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Ames/Woods Skipped First "Playoff" Week, Els to Skip Second

During the first round of the FedEx Cup, I must admit to being surprised not to see Stephen Ames’ name in the list of players. Though he finished weakly in the final round of the PGA Championship and was snubbed as a selection for the Presidents Cup, I still expected to see Ames in the field.

But Ames wasn’t there. He was at home in Calgary, recovering from the PGA Championship and trying to fix a posture problem he says plagued him during the final round of the tournament. Ames spoke with the Globe’s Lorne Rubenstein and had this to say:

“The game takes a lot out of you,” Ames said. “That’s why Tiger doesn’t play a lot. We’re out trying to win. We hit every shot as if it’s our last one. That’s tough mentally, and you also have to be physically fit.”

The funny thing is that in an interview with me earlier in the year, Ames made fun of Phil Mickelson, calling him “fat,” and saying players needed to be in better shape to tackle the playoff structure. But Phil “Subcutaneous Fat” Mickelson was in the field last week at the Barclays and Ames was not.

I also find it interesting that Ames says he’ll play more events after the FedEx playoff because taking a couple of months off is simply too long for his game. Rube’s full story is here.

Of course no one south of the border will notice Ames’ return to the playoffs, largely because the story is, once again, who is not going to be there. In this case it is world No. 4 ranked Ernie Els who apparently is going back to England because his kids can’t go to school without the Big Easy riding along with the chauffeur.

Ive been on the road now for almost eight weeks and it is important that I return home where my children will be preparing their return to school, said Els in a statement. Hell spend the week at his home in Wentworth, England. I regret having to miss such a prestigious and important tournament.

But Els isn’t alone. In fact 10 of the Top 50 won’t be in the field this week.

Els, a South African, joined American Tom Lehman, Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, German Bernhard Langer and American Scott Verplank as players who have withdrawn from the Deutsche Bank. Els is 10th in the FedEx Cup standings with 96,967 points, almost 8,000 behind leader Steve Stricker. Olazabal, who didnt play The Barclays either, is 98th on the points list with 88,300. After a tie for 35th at The Barclays, Verplank is 15th with 96,341, while Langer is 59th with 91,075. Lehman is 87th with 89,050 points.

All of this will matter little since Woods will be back in the field. But at the same time, it is hard envision that this is what Tim Finchem hoped for when he set up the FedEx schedule.

The full story on Els is here.

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It is worth heading to Geoff Shackelford’s blog to see the results of an aggressive renovation of a golf course. In this case, it is the TPC course in Boston that hosts this week’s tournament. The before and after photos are startling. Check it out here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • So 10 of the top 50 aren’t in the field? So that means that 40 of the top 50 are in the field? That seems to me to be pretty good. What would you consider to be a good turnout? I doubt even the majors get 50 out of 50, as there are always injuries, sicknesses, babies being born, relatives passing away, and kids going to school. I consider the Fed Ex a success. Something new. The fact is golf has always been like this. There are roughly 40 events in golf. On average, players play about 20-25 events. They are going to miss 15-20 events per year. Get over it. Golf has been that way from day 1. Players don’t play 40 events a year. So what? Did you ever consider that Woods is the number one golfer in the world PRECISELY because he plays only the events he wants to play in. Perhaps if he played more he might not be the number one player in the world. And because Woods makes this decision you knock the PGA Tour and the FedEx?

    “It is hard envision that this is what Tim Finchem hoped for when he set up the FedEx schedule. ” How do you know that? How do you know what he envisioned? Maybe he envisioned the Tour getting more plublicity, which it is getting. Maybe he envisioned more $ for his players, which they are getting as a result of the FedEx. Maybe he envisioned 40 out of the top 50? You really do not know what the meterics of the FedEx are, do you?

  • Dear Different: I like your contrarian streak, but I think you’re wrong on this one. Finchem’s aim was to get as many of the best players in the world in one spot as he could — and this hasn’t accomplished that. And what sort of playoff structure allows players to simply skip a week? Did you know that Mike Weir could finish 10th this week and not move on? Does this make any sense to anyone?

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