2014 TOUR Championship Preview: The One-Shot Wonders
In our continuing preview of the 2014 TOUR Championship which begins Thursday, we break down all 30 golfers in the final tournament of the PGA season.
In this installment, we take a closer look at the men who can take the FedExCup lead with a victory this weekend, and a little help from the rest of the field. Their only shot at winning the overall title and the $10 million is to take first place this weekend, thus we call them the One-Shot Wonders.
Players within 2,500 (amount for winning the TOUR Championship tournament) of the lead
Matt Kuchar – Points: 2736; Wins: 1 – RBC Heritage; Top 10s: 11 (one win, McGladrey Classic, Handa World Cup of Golf, Northwestern Mutual, Franklin Templeton Shootout, Huyndai Tournament of Champions, Sony Open in Hawaii, WGC-Accenture Match Play, Valero Open, Shell Houston Open, The Masters, Byron Nelson, CVS Caremark, RBC Canadian, The Barclays, Analysis: Was in the thick of things for the title until he fell off to 29th and 46th the last two weeks. Ace in the Hole: Finished in the top 10 in six of his first seven tournaments this year.
Rickie Fowler – Points: 2631; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 9 (WGC – Match Play; Shell Houston Open; The Masters; US Open; WGC-Bridgestone; The Open; PGA Championship; The Barclays; BMW Championship); Analysis: If there’s one guy in the field most deserving of his first PGA title of 2014, it’s Fowler. Becoming the first player to ever finish in the Top 5 of all four Majors without winning a title is really remarkable. Ace in the Hole: Has two Top 10 finishes in the last three weeks.
Jason Day – Points: 2549; Wins: 1 – Handa World Cup of Golf; Top 10s: 5 (one win, Northwestern Mutual, Farmers Insurance, US Open, The Barclays, Deutsche Bank; Analysis: His back seized up on him at the BMW Championship, causing him to withdraw after the first round, and likely costing him a top 5 spot in the rankings. Ace in the Hole: If he’s healthy, he could sneak up on a lot of people.
Jordan Spieth – Points: 2517; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 8 (Hyundai Tournament of Champions; Pebble Beach; Valero Texas Open, The Masters; The Players; John Deere Classic; BMW Championship); Analysis: Looked poise to erupt into the Top 5 after finishing second at the Masters and fourth at the Players, but then fell back. His top 10 finish last week was just his second since june. Ace in the Hole: Swagger, nobody has more.
Adam Scott – Points: 2412; Wins: 1 – PGA Grand Slam of Golf; Top 10s: (one win, Handa World Cup of Golf, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; Sony Open of Hawaii; Arnold Palmer Invitational; Colonial; Memorial; US Open; The Open Championship; Bridgestone; BMW Championship; Analysis: Has hovered around the top spot during most of the big tournaments this year. Ace in the Hole: Won the first tournament of the current season, would be poetic to win the last one as well.
Sergio Garcia – Points: 2325; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 9 (WGC – HSBC; WGC – Accenture Match Play; The Honda Classic; Shell Houston Open; The PLAYERS Championship; Travelers Championship; The Open Championship; WGC-Bridgestone; BMW Championship. Analysis: No wins, but you can’t discount nine top 10 finishes in 15 events. Ace in the Hole: Lost in McIlroy’s shadow, he had three straight runner-up finishes at Travelers, The Open and Bridgestone.
Martin Kaymer – Points: 2230; Wins: 2 – US Open, The PLAYERS; Top 10s: 4 (two wins, WGC-HSBC, Deutsche Bank); Analysis: Looked all but done when he finished 70th at The Open, was cut at the PGA Championship and again at the Barclays, only to finish seventh at Deutsche Bank and 16th last week. Ace in the Hole: The guy has two Majors, you simply can’t ever count him out.
Zach Johnson – Points: 2175; Wins: 1 – Hyundai Tournament of Champions; Top 10s: 5 (one win, Sony Open in Hawaii, Humana Challenge, Valero Texas Open, CVS Caremark, John Deere Classic); Analysis: Pretty unimpressive in the regular season; all of his Top 10 finishess were in lesser events and he was bad at the majors. Fixed that early in the playoffs with two Top 25 finishes; Ace in the Hole: Has saved his best round for last in all three FexEd tournaments so far this year.
