The Sports Xchange

By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange

No rest for the weary in FedEx Cup playoffs

Tiger Woods did not make it to the FedEx Cup playoffs for the third time, Jason Dufner will miss the postseason because of an injury, and others might skip one of the three events heading to the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

There is no break in the playoffs this year in order to give players heading to the Ryder Cup next month a week off following the Tour Championship before they head to Gleneagles in Scotland.

"I think guys will skip, for sure," said Brandt Snedeker, who captured the FedEx Cup two years ago by winning in Atlanta after finishing second in the Barclays, which again kicks off the playoffs this week at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

"Everyone is going to take a hard look at the schedule. It will be interesting to see what guys do. I (took) a little more time off in the middle of the year. We (took breaks) last year, and it worked well. Just take a couple of three-week breaks."

Woods, Phil Mickelson and other players passed on some playoff events in the past because of the demand the long season puts on the players, but this year the schedule figures to prompt more absences.

Rory McIlroy leads the FedEx Cup standings and the Race to Dubai, and he and the rest of the European Tour players have to make sure they have something left for those playoffs, which run through the World Tour Championship-Dubai in November.

"The key for me ... is to have something in the tank," said Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who will play in the Barclays but is taking the next event off because his wife is due to give birth to their first child. He is bidding to reach the Tour Championship for the first time in his career.

"That's my goal, to be ready for that stretch (toward the end of the year)."

Adam Scott of Australia went to a reduced schedule a few years ago in an attempt to peak for the majors, and it paid off when he became the first Aussie to win the Masters last year.

Even though he points for the Grand Slam events, he also is taking the playoffs seriously.

"There's no point in getting to July and feeling you don't want to play golf, because the biggest golf is yet to be played in the two months after that," said Scott, who doesn't have to be concerned about a team event because the Presidents Cup was played last year.

"You've got to be champing at the bit after the PGA. Those are four big weeks, and they're really important. That's why I don't come jumping out of the gate (at the beginning of the year)."

Scott knows about playing four big tournaments in as many weeks. When asked the last time he did it, he responded: "November."

When he returned Down Under late last year as the Masters champion and even more of a national hero, there was pressure to play in all the big events in Australia, and play he did.

Scott won the Australian Masters and the Australian PGA, teamed with Jason Day to win the World Cup of Golf for the Aussies while finishing second in the individual standings, and lost to a birdie by McIlroy on the final hole of the Australian Open.

That is the kind of golf that would give anybody the FedEx Cup title, and Jimmy Walker played a little like that all season.