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PGA Tour Championship, Solheim Cup nearly all that remains of golf season

By RODNEY PAGE

Times Staff Writer

There is still some suspense in the professional golf season, but after this weekend it gets harder and harder to pay attention.

Yes, there's the President's Cup in November, with Tiger Woods a controversial member of the U.S. team. And the PGA's Fall season will determine the top 125 on the money list.

But for the most part, football and hockey start to look more attractive to the casual sports fan.

This week has two marquee events for both the PGA and women's professional golf. The Tour Championship, culmination of the four-tournament Fed Ex Cup playoffs, is this week in Atlanta. The top 30 golfers, as determined by points accumulated in the playoffs, will play for a $10 million bonus.

And the Solheim Cup, which is a Ryder Cup-like event between the best women golfers from the U.S. and Europe, takes place Friday-Sunday in Ireland. Here's a breakdown of both events:

Solheim Cup

When/Where: Friday - Sunday, Killeen Castle, Dunsany, Ireland.

Format: Teams from the U.S. and Europe play three days of match play. First two days are four matches of foursomes, and four matches of fourball. Final day is 12 singles matches.

U.S. Team captain: Rosie Jones.

TV: (See chart).

The skinny: The U.S. has won three straight Solheim Cups. Since the competition started in 1990, the U.S. is 8-3 in the biennial event. … There are two local ties: Brittany Lincicome is from Seminole and captain Rosie Jones won the Legends Tour tournament at Innisbrook last November.

U.S. Solheim Cup Team

Name Points Solheim Cups Comment

Cristie Kerr 750 Six Kerr is ranked No. 2 in the world and has 10 top ten finishes this season.

Stacy Lewis 467.5 First Won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, an LPGA major, this year.

Morgan Pressel 447.5 Third Did not win this year but did finish second at the LPGA Championship.

Angela Stanford 438.5 Fifth Has seven top ten finishes in 2011.

Paula Creamer 434.5 Fourth Won the U.S. Open in 2010 but hasn't won since.

Michelle Wie 358 Second Finished second to Lincicome at the Canada Open.

Brittany Lincicome 356.5 Third She is a two-time winner on Tour this year.

Brittany Lang 293 Second Has never won on Tour, but did finish second at this year's British Open.

Juli Inkster 188.5 Ninth The oldest player to ever participate in a Solhiem Cup (51). She is also the first-ever playing assistant captain.

Christina Kim 150.5 Third Her best finish this year is 13th and hasn't won since 2005.

Vicky Hurst Captain's pick First A Tour rookie in 2009, she has yet to record a win.

Ryann O'Toole Captain's pick First A Tour rookie, she has played in only nine tournaments and has two top tens.

European team

Christel Boeljon (Netherlands), Laura Davies (England), Sandra Gal (Germany), Sophie Gustafson (Sweden), Carolin Hedwall (Sweden), Maria Hjorth (Sweden), Catriona Matthew (Scotland), Azahara Munoz (Spain), Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Melissa Reid (England), Karen Stupples (England). Team captain: Alison Nicholas.

The Tour Championship

When/Where: Today-Sunday, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta.

Purse: $8 million ($1,44M to winner). $10 million to overall points winner.

Defending champ: Jim Furyk

TV: (See chart).

How it works: The Fed Ex Cup playoffs is a series of four tournaments reserved for players in the top 125. Each week the field is pared down until the final week, where the top 30 players are left to play in the Tour Championship. At stake is a $10 million bonus for winning the points standings. The winner of this week's Tour Championship is not necessarily the overall points winner.

Points were reset after last week's BMW Championship to theoretically give all 30 players a chance to win the $10 million bonus. If any of the players in the top five win the Tour Championship, they win the bonus. If any players outside the top five win, then it depends on points accumulated by other players.

The top five:

1. Webb Simpson: He's been in the top ten for all three playoff tournaments, including a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

2. Dustin Johnson: Won the first playoff tournament, The Barclays, and vaulted from 19th to second.

3. Justin Rose: Wasn't even in the top 30 prior to last week, but his win at the BMW Championship got him to third.

4. Luke Donald: He started in fourth and his consistent play has kept him there.

5. Matt Kuchar: Second at the Barclays and two top 25s were good enough to hold on to fifth place.

Longshots

1. Phil Mickelson: Started sixth and is currently in 14th. He can win every week he tees it up.

2. John Senden: Finished second last week and has gotten hot at the right time. Currently ninth.

3. Brandt Snedeker: Two thirds in the playoffs means he'll likely be hanging around.

Notables not in the Field:

1. Jim Furyk: Last year's winner did not have a good enough showing last week to make the field.

2. Charl Schwartzel: The Masters champ didn't play in the first playoff tournament and fell from 21st to 32nd.

3. Camilo Villegas: Had two sixth place finishes and made a run from 109th to 33rd.

4. Tiger Woods: Had such a bad year he didn't even qualify for the playoffs.

This week on Tour

PGA: Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta. TV: Today-Friday, 1 p.m. on Golf Channel; Saturday, 1 p.m. on Golf Channel, 2 p.m. on Ch. 8, Sunday, noon on Golf Channel, 1:30 p.m. on Ch. 8.

Solheim Cup: Friday-Sunday, Killeen Castle, Dunsany, Ireland. TV: Today-Saturday, 2 a.m., Sunday, 5 a.m. on Golf Channel.

PGA Europe: Austrian Open, Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, Austria. TV: Today, 9 a.m., Friday, 12:30 p.m., Saturday, 2 p.m., Sunday, 1:30 p.m. on Golf Channel.

PGA Tour Championship, Solheim Cup nearly all that remains of golf season 09/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:00pm]
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