For two players, Jim Furyk of the USA and Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, the next four days will be crucial since neither is a guaranteed lock for either the Presidents Cup or the Tour Championship next week.
“I’ve got to move up at least five spots to get to the Tour Championship,” Furyk explained about his current spot on the FedEx Cup point list. “I’m also in a very tight Presidents Cup race, sitting 9th in the points there. I think numbers 8 through 12 are very close, so obviously I want to hold my position or move up in that, as well.”
Furyk won the FedEx Cup last year in the rain and has been on 13 consecutive Ryder/Presidents Cups since 1997, so the position the Pennsylvania native finds himself in is very foreign.
“I was in 60th place, so my goals were simply to keep advancing to make sure I stayed in the top 70 to get here first and foremost, then try to move up,” Furyk said. “Same thing this week; try to stay in the top 10 in the Presidents Cup points, move into the top 30 of the FedEx Cup points and then hopefully there’s some icing on the cake.”
For Ogilvy, moving on in the playoffs is really a stepping-stone to playing in the Presidents Cup. Growing up just 500 yards from Royal Melbourne, where the event will be held this year, is very important to the 2006 U.S. Open Champion.
“I used to go and watch all the golf tournaments there,” Ogilvy said. “I would jump the fence and pay no ticket to go and watch ‑‑ watched Tom Watson win the Australian Open there in 1984, Greg Norman won a few Australian Opens there.”
Missing the Presidents Cup would be difficult in his home country of Australia, but missing it at Royal Melbourne would clearly be a kick in the gut for a guy who would not have been in this place if not for a mishap on the beach in Hawaii early in the year that cost him in some way most of the season.
“From my perspective it’s frustrating because I was really happy with where my game was at say in January,” Ogilvy said. “I messed my finger up, hurt my shoulder later in the year, had kind of a strange digestive sickness there for a while. So it didn’t really go very well for me this year.”
Fred Couples and Greg Norman will make their decisions next week and while Couples has already decided to pick Tiger Woods, Furyk has little room to maneuver, but if he plays well it will take care of itself.
For Ogilvy, he needs a very good week to make it to Atlanta, but Norman and Ogilvy both hopes Ogilvy plays well to make it to Melbourne.
“He’s been right on top of it,” Ogilvy said of Norman. “And you get the feeling he’s been watching pretty closely all year because he does seem to be very in touch with what we’re doing over here. I’m sure he’ll end up making the right choices.”
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.