 tournaments to go and I can guarantee you that Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh will not win it this year. (But it would be quite a story if Tiger makes a charge).
I will preview all of the Nike athletes in the Playoffs and also give you 5 players to watch who I think will win the FedEx Cup when it’s all said and done.
Current Ranking: 14 | ’09 Ranking: 35
AK is struggling hard. While he missed 3 months, he was still in the Top 10 of the points race. The sad part is that he played better with a broken thumb. We know AK loves the competition and has the potential to thrive in a playoff atmosphere, but I don’t think this is his year. Last year, when he wasn’t playing so well, he didn’t make it to the Tour Championship, but in 2008, AK finished 12th at the Barclays, T27 at Deutsche Bank, T3 at the BMW and T3 at The Tour Championship (with the Ryder Cup before that). I hope we see some of that some flair this year.
Predicted Finish : 20-30
Current Ranking: 20 | ’09 Ranking: 154
Petts has been okay this year. Really, he only has 4 Top 10’s and 1 win, but I don’t expect him to make a big splash in the playoffs. He has made it to the BMW Championship in ’08 and ’07, reaching the Tour Championship in ’08. But both of those were fueled by high finishes at the Wyndham, which he didn’t have this year.
Predicted Finish: 30-40
Current Ranking: 27 | ’09 Ranking: 52
I believe Casey will finish highest of all the Nike golfers this year. He’s definitely a newcomer to the playoffs (missing last year because of injury) and he fizzled out in 2008 after a T7 at The Barclays. However, Casey is healthy, consistent and has major game and he’s looking to get ready for the Ryder Cup.
Predicted Finish: 1-10
Current Ranking: 47 | ’09 Ranking: 17
Last year Glover rode his major win to the Tour Championship where he finished 10th, but he was terrible through the first three events. This year he is still playing well coming into the Playoffs, so let’s hope that trend doesn’t continue. He needs to play his way into the Championship now and I think he’ll be able to do it.
In ’08, he threw up T55 and T50 at Barclays and DBank, but had a decent T13 at the BMW. He’ll need to do better than that. Oh, and in ’07 he had a MC at the Barclays, with T14’s at DBank and the BMW, so he has potential to do well.
Predicted Finish: 20-40
Current Ranking: 54 | ’09 Ranking: 28
Cink has been Mr. Consistent in the past 8 events. He’s picked up 5 Top 25’s in those starts including a T19 at the PGA and a T18 at the WGC-Bridgestone. Cink is great and you can see that from his Ryder/President’s Cup performances and also his T5 at the Match Play this year. Cink has made the Tour Championship every year and in ’07 he was winless and played through to the Championship. I expect another similar performance this year.
Predicted Finish: 10-30
Current Ranking: 70 | ’09 Ranking: 39
I was ready to write him off after the Texas swing where he had such good history and played poorly. But he’s doing great now after a T14 the US Open, T22 at Bridgestone and T3 at the Wyndham. In 2008, Justin was killer during the Playoffs (T7 at Barclays, T7 at DBank, T17 at BMW and T10 at the Tour Championship. Leonard is a big sleeper this year and I’d like to see him do well.
Predicted Finish: 10-20
Current Ranking: 76 | ’09 Ranking: 55
Ames has had 8 Top 25’s this year, but only one top 10. I really see him falling and not even making the cut at The Barclays. I don’t mean to hate on him so much but I haven’t seen anything consistent from him and I haven’t seen that fire from the Calgary-native.
Predicted Finish: 80-100
Current Ranking: 112 | ’09 Ranking: 1
Tiger needs it this week and I think he’s gonna get there. Tiger was incredible last year and he’s playing the worst golf of his career. No one expects anything from Woods, so I think we just need to see the fire from Tiger. He needs to play well at the Barclays and he didn’t play Ridgewood in 2008, so the odds are not in his favour, but I think his instinct should take over and we see Tiger make a charge. I honestly can’t imagine Tiger not playing in the Tour Championship, so I’m hoping for a miracle.
Predicted Finish: 1-30
Current Ranking: 120 | ’09 Ranking: 149
To me it seems like Duval has actually played better than Woods as of late because of his back-to-back Top 25’s at The Canadian Open and Turning Stone. I see Duval playing well and making it to the DBank.
Predicted Finish: 90-100
Five to Watch
I don’t think the Top 5 now will be the Top 5 at the end of the year. The current Top 5 haven’t been amazing or very consistent outside of Furyk. These aren’t the 5 best golfers right now and here are my picks for the Top 5 when the Tour Championship is all over.
Current Ranking: 7 | ’09 Ranking: 27
Mahan always brings his game to the big stage and heats up at the end of the year. Mahan has always started well at the Barlays. His 2 wins this year were good and he was somewhat inconsistent in between, but his T39 at the PGA was good and he’s on 4 straight made cuts, including that huge win at Firestone. Also, the field is weaker in the playoffs, so I think he’s game.
Current Ranking: 9 | ’09 Ranking: 40
Leading the Tour with 9 Top 10’s this year, he has been fantastic. However, I was even surprised to see he finished 40th in the 2009 Playoffs. He got better through the playoffs last year with T28 at The Barclays, T15 at DBank and a T10 at the BMW. So really, he’s probably been the best golfer over the past year and he can really assert himself as one of the best in the game.
Current Ranking: 11 | ’09 Ranking: 14
I think DJ is the sexy pick this year to win it. I think most people are rooting for him because of his Major heartbreak. DJ can’t wait to bounce back and prove his game and that he can win with the best of them. He’s been very good this year and after his T10 at the PGA last year, he went T15 at The Barclays, T4 at DBank, T30 at BMW and 27th at the Tour Championship. I wouldn’t care about his MC at the Barclays in ’08, the kid is hot and trying to prove himself.
Current Ranking: 21 | ’09 Ranking: N/A
The PGA rookie has been amazing this year and still played in a lot of European events. If he dedicated his whole season the PGA Tour, he’d probably be in 1st. We potentially get 4 weeks of Rory, so I will never complain. He’ll be over looked at 21st place and he’ll be knocked for missing the cut at The Masters, The Players and the US Open, but he’s the hottest player on the planet right now, so watch out.
Current Ranking: 29 | ’09 Ranking: 12
I was shocked to see Watney at 29th, especially the way he’s been playing as of late. He’s hot and has 4 straight Top 20’s, 2 of them being T7’s. Watney did well last year with a 6th at the Barclays and a T13 at the Tour Championship. He’s got serious game that we’ve seen glimpses of. But I expect him to do well again this year.
This should be fun ride and a great lead-in to the Ryder Cup. It’s going to be an exciting 5 weeks of golf.