Pondering the Playoffs

Pondering the Playoffs

Rich Beem moved into solo second with a 68, two shots behind Choi.
Nick Laham/GettyImages/WireImage

HARRISON, N.Y. — Two rounds in, the FedEx Cup has provided more questions than answers. Here’s where we are heading into the weekend:

Who are the big losers?

Anybody who came into the week 121st or lower on points and missed the cut, thus guaranteeing they’d make history as the first dudes eliminated in the not-so-cut-throat playoff format. So take a bow Jeff Gove, Shigeki Maruyama, Bob Tway, Anders Hansen, Billy Andrade, Alex Cejka, John Merrick, Tripp Isenhour, Michael Putnam and Jesper Parnevik. We’ll see you in the Fall Series!

Uh, didn’t you forget Tim Finchem?

Yeah, he had the most egg on his face after Tiger Woods didn’t show up. But to his credit, Finchem didn’t hide his institutional embarrassment, and he did a decent spin job by pointing out that Wood’s W/D will make the next three weeks more exciting, which I happen to agree with. If Tiger had shown up at Westchester and won, he would have statistically eliminated all but a handful of guys, to say nothing of the demoralization factor. Now he’s going to have play hard while fending off the arrows of the press.

Yeah, how lame was Tiger for citing fatigue as his reason for not showing?

Pretty lame. Various players this week have openly ridiculed this cop-out, including his arch-nemesis and whipping boy, Rory Sabbatini. If Tiger had said he just wanted more time at home with his new baby, he would have gotten less criticism, but claiming he’s tired? Dude’s on the cover of Men’s Fitness! Steve Flesch, whose chest is about as big around as Woods’s bicep, played 10 straight weeks earlier this season. ‘Nuff said.

Speaking of Sabbatini, will he ever shut up?

It appears not.

Let’s scan the leaderboard a bit.

The biggest question right now has to be, Is the Beemer back?

We’ll see. Don’t forget, Rich Beem was near the lead after one round at the Masters before hanging up a sporty 81 on Friday. He makes the Dow Jones look stable. But he is 10 under, and he’s one of golf’s streakiest players. If he stays hot these next three and a half tournaments, anything’s possible.

Can Anthony Kim still be rookie of the year?

Only if he wins one of the playoff events. Kim was the R.O.Y. favorite most of the year, but Brandt Snedeker’s recent victory changed all that. If Kim can get a W of his own he’ll outpoint Snedes based on more consistency and more top-10s. Hovering near the top-5 at Westchester, Kim’s once again in good position. Now he has to deliver.

Among the non-scrubs, who has the most to play for?

Typically, Ernie Els went backward during the second round, three-putting four times en route to an even-par 71. Winless in the U.S. since ’04, the strain is definitely showing — whenever he plays poorly he turns into a royal grump, as was the case after his round today.

Adam Scott has only a slightly shaky win in Houston to show for his season and was a nonfactor in all four majors. He salvaged last year with a win at the Tour Championship, so maybe another late burst can make ’07 memorable.

And then there’s Sergio Garcia. For all the focus on his troubles in the majors, don’t forget that he’s 0-for-America going back to 2005. Forget the big ones, he needs a win of any kind.

OK, enough dithering — who’s gonna win?

I’ll take K.J. Choi and two shots anytime. Westchester is a ballstriker’s course. Only one guy in golf is hitting it purer than Choi right now, and he’s not here.