BMW = Big Moving Week?

07/09/2012 § Leave a comment

Golf fans are familiar with the term “moving day”, used to refer to the third of four rounds in a given tournament. As the FedEx Cup Playoffs entered their third of four legs yesterday, I started to closely examine the standings to see how much room there really is for upward movement.

With a particularly keen eye on Canadians Graham DeLaet and David Hearn, it seemed near impossible for them to make it into the TOUR Championship at East Lake in two weeks. Maybe that’s fair, given that they both started these playoffs outside the top 100. Still, I began to question just how much volatility there actually is come the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and what kind of chance guys who

2011 Final FedEx Cup Standings (Y-axis) vs. Standings Entering Playoffs (X-axis)

I examined results from the past three seasons—since the scoring system was revamped—and discovered the following.

Players starting the playoffs inside the top 30 have about a 75% chance of reaching the TOUR Championship. That means that there are about 7 spots that get filled by players beginning the series outside the top 30.  Of them, in each of the last 3 seasons, 5 players have moved from the 31-70 rankings into the top 30; just 5 players total have made the jump from 71-100 in into the top 30, while only 2 have made the massive leap from 100+ into the final field at East Lake: Heath Slocum in 2009 and Kevin Streelman in 2010.

Composition of East Lake Field by Position at Start of FedEx Cup Playoffs

2009

2010

2011

1-30

31-70

71-100

100+

1-30

31-70

71-100

100+

1-30

31-70

71-100

100+

23

5

1

1

22

5

2

1

23

5

2

0

Both DeLaet and Hearn entered The Barclays outside the top 100, at 106th and 108th, respectively. If history is a reliable guide, it is a pipedream to think that both Canadians could advance to the TOUR Championship. It would be remarkable if either did in fact.

Early 2000s were a Golden Age for Canadian Golf

The last time two Canadians were in the field at East Lake was in 2004 when both Mike Weir and Stephen Ames tied for 4th. Weir enjoyed several successful seasons in the early 2000s which culminated in appearances in the TOUR Championship, and he in fact won the event in 2001. His last appearance was in 2009 where he finished tied for 25th, before becoming plagued by injury. It would be great to see a Canadian back in the field soon.

Afternoon DeLaet

Despite the odds, Graham DeLaet is making a valiant bid to sneak into the top 30. A sizzling 64 tied him for the first round lead with the impressive company of Rory McIlroy, Bo Van Pelt, and Webb Simpson. The -8 score was DeLaet’s lowest round-to-par of his career, just one short of his career low 63 that he shot early in the year at the Sony Open in Hawaii, a par-70.

A second round of 70 has DeLaet in a tie for 7th, 3 back of the lead, and a projected 39th in the overall FedEx Cup Standings. Hearn meanwhile sits well back at -5 for the tournament, and is projected 54th.  Both are mathematically still alive in their quest for East Lake but will need great weekends to get it done.

Predictions for the Final Field at East Lake

Again, if the past three seasons have any predictive validity, we can expect at least 5 players to emerge from 31-70 in the regular season standings. Nick Watney (projected 3rd), Vijay Singh (4), and Louis Oosthuizen (6) appear to be slam-dunks. Ryan Moore (11) and Sergio Garcia (15) also appear to be in good stead heading into the weekend at the BMW.

That doesn’t leave much room for others.  Lee Westwood (18), Adam Scott (26), and the patience-urging/epistemological-assuring Seung-Yul Noh (32) all started the playoffs in that same 31-70 group. Outside of those eight names, the only one who has his name on the radar is, you guessed it, Graham DeLaet.

I would bet that 7 or 8 of the above get into the TOUR Championship.  For that to happen, of course, names have to fall.  Players who began the playoffs within the top 30, but who have fallen, include Ben Curtis (46), Mark Leischman (47), and Mark Wilson (63) who each have essentially slid too far to have a chance to get back in. I look to the following players to also disappointing slide and finish outside the top 30: Kyle Stanley (33), Scott Piercy (34), Graeme McDowell (35), Johnson Wagner (37).
Wittman

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading BMW = Big Moving Week? at The Wanderer.

meta

%d bloggers like this: