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August 17 — Tiger Woods (remember him? The still top-ranked golfer who did not incur a penalty for grounding his club, played no part in a playoff, and was a non-factor at last week’s PGA Championship? Yeah, that guy) is an almost dead-sure lock to play on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in October. Woods’ FedEx Cup playoff future, however, is not so certain.
While Woods played himself out of contention and the headlines at Whistling Straits, he remained “high on my list” of contenders for the four wild-card positions on the squad, captain Corey Pavin told reporters Monday.
Last week’s event was the final tourney in which golfers could earn spots on the team. Woods finished at 2-under, in a tie for 28th after posting a final-round 73)
Consolation prize. Two of the eight who automatically qualified for the biennial competition in Wales figured prominently in Sunday’s action. You may have heard a little something about Dustin Johnson’s bunker brouhaha, but with all that rules stuff happening, you may have missed the part about Bubba Watson losing a three-hole playoff to Martin Kaymer.
In Johnson’s and Watson’s cases, making the team will have to serve as some sort of consolation prize, although Watson saw it as anything but that.
Lifelong dream. The long-hitting Watson, who dumped an approach shot into the hazard fronting the 18th green, effectively killing his chances for the victory on the third and deciding playoff hole, expressed disappointment at losing. He was, however, thrilled to make Pavin’s team. His runner-up finish at Whistling Straits bounced him up from 18th in the standings to No. 3.
“I made the Ryder Cup, so that’s all I care about,” Ryder Cup rookie Watson told reporters after coming up short on Sunday. “I’ve wanted to play the Ryder Cup my whole life.”
First-time winner. Watson, who won his first PGA Tour event in June when he captured the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, will play with Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Jeff Overton, and Matt Kuchar.
Golf whisperer. Pavin has said he would announce his captain’s picks on September 7 (although Golf Channel’s Jim Gray believes Pavin told him last week that Woods was on the team; remember when the Gray-Pavin smackdown was the only controversy dogging the PGA Championship?). With Woods publicly saying he hoped Pavin would choose him, it’s virtually impossible to consider he won’t be making the trip to Wales.
Woods’ chances of making it to the first playoff at The Barclays later this month, let alone Boston’s Deutsche Bank Championship over Labor Day weekend, however, were not etched in stone.
While his share of 28th place at the PGA Championship put him at 108th on the FedEx Cup points list — well within the top 125 who will qualify for the playoffs — it’s possible that golfers in this week’s Wyndham Championship could usurp Wood’s position.
In or out? The PGA Tour figured that two-time FedEx Cup champ Woods could possibly drop to 132nd and that the top 96 were the only ones definitely playoff-bound. But, the tour’s FedEx Cup expert also reckoned the top 120 players were likely to make the playoffs.
That, of course, would not guarantee Woods a place at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Even if he tees it up at The Barclays, Woods would have to make the cut and finish around 50th or better to punch his ticket to TPC Boston, according to a PGA Tour spokesperson.
Either way, Deutsche Bank Championship tourney director Eric Baldwin was not concerned.
Top golfers in Boston. “If Woods does not make it, it still means we’ll have the top 100 players on the PGA Tour coming to town,” Baldwin told New England Golf Monthly in a phone interview. “We still expect to have a great turnout and competition on the golf course, just like we did in ’08 [when Woods was absent and recovering from knee surgery].”
Which is not to say that Baldwin would not relish a Woods appearance. “He’s still the No. 1 golfer in the world and fans would love to see him here,” he said.
Low club pro. New York club professional Rob Labritz was front and center when Kaymer received the Wanamaker Trophy. The Hartford, Conn., native who attended Central Connecticut State was the only club pro to make the cut.
Two-under through 53 holes, the director of golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, carded a snowman on the 54th to head into the final round at 2-over. He finished at 7-over, tied with Stuart Appleby in 68th place.
“All in all, a good week as I made my first cut in a major,” Labritz said in an e-mail message, “but I wanted a little more. I am disappointed by happy to know that I can compete on that level.”
Speed golf. LPGA golfer and adamant slow-play critic Christina Kim should book a tee time with Overton. After Ian Poulter withdrew Sunday due to illness, Overton raced around Whistling Straits in two hours and nine minutes. First one out, Overton played the fastest, if not the best, round in PGA Championship history. Overton shot 79 and finished DFL at 10-over.
In case you missed it, read how Dustin Johnson got screwed (or screwed himself, depending on your perspective) by a funky patch of Whistling Straits earth that turned out to be a bunker.

(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out at the Boston Golf Examiner and National Golf Examiner websites.)

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?