This week’s BMW Championship, the third event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, is the last chance for many Presidents Cup hopefuls to earn points and automatically qualify for The Presidents Cup 2011, November 15-20 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The top 10 players in both the U.S. and International Team standings at the conclusion of play on Sunday earn automatic berths to represent their respective teams in Australia. U.S. Team Captain Fred Couples and International Team Captain Greg Norman will later have to complete their 12-man rosters with two captain’s selections each, announced on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
International Team Update
The International Team top 10 is based on the Official World Golf Ranking. Jason Day leads the standings, followed by fellow Aussie Adam Scott, one of Norman’s captain’s picks for the 2009 event, at No. 2. Charl Schwartzel (No. 3), K.J. Choi (No. 4) and Kyung-Tae Kim (No. 5) round out the top five. Day, Schwartzel and Kim will be making their first Presidents Cup appearances.
South Africans and Presidents Cup veterans Retief Goosen (No. 6) and Ernie Els (No. 7) are virtually guaranteed to make a return to The Presidents Cup stage; and it looks as though Y.E. Yang (No. 8 ) and Ryo Ishikawa (No. 9) – who are both playing this week – are relatively safe as well. Yang is in the BMW Championship field, while Ishikawa is competing in the ANA Open on the Japan Golf Tour.
The true “bubble boys” are Geoff Ogilvy (No. 10) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 11). Oosthuizen, who did not qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, played in the European Tour’s KLM Open last week, but missed the cut, putting his first Presidents Cup berth in the hands of Ogilvy and several others at the BMW Championship.
Ogilvy and Oosthuizen could actually switch places in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of this week, as the OWGR is based on a two-year rolling system and has a divisor based on the number of tournaments a player plays (minimum of 40, maximum of 54). Because of that, even if players do not play, the ranking can change from week to week.
But with Oosthuizen not competing this week and Ogilvy, Vijay Singh (No. 13), Aaron Baddeley (No. 14), Robert Allenby (No. 15) and Rory Sabbatini (No. 16) in the BMW Championship field, the 10th automatic position on the International Team is certainly up for grabs, and potentially other positions as well, if more than one of those aforementioned players perform well in Chicago.
Using a projected Official World Golf Ranking for next week, here is a quick look at what players likely need to do at the BMW Championship in order to pass Oosthuizen and take over the No. 10 position in the final standings.
Current rank Player Finish needed to potentially move to No. 10
10 Geoff Ogilvy 25th
13 Vijay Singh 9th
14 Aaron Baddeley* 6th
15 Robert Allenby 5th
16 Rory Sabbatini 5th
20 Camilo Villegas Win
23 John Senden* Win
*player who would be competing in event for first time
Tim Clark, currently ranked No. 12 in the standings, will serve as one of Norman’s captain’s assistants for The Presidents Cup 2011 (with Frank Nobilo), as Clark is sidelined from competition due to elbow surgery.
U.S. Team Update
The top of the U.S. Team standings has remained relatively unchanged over the past few months, with Matt Kuchar (No. 1), Steve Stricker (No. 2), Dustin Johnson (No. 3), Phil Mickelson (No. 4) and Nick Watney (No. 5) currently leading the way for the U.S. Team. Webb Simpson, on the strength of two wins in his last three starts, moved from No. 16 after the PGA Championship to No. 6 currently. Bubba Watson, with two wins earlier this season, is ranked No. 7. All but Stricker and Mickelson will be Presidents Cup “rookies.”
From there, the U.S. standings are incredibly close. Hunter Mahan (No. 8), Jim Furyk (No. 9) and David Toms (No. 10) – all Presidents Cup veterans – are separated by less than 200,000 points. Points are based on money earned since the 2009 Wyndham Championship, with money earned in 2011 counting as double. With an $8 million purse and no cut this week at the BMW Championship, players all the way down to Charles Howell III at No. 23 still mathematically have a shot at playing their way onto the team. Last-place money at the BMW Championship is $16,000 = 32,000 points.
Here is a quick look at what players likely need to do at the BMW Championship to pass Toms (assuming he earns only last-place money) and take over the No. 10 position in the final standings. Of course, if several players on this list perform well, then much more than the minimum finish listed below will be required to secure a spot on the U.S. Team.
Rank Player Points Points/money behind No. 10 Approximate finish needed
8 Hunter Mahan 9,152,292
9 Jim Furyk 8,985,914
10 David Toms 8,954,295
11 Brandt Snedeker* 8,898,263 88,032/$44,016 T35
12 Bill Haas* 8,159,206 403,798/$201,899 T10
13 Bo Van Pelt* 7,922,383 1,063,912/$531,956 3rd
14 Rickie Fowler* 7,553,721 1,432,574/$716,287 2nd
15 Zach Johnson 7,319,980 1,634,315/$817,157.50 2nd
16 Jonathan Byrd* 7,316,848 1,669,447/$834,723.50 2nd
*player who would be competing in event for first time
Ryan Moore* (No. 17), Jason Dufner* (No. 18), Mark Wilson* (No. 19), Keegan Bradley* (No. 20), Ryan Palmer* (No. 21), Gary Woodland* (No. 22) and Charles Howell III (No. 23) would each need a win – and help from others in the standings – to move into the top 10.
About The Presidents Cup
The Presidents Cup, a team match play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers – 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues. The Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international team match-play competition. The U.S. Team has won six of the eight previous Presidents Cups, and the only win by the International Team came at the 1998 event in Melbourne. The 2003 Presidents Cup ended in a tie.
Players are not personally paid for their participation in The Presidents Cup; there is no purse or prize money. Each competitor, instead, designates charities or golf-related projects of his choice to receive a portion of the funds raised through the staging of each Presidents Cup. On behalf of the players, captains and captains’ assistants, more than $4.2 million was distributed to charitable causes from The Presidents Cup 2009. Additional donations were made to The First Tee of San Francisco and the Victorian Bushfire Appeal in 2009 and to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal following the Queensland floods in March 2011. In total, more than $23 million has been raised for charity since the inception of The Presidents Cup in 1994.
The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, November 15-20, 2011, where it will be played at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club. For more information about The Presidents Cup, please visit www.presidentscup.com.