Luke Elvy: It Pays Off To Play Well In The Playoffs

The FedEx Cup playoffs are far from perfect. Is the overall champion the best player? No. Are those who play well in weeks one and two entitled to hold the power heading into the lucrative final fortnight? Not really, but they do. That’s just the quirks of the system for now.

The PGA Tour knows it hasn’t got the right format, but there’s no doubt the playoffs bring extra excitement to a season, which used to end for all but the best 30 players soon after the final major. What we have learned is they offer lifelines for those good enough to take them.

Geoff Ogilvy Geoff Ogilvy holds the winner’s trophy at the recent Barracuda tournament in Reno that kickstarted his return to form this season (Credit: Getty Images)

Take Geoff Ogilvy for example. He came into the playoffs in the bottom half of the standings, thanks largely to a late season win in Reno. He missed the cut in the first playoff event & was ultimately fortunate to sneak through to the next tournament on the number.

As the last man into Boston he knew his fate, play well or say goodbye to the 2014 season. After a moderate start he got hot on the weekend, shooting successive rounds of six-under 65 and snuck home for s share of second.

It is a great result for his confidence and moves Ogilvy from 100th in the standings to 24th. Not only is he into the BMW, it would take something pretty mediocre in Denver to miss the Tour Championship.

That’s where things really gets interesting. All those who make it to Atlanta are guaranteed starts in all four majors.

Plus three of the four WGCs, chuck in starts at invitational events like the Arnold Palmer, Colonial & Memorial and in two months Ogilvy has gone from forgotten man to back on the inside of PGA Tour privileges.

Credit to him as he’s worked his tail off to do it, but winning an off week event in Reno plus a T2 at the Deutsche isn’t exactly knocking it out of the park. That’s the system and he’s used it to his advantage.

Ogilvy is one of eight Australians who have qualified for the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills, a phenomenal number if you consider the per capita stat on tour. It’s further proof of the year our boys have had with six players winning six events.

Speaking of winning, Jason Day must be awfully close having been in the mix in his last three starts – PGA Championship, The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship. With the wretched season he’s had through injury and illness, this late season flurry ensures the year wasn’t a write off.

Conversely, he’s finding himself in a difficult position as a player noted for his ability to contend, but not close. Being world number one and a winner is all Day has dreamt of since he was a boy, to achieve that he’s got to find a way to get it done under pressure.

Adam Scott said it takes years to learn how to close and every near miss provides more information to learn from. He should know, look at what happened between the 2012 Open and 2013 Masters… be patient everyone, Jason is only 26.

Finally, kudos to the world number two who has confirmed he’ll be contesting Australia’s big three – the Masters, Open and PGA again this summer, which allows tournament promoters to build off last years outstanding summer of golf.

Scott is the gift that keeps on giving, I just hope he’s never taken for granted…like Greg Norman was. As we’ve seen the goose won’t lay golden eggs forever.