30 players eye golf’s richest prize, FedEx Cup

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30 players eye golf’s richest prize, FedEx Cup


Geoff Ogilvy of Australia tees off in the final round of the PGA Tour FedExCup BMW Championship in Lemont, Illinois on Sunday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

ATLANTA - Just being among the 30 players at the Tour Championship should be enough for Geoff Ogilvy.

Only 16 days ago, Ogilvy was on the verge of being eliminated from the FedEx Cup playoffs. Needing a par-birdie finish at the TPC Boston, his tee shot on the 17th hole finished in a crevice behind a rock and he had to take a penalty drop.

What followed is still hard to fathom. Ogilvy rolled in a 20-footer for par, then holed a 6-foot birdie putt to narrowly advance to the next playoff event outside Chicago. Then, he finished alone in third at Cog Hill - a two-way tie for third would not have been enough - to book a trip to East Lake.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking of being here when I was in that hole,’’ Ogilvy said Wednesday. “So the fact that I am is pretty nice.’’

He is No. 24 among the 30 players who reached the Tour Championship, and while mathematically they all have a shot at the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup, the higher seeds have the greater odds.

Webb Simpson is the top seed, followed by Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar. If any of them win, they are assured of golf’s richest prize.

Ogilvy’s hopes require a little more math. It starts with him winning, and the odds got even longer the more he studied the other scenarios that must unfold.

“Webb Simpson must finish 17th or worse, which is probably not going to happen, you wouldn’t think,’’ he said, reading from a chart. “Dustin Johnson has to finish sixth or worse. Justin and Luke have to finish fourth or worse, which isn’t going to happen because Luke doesn’t finish out of the top three anymore, does he?’’

That’s when he shifted to a prize that might be just as meaningful.

“I’d love to win this golf tournament,’’ Ogilvy said. “That would be nice because people are forgetting this is one of the tour’s special golf tournaments - The Players Championship, the Tour Championship, the Tournament of Champions. It’s still the Tour Championship, and it would be pretty special to have a Tour Championship on your mantle.

“I guess I’ll view it like that and try to win,’’ he said. “And if the right things happen, that would be great.’’

The FedEx Cup is finishing up its fifth year, and while some promotional bluster created more skeptics than supporters in the early going, it is hard to find fault with what the playoffs have produced - four straight tournaments with the strongest fields, with only the best walking away with the $10 million prize. Tiger Woods has won twice, with Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk the other cup champions.

“I think the system has been validated because it’s had the biggest names in golf as its champions,’’ Kuchar said.

The leading five candidates this year all are among the top 20 in the world, including top-ranked Donald.

There is reason for others to hope, however, and all that requires is a chat with Nick Watney.

A year ago, Watney narrowly got into the Tour Championship at No. 28 and was 12 shots behind going into the weekend. In the final hour, he was one shot off the lead and had a legitimate chance to win the FedEx Cup until a bogey on the 16th hole.

“I was thinking I had no chance,’’ Watney said. “Kuchar was leading the FedEx Cup, and he was playing so consistently. They said I had to win and he had to finish worse than 25th or something. There were so many mathematical scenarios. It was like the BCS.’’

Kuchar is the only player who mathematically could capture the FedEx Cup without having won a tournament this year. That nearly happened last year with Paul Casey.


한글 관련 기사 [일간스포츠]

최경주-양용은, 페덱스컵 플레이오프 최종전 진출

1000만달러(약 111억4000만원)의 보너스를 놓고 격돌하는 30명의 최종 대결자가 확정됐다.

한국남자골프의 간판 최경주(41·SK텔레콤)와 양용은(39·KB금융그룹)이 PGA 투어 페덱스컵 플레이오프 최종전인 투어 챔피언십(9월23~26일)에 출전할 수 있는 마지막 관문을 통과했다.

최경주는 19일(한국시간) 미국 일리노이주 레먼트의 코그힐 골프장(파71·7386야드)에서 열린 플레이오프 3차전 BMW 챔피언십 최종 4라운드에서 버디 3개에 보기 2개로 1타를 줄여 합계 3언더파 281타로 공동 10위에 올랐다. 최경주는 이번 대회 톱10 진입으로 페덱스컵 랭킹을 13위로 끌어올려 상위 30위까지 나가는 플레이오프 최종전인 투어 챔피언십 출전을 확정 지었다.

최경주는 2년 연속 투어 챔피언십에 진출해 우승 상금 외에 1000만달러의 보너스 상금을 노린다.

양용은도 합계 2언더파 282타를 쳐 공동 12위에 올라 페덱스컵 랭킹 28위로 투어 챔피언십에 진출했다.

전반에 2타를 잃어 최종전 진출에 먹구름이 끼었던 양용은은 후반에만 버디 3개를 추가해 극적으로 최종전에 합류했다.

이번 대회 우승컵은 13언더파 271타를 친 저스틴 로즈(잉글랜드)에게 돌아갔다. 로즈는 후반 들어 존 센든(호주)의 집요한 추격을 받았지만 17번 홀(파4)에서 12야드를 남기고 친 어프로치 샷을 버디로 연결해 승리에 쐐기를 박았다.

지난주까지 페덱스컵 랭킹 34위였던 로즈는 이번 우승으로 3위까지 뛰어오르며 투어 챔피언십에 진출했다. 11언더파 273타를 친 센든은 준우승을 차지했고, 제프 오길비(호주·10언더파 274)가 3위에 올랐다.

한편 최종전인 투어 챔피언십은 순위별 포인트를 재조정(Reset Points)해 순위 간 격차를 줄인다는 점이 이전의 3개 대회와 다르다. 현재 랭킹 1위는 3차 대회까지 누적 포인트 5261점을 획득한 심슨(미국)이다. 그러나 심슨은 포인트를 재조정받아 최종전에 출전할 때는 2500점으로 경기를 시작한다.

이 같은 방식을 적용해 최경주의 경우도 3차전까지 2134점을 획득했지만 440점으로 조정받아 랭킹 13위로 경기한다. 이처럼 점수를 조정하는 것은 선두권과 중위권 간의 격차를 좁혀 역전 우승의 가능성을 남겨 놓음으로써 플레이오프 마지막 대회의 흥미를 높이기 위해서다. 투어 챔피언십 우승자는 2500점, 2위는 1500점, 3위는 1000점을 받는다.
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