September Madness: PGA's version of the Sweet 16

A field of 70 will be cut down to 30 come Sunday afternoon at the BMW Championship. Photo: Tiger Woods/AP

CHICAGO, September 12, 2013 — With only a couple weeks remaining in the season, the PGA Tour Playoffs head to a relatively young course in Forest Lake, Illinois. Conway Farms GC, which enjoys the coastal breezes off Lake Michigan. is set to host its first ever PGA Tour event.

It has been said that both golf courses and players age like a fine wine, the historic surroundings of these grounds should pair well with a field that is chock full of seasoned veterans. 

Henrik Stenson’s victory a couple weeks ago at the Deutsche Bank put the Swede well positioned overall in the race. Regardless of his performance this week, however, there are many interesting stories taking shape. Tiger Woods remains atop the FedEx Cup point standings, but as history has shown, things could change rapidly over the final two weeks of the season. 

This week’s BMW Championship stages the world’s best, strategically trying to maneuver themselves into a chance at that $10 million FedEx Cup bonus that is now within sight. It begins with the remaining 70 players, which will be whittled down to the top 30 by week’s end to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship. 

Steve Stricker/AP

The list of contenders for the richest payday in golf include many. One, a dark horse who always seems to play well come FedEx Cup Playoffs time, Steve Stricker, who happens to hail from nearby Wisconsin.  Stricker announced at the beginning of the year he would be playing a very limited schedule.

At the ripe age of 46, Steve Stricker really needed to play well week in and out to put himself in position to have any look at the season long points title, which would be the crowning moment in Stricker’s very solid career. 

Phil Mickelson, at age 43, could also be described as matured and aged properly, and hey, the guy won the British Open less than two months ago. He is looking to the next two weeks to cap his career with his first $10M bonus as well as possibly gaining the inside track for Player of the Year honors as well.

Excluding Lefty and Sticks, there are still many players with a realistic shot at both the money and the POY honors; Masters Champ Adam Scott, PGA winner Jason Dufner, U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, and some guy named Tiger Woods. Tiger can ill afford another performance like he did at The Deutsche Bank two weeks ago when he finished tied for 65th.

Many notable names have already been eliminated from the race, storing away the golf clubs and picking up the fishing rods for the remainder of their 2013 season. These include former major champions Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy, Justin Leonard, and Stewart Cink.

Still breathing, however, are two players that were recently ranked the World’s Number One, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald. Both still have a chance to win a tournament or two, but have all but been officially eliminated from contending for the huge season ending bonus that is the FedEx Cup.

Thus begins golf’s version of the Sweet 16, maybe call it September Madness. The picture will be much clearer come Sunday as to who will make their historical mark on golf. This week’s champion receives the keys to a new Beamer and some cash, not a terrible consolation prize. The bigger story will be who is best positioned going into the Tour Championship.

History Lesson: The last three winners of next week’s Tour Championship also walked away with FedEx Cup Trophy in hand, including the biggest payday in golf.  

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Reece Lewis

Reece was born and raised in Southern California where he played competitive golf for both Loyola High School and Loyola Marymount University. His professional background includes advertising, television, litigation services and is currently a Financial Advisor. He still enjoys his weekly Skins game, while also enjoying a 4 handicap.

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