LEMONT, Ill. — In golf, there is typically just one winner, the guy holding the trophy on the final day.
Justin Rose captured the BMW Championship on Sunday, and his third victory on the PGA Tour came with plenty of perks, not to mention the $1.4 million payday and the opportunity to head to Atlanta for the Tour Championship this week, where he will have an excellent shot at earning the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
U.S. Presidents Cup team
Fred Couples’ team will face the International squad Nov. 17-20 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. The U.S. team’s 10 automatic qualifiers are below. Couples will make his captain’s picks on Sept. 27.
|1. Matt Kuchar||0|
|2. Steve Stricker||3 (1996, 2007, 2009)|
|3. Dustin Johnson||0|
|4. Webb Simpson||0|
|5. Nick Watney||0|
|6. Phil Mickelson||8 (1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009)|
|7. Bubba Watson||0|
|8. David Toms||3 (2003, 2005, 2007)|
|9. Hunter Mahan||2 (2007, 2009)|
|10. Jim Furyk||6 (1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009)|
|The top 10 U.S. players who earned the most official PGA Tour money beginning with the 2009 Wyndham Championship through the 2011 BMW Championship qualified. From 2009-2010, $1 = 1 point. In 2011, $1 = 2 points.|
But in the PGA Tour playoffs, especially the final event going into the Tour Championship, there are typically several players who can feel good about themselves despite coming short of the championship hardware. And, likewise, some who feel even worse about their position in the final standings.
Throw in the Presidents Cup scenarios that were part of the final day at the BMW Championship, and there were plenty of winners, losers — and some that are a bit of both — on Sunday at Cog Hill.
Justin Rose. The Englishman held the lead for the entire tournament and had to deal with some typical British weather on Sunday, as it rained throughout the final round. Things got interesting for a time when his four-shot lead to start the day shrunk to one, but he chipped in for a birdie at the 17th hole and defeated John Senden by two strokes.
“To win my third tournament feels like I’m sort of moving in the right direction, and to move to No. 3 on the FedEx Cup list and give myself control of my own destiny next week in Atlanta is something I didn’t foresee at the beginning part of the week,” he said. “So just an amazing outcome.”
The victory helped him become one of three players to move from outside of the top 30 to a spot in the Tour Championship.
John Senden. The Australian made a big jump into the top 30, coming from 55th position and nearly taking the tournament title as well. A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Senden moved all the way to ninth place in the standings with his second-place finish.
“I’m excited about the majors next year, and to be competitive in the majors, you’ve got to make sure that you’re in all of them or getting the best experience in the big ones,” Senden said.
Geoff Ogilvy. The Aussie made the biggest jump, going from 69th in the FedEx Cup to 24th on the strength of four rounds in the 60s and a third-place finish. Ogilvy had a poor year by his standards due to several injuries. He had to birdie the final hole at the Deutsche Bank Championship two weeks ago just to make it to the BMW Championship.
“You come here with hopes of playing well enough to do that,” Ogilvy said. “But I guess the reality is that you’ve got a long way to go from 69 to get to the Tour Championship, so it’s nice to play well enough.”
An added bonus: Ogilvy locked up a spot on the International Presidents Cup team. He came into the week in the 10th and final position for automatic qualifiers and made a jump in the world rankings that will move him ahead of Ernie Els, although the makeup of the team did not change.
Jason Dufner. Although he was inside the number at the beginning of the week, Dufner was not assured of advancing to Atlanta when the day began. He was in 28th position. But a 68 pushed him into a tie for sixth in the tournament and he moved up to 22nd.
“If I got in, that was great, it would be a bonus,” said Dufner, who lost in a playoff in Atlanta last month at the PGA Championship.
Aaron Baddeley. The Aussie flirted with falling out of the top 30 because he tied for 22nd and needed to make sure he stayed in the top 25. He had shot 75 on Saturday but rebounded with a 67 on Sunday that included three birdies on the back nine. That gets him in the Tour Championship, which allows for another opportunity to at least give captain Greg Norman something to think about regarding the Presidents Cup team.
