Friday, September 17, 2010

The Final Cut of the FedEx Cup

Its been a hell of a week.  Things picked up at work and I never got out of the office before 8 and apparently my computer decided to eat the last two posts that were supposed to go up this week.  So I'm re-writing them now.

After the BMW Championship at Cog Hill there are some regulars, some surprises, and a few guys that you may have never even heard of that made the final cut of the FedEx Cup.

Phil, Ernie, and Stricker are all in the top ten in FedEx points, as they have been for years.  Tiger missed the event entirely, finishing 42nd in the overall points race.  And then there's three mystery men named Martin Laird, Kevin Na, and Kevin Streelman, who did make the final cut, but most people had no idea.

Martin Laird, a 28 year old Scotsman, has been sneaky-good this year and is the only no-name player in the top ten.  He is currently ranked 9th going into Eastlake.  With three top tens, and 5 top twenty fives, he's been consistent.  He isnt the longest or the most accurate player on tour, but he putts very well.  The glaring exception of course is when he missed a five footer to win the Barclay's three weeks ago.  Regardless of that miss, his second place finish at Westchester catapulted him into the top ten in the points race, a distinction which he has held ever since.  I don't think there is any scenario that would allow Laird to take home the year-long trophy, but a top ten finish in this year long race sure aint bad. 

Kevin Na is another name that most folks have never heard.  And the reason for that is that Kevin Na doesnt have is name engraved on any professional trophy.  But his bank account will attest to the fact that this guy can still get the job done.  He's earned over $8 million since 2006... Na is also a short game master and ranks in the top ten of several putting and around the green stat categories.  Like Laird, a late season playoff push has earned Na a spot at Eastlake.  Na finished in the top 35 in the first two FedEx events, and then 3rd at Cog Hill to earn his way into the Championship the hard way.

Kevin Streelman also earned his way in the hard way.  Streelman has played in 26 tournaments this year, more events than any other player in the top 39.  And only Carl Peterson and Josh Teater, who have played in 27,  and Brendan De Jonge and Stewart Appleby who have played in 29 tournaments, have played more than Streelman.  But even Peterson, who has a win under his belt this year, has not been as consistent as Streelman who squeezed into the top 30 last week with a T-3 at the Barclays and two solid performances in Boston and New York. 

These three under the radar guys will not win next week, but keep an eye on them in the Fall Finale as they fight for an invite to Maui next year.  Also, even with all the new first time winners this year, I expect there to be another handful next year too, and these gentlemen have shown their fortitude over the last year and they're ready to make that next step.

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