At midway point in PGA Tour season, many top names face FedEx ouster

We just reached Memorial Day. Do you know where your PGA Tour season has gone?

OK, so it’s not over, but it must be a sobering reality to some heralded names that with only 13 playing opportunities remaining before the playoffs get under way, they are not where they would expect to be in the FedEx Cup rankings.

If the season were to end now, these notable players would not be in the playoffs: Charl Schwartzel, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell.

Oh, and Tiger Woods, he of the No. 156 position in the world ranking. (That’s right, Woods is floundering in there between the likes of No. 149 Benjamin Hebert and No. 158 Seunghyuk Kim. Unthinkable stuff.)

The Tour Championship for the elite 30? Forget that. Here are a few other names who wouldn’t make it to the BMW Championship, if the season were to end today: Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott and Jason Dufner.

True, there are three majors and a World Golf Championship left, so many of these players will have prime chances to seize FEC points. Yes, the picture likely will improve for some, but by now, it’s clear that the complexion has changed on the PGA Tour. Younger and hungrier players have arrived, and beyond being talented, here’s what they like to do: Play.

A lot.

Presently, of the top 30 players in the FEC standings, 19 of them have played at least 14 times. Compare that with marquee names who are lagging well behind: Dubuisson has played six times, Kaymer eight, Scott and McDowell nine each, Westwood 10, Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and Donald 11 apiece.

True, some FEC stalwarts have played light schedules (Rory McIlroy seven, Bubba Watson eight, Sergio Garcia nine) and they’ve made it work, thanks to victories or, in the Spaniard’s case, a series of high finishes.

But if 26 weeks of play has showed us anything in 2014-15, it’s that you can’t give today’s young and eager crowd much of a head start on the PGA Tour. Daniel Berger, already having played in 20 tournaments, sits 26th in the standings, while Justin Thomas, with 19 starts, is 39th. Others such as Ben Martin (18 starts) and Robert Streb (19) are 10th and 11th, respectively, in the FEC standings and showing no signs of slowing down.

In other words, while quality still matters, it might be wise not to ignore quantity.

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High school reunion

More than a dozen years after they became friends and joined forces to win a state high school golf championship, Keegan Bradley and Jon Curran will get the opportunity to play in competition as a two-man team.

“It’s going to be a blast,” said Curran, confirming that he’ll be paired with Bradley in the annual CVS Charity Classic on June 29-30 at Rhode Island Country Club.

They led Hopkinton (Mass.) High School to a state championship in Bradley’s senior year (2004), but from there they went down different collegiate roads: Bradley to St. John’s (Class of ’08), Curran to Vanderbilt (’09). Though Curran arguably was the more heralded junior player, Bradley broke onto the PGA Tour first (2011), and in a magical way, too, what with two wins, one a major. Four years later, the 28-year-old Curran is enjoying a respectable rookie campaign (he has made nine cuts and is 103rd in the FEC standings), and the chance to play in a two-day fun and charitable endeavor is something he’s eagerly anticipating.

Beyond Bradley and Curran, the field will include the annual tournament’s co-hosts, Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade, as well as Jimmy Walker, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas, Billy Horschel, J.B. Holmes, Steve Stricker, Bo Van Pelt and Peter Jacobsen, plus the LPGA’s Lexi Thompson and Juli Inkster.

The remaining names to fill out the field will be announced at a later date.

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Roller-coaster Rory

From the roller-coaster department, we offer Rory Sabbatini. From making six cuts in a row earlier in the season, the South African has missed the cut in seven of his last 10 tournaments.

But the good news is, when he’s made a cut, he’s fared well: T-11 at the Honda, a share of sixth at The Players Championship and a tie for 10th at Colonial.

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