The FedEx Cup has provided a much-needed climax to the PGA Tour season. Big money is on the line at all four of the FedEx playoff tournaments and the $10 million bonus that will go to the eventual champion is a payday that receives attention beyond the golfing world.
Still, the FedEx Cup concept has its confusing aspects as well.
Consider what happened to the three qualified players with Chicago connections at the The Northern Trust, first event of the series that concluded in New York on Sunday.
Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman had a horrible start to golf’s postseason, shooting 74-80 and missing the 36-hole cut. He managed to beat only one other player who completed 36 holes. Streelman, though, will playing in the second of the $8.475,000 tournaments in Boston this week while both D.A. Points and Luke Donald will be on the outside looking in.
Donald and Points both survived the 36-hole cut in the Northern Trust, Donald finishing in a tie for 49th place with – among others – U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka. Points had a dismal weekend, shooting 74-74 to tie for 54th.
For Donald The Northern Trust brought an end to a string of eight straight missed cuts on the PGA Tour. The slump followed his best finish of the season, second at the Heritage Classic the week after April’s Masters.
“My season’s done, a very disappointing year but my optimism never waivers,’’ said Donald via Twitter.
Donald and Points bowed out of the playoffs because they couldn’t attain a place in the top 100 on the FedEx Cup point standings. Streelman – even with his missed cut – could. Points finished 104th in the FedEx point race and Donald was 105th.
Streelman had a much better regular season than Points or Donald and — even with the poor showing in New York — still stands No. 87 in the standings. He’ll have to step up his play dramatically in the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston, though, if he’s to make the field for his hometown PGA Tour event.
The Dell tourney runs Friday through Monday, rather than the usual Thursday start, to take advantage of more available holiday time for spectators. There’ll be a week off after the Boston stop ends on Labor Day and the BMW Championship, which runs from Sept.14-17 at Conway Farms in Lake Forest.
The field in Boston has 100 players, but only 70 will move on to the BMW Championship. The survivors will be reduced to 30 at Conway Farms. Only that number will move on to The Tour Championship, last of the $8,475,000 events that wrap up the 2016-17 season.
Donald may not be playing at Conway Farms, but he’ll be there on behalf of a worthy cause. His annual Taste of the First Tee fundraiser will be held on Sept. 12 at Conway Farms with Sergio Garcia also attending as a special guest.
Here and there
The Illinois men and Northwestern women are in the select field at the East Lake Collegiate Match Play Championship, to be held Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 in Atlanta. East Lake is the annual site of The Tour Championship.
Casey Brozek, former Illinois PGA president, has left his post as director of golf at Crystal Lake Country Club to take a similar post at a 36-hole facility in Naples, FL.
Kemper Lakes’ Jim Billiter bounced back from a tough final round in the Illinois PGA Championship to share honors in Monday’s IPGA stroke play event at Calumet Country Club in Homewood. Billiter, the leader in the IPGA Player of the Year race, shot 67 and shared honors with Chris French of Aldeen, in Rockford, and Brian Carroll, of Royal Hawk, in St. Charles.
KemperSports has added another Illinois course to its management portfolio – Lincolnshire Fields in Champaign.