International Presidents Cup team
Greg Norman’s squad will face the U.S. team Nov. 17-20 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. The top-10 non-American players in the world rankings (who are not eligible for the Ryder Cup) automatically qualified. Norman will make his captain’s picks on Sept. 27.
|1. Jason Day||0|
|2. Adam Scott||4 (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009)|
|3. Charl Schwartzel||0|
|4. K.J. Choi||2 (2003, 2007)|
|5. Kyung-tae Kim||0|
|6. Retief Goosen||5 (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009)||7. Geoff Ogilvy||2 (2007, 2009)|
|8. Ernie Els||6 (1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009)|
|9. Y.E. Yang||1 (2009)|
|10. Ryo Ishikawa||1 (2009)|
|* Clark, out due to injury, will be an assistant captain to Greg Norman for the matches|
“I’ve never felt like that before playing for 20-something place,” Baddeley said. “It felt like the end of a golf tournament going for the win. It’s a big deal to make the Tour Championship because you can set your schedule. Plus if I didn’t make it I’d probably have no chance of making the Presidents Cup team.”
Charl Schwartzel. The Masters champion, who skipped the playoff opener in New Jersey because it didn’t fit his schedule, finished 31st in the FedEx Cup standings after a 76-70 weekend at the BMW Championship. He started the week 27th in the standings.
Schwartzel played the final four holes in 2 over par, including a bogey at the last, which essentially cost him a trip to Atlanta.
“It’s difficult,” he said. “I had a bad finish. I actually played really good today. Just the whole week has been going sort of like my finish was.”
Rory Sabbatini and Kyle Stanley — the other two players who got bumped out of the top 30. Sabbatini began the week ranked 26th but fell to 35th after a tie for 59th that included a weekend of 77-74. Stanley had a decent tournament with a tie for 22nd but it wasn’t enough to hold his spot.
The difficulty for both players is that they failed to secure spots in the first three majors next year. That is one of the perks for making it to Atlanta.
Bill Haas. The two-time PGA Tour winner blew an excellent opportunity to earn an automatic spot on the Presidents Cup team when he shot a back-nine 42 on Sunday and dropped to a tie for 16th. Haas began the day in the second-to-last group and was in position to make a move. He ended up 12th in the points, behind Brandt Snedeker, and although he has a spot in the Tour Championship, the fact that his dad, Jay, is Couples’ assistant captain makes picking him an awkward situation.
Brandt Snedeker. It’s hard to knock a guy who is sixth in the FedEx Cup standings, but Snedeker let slip an excellent opportunity to be among the all-important top five — thus controlling his own destiny next week. And with Jim Furyk having a poor final day, the opportunity was there to jump into the top 10 for the Presidents Cup. He ended up 11th.
“It crept in there a few times,” Snedeker said about the Presidents Cup. “Obviously it didn’t happen, but wish those guys all the best, the 10 that made it today. I take some comfort knowing that, at the beginning of the week, I had a chance to control my own destiny. I just didn’t do it.”
Why is it so important for players to make the field at the Tour Championship? Because teeing it up at East Lake yields some crucial prizes, including:
• Invites to the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, Players Championship and WGC-Cadillac Invitational at Doral.
• Exemptions into limited-field events on the PGA Tour, including but not limited to the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Memorial.
• Minimum of $303,000 since last place at Tour Championship is $128,000 and 30th place in the FedEx Cup is worth $175,000.
Jim Furyk. The reigning FedEx Cup champion won’t be in Atlanta to defend his title after a final-round 76 knocked him out of the top 30. Furyk started the week 35th and hovered inside the top 30 all week, but never recovered after bogeying four of his first five holes Sunday.
“Not my best day and I’m disappointed I won’t be at the Tour Championship,” Furyk said. “I probably didn’t need to play that well today, probably shooting 1 or 2 over would have gotten me in. So thinking about it that way, it’s disappointing.”
When he finished, it was not yet clear, but Furyk managed to hold onto the final qualifying spot for the Presidents Cup, falling to the 10th and last automatic position. That means his steak of playing in every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup going back to 1997 will be extended.
“Everyone knows I value Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams a lot,” Furyk said. “I take a lot of pride in making those teams, and I really want to be on the team.”
Hunter Mahan. He started the week eighth in the Presidents Cup standings and figured he had lost his spot on the team with a tie for 42nd finish.
“I have nobody to blame but myself,” Mahan said. “I didn’t play well.”
Mahan went so far as to suggest that he didn’t expect an at-large selection from Couples. But it didn’t matter, as he ended up dropping to ninth to automatically qualify while also making it to Atlanta, as he finished 21st in FedEx Cup points.
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.
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