Woods on track for record earnings season
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 PGA Tour Championship | Round Three | 16 Sep 2007
The inaugural FedEx Cup Series is all but over and it might just be that Tiger Woods has already brought it to an early conclusion, his third round of 64 leaving him three ahead of his nearest rival, Mark Calcavecchia.
Woods appears to be in such control of both his game and his course management that it is hard to imagine anyone challenging in tomorrow’s final round.
It is true that the East Lake Golf Club offers the chance to go very low this week as has been seen by the amazing round of 60 by Zach Johnson today and the rounds of 62 by Geoff Ogilvy and Tim Clark, but it would be a brave man to back against yet another tournament win for Woods. If an engraver is required to complete Woods’ name on the FedEx Cup, he may as well start now as those with a chance of taking Woods’ lead in that particular race are now effectively extinguished.
Calcavecchia challenged Woods’ control of the lead today when he moved to 17 under par with an eagle at the 15th and was briefly sharing the lead with Woods who was playing in the group behind. As is so often the case, however, when he was challenged Woods added birdies at the 14th 15th and 16th while Calcavecchia bogeyed the 16th and when play was finished for the day, Woods was three ahead.
Woods had a chance at the last to make it a four shot lead but he missed his birdie attempt from 8 feet. However, he looks to have done enough to move his earnings for 2007 to a record US$10,867,000, some US$239,000 ahead of his previous best in 2005.
Zach Johnson’s round of 60 today suggested that there may yet be a twist or two in the final outcome but Woods is one of the all time great front runners and for him to be challenged on day four, a potential challenger will likely have to record a round in the very low 60’s.
Sergio Garcia emerged from the ruck to be in third place and five back of Woods, a good day on the greens assisting him to a round of 64 while Johnson’s brilliant 60 has him in 4th place at 13 under and six behind Woods. Johnson had a chance at 59 when he moved to 9 under with three holes to play but even though he would birdie the 17th after a brilliant escape from a fairway bunker, he missed the green at the last and made par for 60.
Geoff Ogilvy was another to go low, his round of 62 moving from 22nd to 7th.
To all intents and purposes, much of the interest tomorrow may well be in the race for second place in the FedEx Cup. There is, after all, US$3 million in store for the player who finishes second on that list.
Currently Steve Stricker still holds that position but given that he is struggling near the rear of this field, a big finish by Mickelson tomorrow could well see him move into second place on the points table. Don’t feel too sorry for Stricker however as he stands to earn US$2 million even if he finishes third.
Adam Scott is in 12th place this week after a somewhat disappointing round of 71, while Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley are 22nd after rounds of 68.