5 surprising players who just got bounced from the FedEx Cup playoffs

August 12, 2019

For the first time this year, the opening tournament of the FedEx Cup playoffs chopped the field from 125 at the Northern Trust all the way down to 70 for the BMW Championship. That meant that plenty of players triumphant about keeping their cards were only able to celebrate for a week before their offseason suddenly kicked in. Somehow, these five players won’t be making the trip to Chicago.

1. SERGIO GARCIA (72)

It was an eventful year for Garcia, who seemed to get embroiled in controversy just as often as in contention. Garcia managed a T6 at WGC-Mexico and a T5 at the WGC-Match Play (overshadowed by his rules run-in with Matt Kuchar) but his best major finish was T52 at the U.S. Open, which leaves him on the outside looking in.

2. MATT WOLFF (74)

It shouldn’t be any surprise at all that Wolff, who was playing college tournaments just a few months ago, isn’t advancing further in the FedEx Cup. But when he won the 3M Open in his third pro start, Wolff sent our expectations haywire. Credit to him for keeping some perspective after this week’s Northern Trust Open.

“It was pretty much a frustrating week, a lot of stupid mistakes and didn’t really get things to go my way,” he said. “But you know, if they had told me at the beginning of the season that I would be in the FedExCup Playoffs, I think it would be a pretty good year for me.”

3. TYRRELL HATTON (78)

Tyrrell Hatton had seemingly cemented himself among the game’s upper crust, finishing the previous three years inside the top 25 in the world. Hatton threw down a strong showing at Royal Portrush, too, finishing T6. But that’s as good as its gotten for Hatton on the PGA Tour since the 2018 U.S. Open. Give how hot Hatton runs when his game doesn’t cooperate, he may welcome the chance for an offseason breather.

4. BUBBA WATSON (81)

Once again, what a difference a year makes. In 2018, Watson won three times and ascended back into the top 10 in the world. This year, he’s managed just three top-10s. GOLF’s Michael Bamberger caught up with him after a season-ending missed cut at the Northern Trust. He answered one question about the Masters that felt representative of a season of missed opportunities:

“Well, coming off 16 [on Sunday] I was one shot off the lead. Now I had two holes to go and Tiger had nine holes to go. Still, if I could somehow go birdie, birdie on the last two, who knows? But I went bogey, bogey. I finished 12th.”

5. HENRIK STENSON (98)

This is the most interesting of them all, mostly because Stenson didn’t even bother trying to work his way to East Lake. Stenson has played plenty well, making every cut he’s played since the Players Championship in March. But he opted out of chasing the $45 million doled out during the playoff stretch. Instead, he packed it in after WGC-Memphis, committing via Instagram to the Scandanavian Invitation the week of the Tour Championship. The man must have really wanted to spend some time at home— and he must be feeling sufficiently flush.