Sergio Garcia is in danger of missing the FedEx Cup Playoffs for just the second time in the 14-year history of the postseason as he tees it up this week at the Wyndham Championship.
After missing the cut at last week’s PGA Championship, Garcia dropped two spots in the season-long points race to 134th. Only the top 125 will qualify for the postseason, which begins next week at the Northern Trust event.
To say that this season has been a challenging one on the course for the 40-year-old would not be overstating things. In 11 starts on the PGA Tour, Garcia had just one finish in the top 30 with a tie for fifth at the RBC Heritage being his best result. Should he finish outside the top 25 this week, it would mark the first time that he failed to register more than one top 25 in a season. If he misses the cut, his $US645,431 in earnings would be the lowest total of a career that has spanned two decades.
Of course, it hasn’t been an unusual year for just Garcia. It has for everyone.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months in the American spring and summer, 11 tournaments were wiped out on the tour’s schedule and two more (the US Open and Masters) postponed to the 2020-2021 season. As a result, the tour announced at the end of April that players who began the season with a tour card will retain it through the 2020-2021 season as well.
The drama, then, of players fighting to keep their PGA Tour cards at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina will be missing this week (though there is the matter of jockeying for position because a player’s eligibility category could change by finishing inside the top 125).
Even so, there are plenty of big names whose 2019-2020 season could be coming to a close without a good finish at the Wyndham. Among the most notable players currently on the outside looking in for the top 125: Nick Watney (128th), Zach Johnson (129th), Shane Lowry (131st), Danny Willett (143rd), Jimmy Walker (175th), Luke Donald (188th), Henrik Stenson (200th) and Bill Haas (208th).
Of that group, Stenson is the only one not in the field, meaning his season is over. It marks the third time that the Swede, the 2013 FedEx Cup champion, has failed to qualify for the postseason.
Charl Schwartzel, meanwhile, enters the finale as this week’s bubble boy at 125th in the standings. Though the South African fulfilled his major medical extension with an eight-way tie for 58th at last week’s PGA, he can improve his status for next year even more by remaining in the top 125. So, unlike Stenson, he will tee it up.
The Australians’ collective FedEx Cup standings are healthy, thanks largely to their efforts before the coronavirus struck. Marc Leishman (14th) heads the list, followed by Cameron Smith (29th), Adam Scott (34th), Jason Day (42nd), Matt Jones (87th) and Cameron Davis (102nd). Currently outside the top 125 are: Cameron Percy (140th), Aaron Baddeley (156th), Rhein Gibson (190th), Rod Pampling (now playing on the PGA Tour Champions, 227th), John Senden (232nd) and Greg Chalmers (245th). Of that group, in the Wyndham Championship field this week are: Baddeley, Chalmers, Davis, Gibson, Jones, Percy and Senden.
Playoff berths aren’t the only thing to be decided this weekend. Also up for grabs is $US10 million in bonus money in the season-long Wyndham Rewards Top 10, though much of drama will be missing here as well. With 2,458 points, Justin Thomas has an insurmountable lead and has clinched the $2 million cheque that goes to the points leader.
That means everyone else will be vying for the remaining $US8 million in bonus money paid to those who finish in the top 10. Webb Simpson (third), Sungjae Im (fifth), Patrick Reed (sixth) and Brendon Todd are the only players currently in the top 10 scheduled to play. Meanwhile, Lanto Griffin, Sebastián Muñoz, Adam Long, Harris English and Joaquin Niemann all could move inside the top 10 depending how they finish.