|Scott Verplank, who finished tied for 35th last weekend at the Barclays, will pass on the Deutsche Bank Championship. (TRAVIS LINDQUIST/GETTY IMAGES)|
Verplank sits this out
He'll rest up for final two events
NORTON -- Two weeks after suggesting he wouldn't play all four tournaments in the
He notified PGA Tour officials that he wouldn't be part of the field at the
"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
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.