Bill Haas – Points: 2139; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 5 (Northwestern Mutual, Humana Challenge, WGC-Cadillac Championship; The Memorial; CVS Charity; Wyndham Championship; Deutsche Bank); Analysis: As one of only two former FedEx champions in the field, it’s uncanny how much his play has picked up in the post-season. He’s finished 15th, 9th and 16th. Ace in the Hole: The former champion has won this tournament before.
John Senden – Points: 2137; Wins: 1 – Valspar; Top 10s: 5 (one win, McGladrey Classic; The Masters; Colonial; Deutsche Bank); Analysis: Big finish at Masters and Colonial got him here, and like Haas he’s been a different player in the post-season, securing his spot here with a fifth-place finish at Deutsche Bank. Ace in the Hole: Win or lose, he’ll be racking up the most frequent flyer miles on the way home to Queensland.
Patrick Reed – Points: 2110; Wins: 2 – Humana Challenge, WGC – Cadillac Championship; Top 10s: 4 (two wins, Bridgestone, The Barclays); Analysis: Two weeks ago he seemed a lock to enter this stage in the top 10 with a real chance to win it after finishing ninth at the Barclays. But it’s been flat ugly since then – a tie for 74th in Boston and a tie for 53rd in Denver. Ace in the Hole: He’s been cold for almost a month; surely it’s time for a heat spell.
Cameron Tringale – Points: 2063; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 3 (Shell Houston Open, Greenbrier Classic, The Barclays); Analysis: Tringale’s case is one for those who believe the post-season tournaments are simply way too overvalued. After being cut at the British Open and disqualified from the PGA Championship, Tringale finished tied for second at The Barclays and has been in the thick of things ever since. Ace in the Hole: Close to his home away from home, he graduated Georgia Tech in 2009.
Russell Henley – Points: 2040; Wins: 1 – The Honda Classic; Top 10s: 3 (one win, CVS Caremark, Deutsche Bank); Analysis: Was a non-factor before two weeks ago, when he raced to second place in Boston. Prior to that, his last two months had been three cuts and four finishes outside the top 25. Ace in the Hole: Another local boy made good, he was born in Macon, and graduated UGA in 2011.
Morgan Hoffmann- Points: 1973; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 2 (The Barclays, BMW Championship); Analysis: Talk about picking your spots – Top 3 finishes at two of the three post-season tournaments have the previously unheralded Hoffman in the mix. His final two rounds at Denver were insane – a combined 15-under par. Ace in the Hole: As hot as they come right now.
Webb Simpson- Points: 1944; Wins: 1 – Shriners Hospital Classic; Top 10s: 9 (win, Northwestern Mutual, Waste Management, WGC – Match Play; FedEx St. Jude Classic; Greenbrier Classic; Wyndham Championship; Deutsche Bank; Analysis: Looked DOA when he was cut affter two round at the Barclays, going 6-over in the first two rounds. Ace in the Hole: Terrible in the first and third FedEx tourneys; great in the second.
Ryan Palmer- Points: 1895; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 7 (Sony Open in Hawaii, Humana Challenge, Shell Houston Open, Colonial, PGA Championship, BMW Championship); Analysis: Was looking like a borderline guy in the grand scheme of things until his fifth-place finish at the PGA. Held the lead after 54 holes last week before slipping to fourth. Ace in the Hole: Has the same alma mater (Texas A&M) as your humble blogger, so he must be good, right?
Kevin Na– Points: 1893; Wins: 0; Top 10s: 6 (Frys.com, Sony Open of Hawai, Pebble Beach, Valspar, The Memorial, The Barclays); Analysis: Missed the cut at the final Major and Deutsche Bank, but his ninth-place finish at the Barclays got him here. Ace in the Hole: If he can avoid his trademark lousy first round, he can be a player here.
Geoff Ogilvy- Points: 1854; Wins: 1 – Barracuda Championship; Top 10s: 2 (one win, Deutsche Bank Championship); Analysis: Is here solely because of his performance at Boston, where he tied for second thanks to back-to-back 65s on Saturday and Sunday; Ace in the Hole: One of two Australians in the field of 30, not a bad percentage considering the entire country’s population (22.68 million) is just a bit more than twice that of Georgia’s (9.99 million).
Justin Rose – Points: 1814; Wins: 1 – Quicken Loans National; Top 10s: 7 (one win, PGA Grand Slam of Golf, WGC-HSBC Champions; Valspar; Wells Fargo, The PLAYERS, WGC-Bridgestone); Analysis: Seemed to peek in the spring, hasn’t been higher than 24th in the three previous tournaments; Ace in the Hole: Can be the best guy out there if he just gets in the groove.