Will Tiger Woods make the FedEx playoffs?
If Tiger Woods wants to avoid a layoff from the PGA Tour this summer, he'll need to start posting high finishes now that he's back on the course this week at the Quicken Loans National.
Woods, who has only earned 43 FedEx Cup points in three events in the 2013-14 wraparound season, is currently 209th in the standings, just behind Mark Calcavecchia. Accumulating more points is crucial for Woods' playing schedule, since only the top 125 make the playoff events, starting Aug. 21 with the Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey.
If he fails to crack the top 125, no exemption will get him into the field for the playoffs, and he'd have zero PGA Tour starts from mid-August until at least early October.
When asked Tuesday at Congressional Country Club if he was planning on playing the Open Championship, Woods hinted at what else he needs to accomplish between now and the Barclays.
"Do I expect to? Yeah. I'm just trying to get in the playoffs somehow."
The former world No. 1 could even be on the outside looking in for the U.S. Ryder Cup team if he misses the playoffs. He'd likely need a captain's pick by Tom Watson to make the American squad when they tee it up at Gleneagles in Scotland the last week of September.
To put Woods' 43 FedEx Cup points standings into perspective, Spencer Levin is currently No. 150 on the list with 241. David Lingmerth holds the key place, No. 125, with 312. And remember, everyone else along the way is earning points, too, so Woods not only has to post strong finishes, but he has to do better than the guys above him.
If Woods were to win this week at the Quicken Loans National, he would earn 500 points whereas a 10th-place finish earns 75, according to the non-major championship distribution chart from the PGA Tour. For majors, the points get upped to 600 for a win, 330 for second, 210 for third and so on. So even a couple of 10th-place finishes in the year's final two majors would only net him a combined 164 points.
In terms of Ryder Cup standings, Woods sits 67th at 763.542 points, behind the likes of Robert Streb and Justin Hicks. That list is based on money earned from 2013's majors and all PGA Tour events in 2014, with double points awarded for this year's majors. The top nine automatically qualify for the U.S. team, leaving three captain's picks. Patrick Reed owns that ninth spot at the moment with 3132.032 points.
With strong showings at the Open Championship in July and the PGA Championship in August, Woods could make life easier for Watson, who has said previously that as long as Tiger is healthy, he'll make the American team.