Players Sound Off On FedExCup, Ryder Cup and More
Round One of the FedExCup playoffs is in the books, and now we turn our attention to the PGA Tour's unique Friday-Monday event, the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, which will wrap up on Labor Day afternoon, weather permitting.
Last week's winner Nick Watney and defending champion Webb Simpson join Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and the usual suspects as players jockey for FedExCup position with an eye on another Cup, the one with the name "Ryder" on it. While the European team is set, U.S. captain Davis Love still has time to make his four at-large selections for the American squad, so Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson and others will be doing their best to impress DL3.
Here's a sample of what players are saying on the eve of the Deutsche Bank:
• Tiger Woods
"It feels good to be back (at TPC Boston). Unfortunately last year I didn't make the Playoffs at all and missed out on four big events. It feels good to at least have played well enough this year to basically secure a spot all the way through to East Lake (site of the Tour Championship). Looking forward to this week. The golf course is in absolute perfect shape. I mean, it's awesome right now. Sure, it'll dry out a little bit come the rest of the week and get a little bit faster and more difficult.
On the perception that he's been inconsistent: "Well, it's just you can't really look at it as real bad going on this year. At the time, most of the year, I was leading the Money List, I was No. 1 in FedExCup points and I won three times, so it's not like it's been that bad. It's just a couple rounds here and there or it's an up‑and‑down here and there or it's making one putt, which is not good. So that's a good thing."
On today's longer hitters: "The game has certainly changed. When I came our here in '96 and '97 I was long, and I averaged 296. I think there's like 30‑some‑odd guys who are averaging over 300. So it's a totally different game now.
"You know, the bigger hitters can hit the ball 320 in the air. I don't really have that. I can carry it 300, but that's a different gear. They're taller, they're bigger, and most of the longer guys are 6'3". When I was coming out here, if you were six foot you were pretty much average height, big height. Look at Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Watson, they're all short compared to the big guys now, and they were long hitters at the time for their era. But these guys are just bigger. I certainly can't carry the ball that far, but I'm still one of the longer ones but not the longest by any stretch of the imagination."
• Rory McIlroy
On majors: "I never grew up chasing records or trying to put a certain number on it. I've got my second major, and there's going to be a lot of people getting sick of this phrase, but I got my second, and I'm looking for my third. Hopefully it's not too long before I get my third, and then when I get my third, I want to get my fourth. That's the way I'm approaching it. I don't want to put any number on it because if I just throw a random number out there and I don't get to it, I don't want me to be disappointed with a career that's actually very good or everyone else to feel like I haven't lived up to expectations.
"I have no set number. I'm very happy that I've won two majors, and I want to get that third one. But whenever it comes, it comes."
On the Ryder Cup: "I think the big thing about the Ryder Cup is you have to be a good team member. You can't be afraid to voice your opinion. If you really feel strongly about something in the team room, you've got to stand up and speak. And then it's just being confident, self‑belief, having a good attitude, because that's what the Ryder Cup is all about. Match play is about having the right attitude going in and being confident."
• Nick Watney
On whether a win this week would secure a Ryder Cup spot: "Well, if I were to win this week, I guess — I've heard (Love) said he's looking for a hot player, and I would have to classify myself as a hot player if I were to win two tournaments in a row. I could honestly see a scenario where I win this tournament, and Davis says, well, just based on the year, if Brandt or Dustin played well, I'm taking the two or three guys that are really experienced, and Brandt and Dustin have had a better collective season than this guy.
"Part of me wishes that I knew what I had to do, and part of me is glad that I don't. I'm excited to play the Deutsche Bank. I feel like I'm in great position as far as the Playoffs go, and if that call comes, like I said, I will be overjoyed, and if it doesn't, then the first five months of the season cost me."
• Jason Dufner
"You know, I can't wait for the Ryder Cup to finally get here. There's been a lot of talk about it since I made the team, so it's been an anticipation of the event. I think as a golfer, for me it's probably one of the biggest events, if not the biggest event to participate in. Pretty select amount of players, you only get 12 from each side every two years. So pretty tough team to get on, so it's a huge accomplishment for me. Just everything I've heard about the Ryder Cup has been fantastic and just a great experience overall professionally and personally."
On skipping the Barclays: "You know, the main goal for me is to be in that Tour Championship. If you're in that Tour Championship, you've got a realistic chance of winning the whole FedExCup. I didn't pay too much attention to it. I think somebody said I was sixth, so I guess I moved down a couple spots. But you'd like to be as high as you can obviously going into that Tour Championship. But I've got two weeks before that starts. I had a little bit of a nice luxury of playing so well during the season that I could kind of afford to take a week off."