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Verplank sits this out

He'll rest up for final two events

Scott Verplank, who finished tied for 35th last weekend at the Barclays, will pass on the Deutsche Bank Championship. Scott Verplank, who finished tied for 35th last weekend at the Barclays, will pass on the Deutsche Bank Championship. (TRAVIS LINDQUIST/GETTY IMAGES)

NORTON -- Two weeks after suggesting he wouldn't play all four tournaments in the FedEx Cup playoffs, Scott Verplank was a man of his word.

He notified PGA Tour officials that he wouldn't be part of the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship, which starts Friday at TPC Boston.

"I know me better than anyone else, and my body is not going to hold up for four weeks," Verplank told reporters at the PGA Championship in early August.

Consequently, he'll sit out this week in hopes that he'll be fresh for the final two playoff tournaments, the BMW Championship in Chicago and the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Verplank becomes the second player to turn down his spot in this week's $7 million championship. Bernhard Langer, who turned 50 yesterday, is eligible for the Champions Tour and weeks ago committed to play in this week's Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

Langer also skipped last week's playoff tournament, the Barclays, opting to play in the KLM Open in the Netherlands. The appeal there was a sponsor's exemption for his 17-year-old son, Stefan, though the novelty of that wore off quickly. Playing in his first European PGA Tour event (it was his father's 435th), Stefan Langer shot 98-91, a whopping 28 shots below the second-to-last finisher.

The family honor, however, was upheld by Bernhard, who shot 67-71-67-67--272 and finished joint third, just four shots back.

Choosing the Champions Tour over the FedEx Cup is not a surprise; Langer had indicated as much weeks ago. Neither was Verplank's move a stunner; he explained his thinking a few weeks ago at Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Okla.

"If I'm beat up and dead tired going to Atlanta, on a course where I feel I can win, what good is that?" he said. "I'm probably stupid, but I'd rather win the Tour Championship than the FedEx Cup."

It's hard to deflate Verplank's confidence about East Lake GC, because in four visits to the Tour Championship there, he has finished third, tied for fifth, seventh, and T-14. But in a way, he's screaming proof as to why folks are having a hard time calling these things "playoffs." Last week, Tiger Woods chose not to play at the Barclays and this week Verplank skips the Deutsche Bank Championship. Yet they're both alive in the playoffs?

How many pro sports teams would love to take off a playoff series and still move on to the next round?

Verplank's decision to skip the Deutsche Bank also points to another flaw in the system. Though he dropped from 11th to 15th in the FedEx Cup standings by finishing T-35 at the Barclays, he is almost guaranteed one of the top 30 spots that will earn trips to East Lake, no matter what he does at the BMW Championship.

Under the radar
Changes to TPC Boston will be a story line all week, but don't expect players to be overzealous one way or the other. TPC Boston is simply this week's challenge. Not that they won't notice the changes -- "I like [them]. It's very natural looking," said Justin Leonard -- but he noted that it's only the fifth year for this championship, so it's not like getting reaction to alterations made at, say, Augusta National. "There's just not enough history on this golf course," he said . . . You may love the summer sun, but those who care for golf courses are partial to adequate rain. TPC Boston superintendent Tom Brodeur said it's been "deceptively dry" this August. Still, he feels the course is ready for the fifth edition of this tournament, even with perhaps the best rough the players have had here. "It's hard to get the rough up in August, it's so dry," said Brodeur, "but I think they've got some this week." It might be spotty and inconsistent -- 5 inches for those most errant shots, 4 inches elsewhere, thinner in other spots -- but it could be a factor.

On the money
With TPC Boston one of four courses used for yesterday's fourth annual Stop & Shop Family Foundation Golf Classic, more than $1 million was raised for charity. Those who played at TPC Boston got to play alongside a number of PGA Tour members, including Brett Quigley, Kenny Perry, J.J. Henry, Tommy Armour, Jason Gore, Pat Perez, Ryan Moore, and Andy North. Vicki Goetz-Ackerman of the LPGA Tour was also in the field. Laura Diaz was scheduled to play but had to withdraw at the last minute -- and for good reason. She was named a captain's pick by Betsy King Sunday and had to go with the US Solheim Cup team for a day of practice . . . Gary Young, who recently left his head professional post at Pleasant Valley CC in Sutton after 22 years, has been on site carrying cans of red, yellow, and white spray paint. Working his second tournament as a member of the PGA Tour's rules staff, Young was out designating areas as lateral water hazards, water hazards, and drop zones . . . Army Captain Marc Giammatteo of Southington, Conn., will be presented an honorary membership at TPC Boston in a ceremony tomorrow. A graduate of West Point, Giammatteo was severely wounded in Iraq in 2004. The presentation is part of the PGA Tour's association with the Wounded Warrior Project.

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