LL have mixed emotions watching the top British players try to qualify for the final round of the FedEx Cup play-offs this week, because if they don’t make it then I can include them in my Seve Trophy team for next month!
The BMW Championship at Conway Farms’ in Chicago tees off on Thursday and is the third of four events that make up the play-offs.
This year’s top 70 performers are set to play and that number gets whittled down to 30 for the forthcoming TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, where the FedEx Cup winner will be crowned.
The British quartet of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald are all currently outside of the top 30 and would be candidates for my team. So if they don’t qualify it would be great for me, but I do hope they all play well.
Donald has been really off form for a while, which is strange considering his game is normally so consistent.
The Englishman has scored one top 10 finish in his last seven tournaments and missed the cut at the US PGA Championship as well as the Open.
There is not much he can change, or needs to change though, because he swings beautifully. Nobody can turn it on every week, but form is temporary and class is forever.
By contrast, Henrik Stenson has finished in the top three in five of the last six tournaments and it’s no surprise to see him leading the FedEx Cup standings from Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
On form, he’s the No1 player in the world at the moment and is certainly capable of continuing that incredible run by winning the FedEx Cup as well as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Stenson’s fellow Scandinavian Thomas Bjorn had a great result at the weekend, winning the European Masters to set his stall out early for a place in the Ryder Cup team.
He beat Craig Lee on a play-off, to earn his first win in two years, but the Scot performed brilliantly and was a little unlucky.
Lee carded a course-record 61 in the third round and had a great chance to break 60, then lipped a birdie putt on the 18th in the final round that would have spared him the extra play-off hole.
There is no doubt he will be very disappointed not to have won, but I’m sure when he woke up yesterday and realised he had his card for next year that will have cheered him up.
Great Britain and Ireland were thumped 17-9 by USA in the Walker Cup, an event akin to the Ryder Cup played by the top amateurs. Among the British team was Kevin Phelan who will need to get over that disappointment quickly as he plays in his first tournament as a professional in the KLM Open in Holland this week.
When you sign that form to turn professional it changes everything. Your life is now dedicated to making a living playing golf. It changes you as a person. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam