PGA Tour pro Steve Stricker, defending champion of the Deutsche Bank Championship, will share his thoughts on golf and life on the PGA Tour occasionally in Boston.com's golf blog.
Well, folks, it’s postseason time.
The PGA Tour playoffs, one of the most exciting stretches of the golf season, is now upon us. The top 125 players have qualified for the Barclays and last I’m told, 123 of those players are here at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., ready to compete for the FedExCup and the $10 million first prize.
In the three years of the PGA Tour playoffs, I’ve been fortunate to have had some decent postseason success. It seems like late August and September have been times where my game has really come together. I’m not entirely sure why I tend to get stronger toward the end of the season, but it may be due in part to how I set my schedule. I usually try to take a short break in the offseason, and during the regular season, I make an effort to identify a few “off weeks” to rest, recover and spend time with family. This helps me prepare my body and mind for the final push. Additionally, I am always motivated by the high stakes in the playoffs and that extra bit of adrenaline helps during this busy stretch of tournaments.
Three years ago, a victory at the 2007 Barclays, the first-ever playoffs event, was a great start for me and led to me finishing second in the FedExCup points behind Tiger Woods. I felt like I was going to defend my title a year later when I held the 36-hole lead at the 2008 Barclays, but I couldn’t hold on. And then, of course, last year I broke through at the Deutsche Bank Championship and finished third in the FedExCup.
This year, I enter the playoffs in my best position yet, second place overall. But plenty of things can happen in the postseason.
The main reason for that is that the playoff points are different from the regular season. For one, the points awarded for each tournament are worth five times that of any regular season event and allow a player to make a big move in just one week. Last year, I remember Heath Slocum winning at the Barclays and moving from next-to-last in points to third overall.
Then, once the third playoff event, The BMW Championship, is concluded, all of the points reset. This reset allows the top 5 players in the standings to control their own destiny. If you enter The Tour Championship in the top 5 and win, you’re crowned the FedExCup champion.
I really enjoy the playoffs and their structure. Over the first couple years, the PGA Tour tinkered with the scoring system. Now I think we’ve found a system that really rewards those who play well and impacts those who do not. That’s really what the postseason is all about.
So bring on the playoffs. And may the best man win!
Until next week,
Steve Stricker is a 17-year veteran of the PGA Tour and defending champion of the Deutsche Bank Championship, a PGA Tour Playoff event at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., over Labor Day weekend. The world’s top 100 golfers will compete for $7.5 million and a $1.35 million payout to the champion from August 31 through September 7. Since 2003, the Championship has raised nearly $17 million for local and national charities. Visit www.dbchampionship.com.