What an amazing start to the PGA playoffs at the Barclays with Adam Scott taking the title in dramatic fashion. Even though he was not in the final group, there was still suspense all the way down to the end.
At one point while the final group was making the turn to the final 9 holes on Sunday, there were seven golfers within one shot of the lead, and with 5 times the Fed Ex points up for grabs, and pretty much guaranteeing a spot in the Tour Championship up for grabs, this once rarely glorified tournament has now turned into one of the best of the year. Being the first event in the Fed Ex Cup, the top 125 golfers from 2013 were eligible to play for a chance to win the $10 million prize in a few weeks.
The top 5 entering this week were Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, and Bill Haas. Although there is only one major winner in this top 5, it does not mean that this year’s Fed Ex Cup will be lacking excitement as it proved already this week. There was plenty of it at the top of the leaderboard along with at the bottom. The cut off for this week’s Deutchebank is the top 100. Aaron Baddeley was in great position to move along in the playoffs until the 16th hole which he bogeyed, along with 17. Then on the 18th he slid a putt past the hole for his third straight bogey which dropped him to 101st and moved Camilo Villegas on to Massachusetts.
Back at the top Tiger Woods had himself quite the day while finishing second. He had a good look at birdie on the 18th hole while one shot back even though he was on the fringe. Tiger read the putt beautifully but left it a mere two or three inches short which all but gave the title to Scott. However this was not the big drama of the day for Tiger. He seemed to throw out his back at some point during the day and it really hampered his ability to swing and even get his ball out of the cup. It was made public earlier in the week that Tiger’s back and neck were sore after his hotel mattress was not to his liking but it did not seem to upset his swing the first couple of rounds. On Sunday it was very obvious that he was in pain and it was most evident on the last par 5 where he hooked his second shot very badly to the left and went into the water hazard. He ended up bogeying the hole which was the easiest hole of the day, playing at about 4.65, so looking back this was probably the hole he would like to have back. Tiger was clearly not happy with coming in second, especially to Adam Scott, but he still leading the Fed Ex Cup standings with winnable tournaments ahead.
Adam Scott was a few groups ahead of Tiger and the final group which allowed him to post a score of 11 under while the leaders still had a chance to take him over. However the pressure seemed to be getting to the players because birdies were suddenly tough to come by. The course seemed to be playing fairly easy with Keegan Bradley setting the course record on Friday with a 63, and Kevin Chappell besting him with a 62 on Saturday. However, when it came down to crunch time, nobody could get it done. Not saying Scott did not deserve to win this tournament because he did with a remarkable 66 on Sunday which gave him his second win of the year.
Looking ahead to the next three tournaments played over four weeks, there should be plenty of drama and excitement with so many big names at the top of the Fed Ex Cup standings. With the win Scott moves to second in the standings behind Tiger, with Phil, Matt Kuchar and the US Open champion Justin Rose fifth. Of course anything can happen and a surprise champion can and most likely will emerge, and with a couple rookies in the hunt it might be a very nice pay day for a young, up and coming golfer.