Loose Chippings

This warning is seen around rural Ireland where gravel tends to build on the narrow roadways from shoddy construction and wear and tear. It is an admonishment to drivers to beware because traction and control can be lost when navigating these surfaces.

With the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship over the next two weeks, there are a number of players who need to heed this warning as they try to consolidate their grip on the roadway in an effort to make the Ryder Cup Teams or position themselves to feast on the $32 million available in the four FedEx Cup Playoffs  events starting later this month.  Failing to carefully negotiate this competitive terrain could leave them stranded off to the side of the road with the emergency flashers blinking.

Jim Furyk, who is currently wallowing at 15th in the Ryder Cup Standings and 25th in the FedEx Cup race, got everyone’s attention with his opening round 63 at Firestone yesterday.  His seven birdies and an eagle thrust him to the front of the pack in Bridgestone Invitational.  Keegan Bradley who is hanging on by his fingernails to a 9th spot on the Ryder Cup list relied on a hot putter to make seven birdies to offset four bogies on his way to 67 and a T-9 going into Friday’s second round.  Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker at 12th and 13th in the Ryder Cup list respectively, will need to do better than their one and two under scores from day one if they are going to grab a secure spot in the Ryder top 8 and avoid having to solicit Captain DLIII for a captain’s choice on the squad.

Tiger Woods, in an event that he has won 7 times since 1999,  continued to show the inconsistent form he has displayed all year.  He managed to guide his ball between the shoulders of the roadway yesterday hitting 65% of the fairways and 78% of the greens.  But his putter, or maybe his green reading eye, let him down big time with 33 putts including a gagged 3-footer on the 18th hole for his third bogey on the back side on the way to a mundane par round and a T-31 to this point.  He has good company in the mediocre pit with Rory, Graeme,  Kootch, and Rickey Fowler all on that number.

So much will be decided over the next eight weeks-Fed Ex Champ, Player of the Year,  Stewards of the Ryder Cup, and much more.  How the top players do at Firestone and Kiawah the next two weeks will have much to say about their chances pursuing the treasures at the end of this road.

August, 2012

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