Friday, August 26, 2011

Missed It By That Much


by Randy Roberts

With the low scores posted on the first day at the Barclays, Michael Thompson knew going into today's second round that he would have to go low to make it past the cut.  Going low is exactly what he did early on.  Getting off to a hot start, he scored 5 birdies by the 12th hole giving him an overall score of -4 and safely within the cut which was at -3 at the time.  Bogies on 13 and 17 tempered the hot streak and left him one shot shy of the cut line going into the driveable par 4, hole #18.  His drive landed just short of the green and his second shot landed 13'-8" away from the hole.

It was as Yogi Berra would say "deja-vu all over again".  For the second week in a row he was left with a long birdie putt, one shot shy of the cut line.  Michael came up big again, draining the long birdie putt jumping back to -3 which was just above the cut line.  Alas, it was not to be.  As the day wore on, the rest of the field also posted low scores.  For much of the day, -3 held as the cut line.  In the afternoon it moved to -4.  With hope fading, it then moved back to -3 before finally settling in at -4.

Having missed the cut, Michael won't be playing during tomorrow's third and final round.  With hurricane Irene closing in on the course, the PGA has decided to shorten the Barclays to a 54 hole event.The missed cut is also projected to drop Michael to 115th on the FedEx Cup points list.  That means he won't get to play in the second round of the playoffs next week.  
On the positive side, he and his wife Rachel will get a chance to spend several weeks at home, which hasn't really happened since the season began.  He'll get a chance to recharge the batteries while the playoffs play out, then he'll be back at it for the Fall season at the end of September.  The fall season includes four tournaments starting with the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, NV.  The four tournaments will be his last chance to improve upon his position on the money list before the season ends. He'll be trying to stay above the magical 125th line beyond which Tour Cards for the next year are given out.

Update: With the Barclays over, we can report that Michael didn't lose any ground on the money list where he stands at 112.  Since only the top 100 on the FedEx list continue in next week's playoffs, it looks like only Ernie Els and William McGirt could pass him at 112.  That means worse case is that he'll start the fall season at about 114. 

Round Two Scoring Links

by Roz Roberts III

Michael Thompson finished off round 1 at the Barclays with a score of one over par (72) which has him outside the current cut line that is currently sitting at -1.  If round two scores are similar to round one then the cut line may move to -2.  The following online links can be used to follow Michael's second round online.

Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Round One Weather Delay Just the Beginning?

Michael Thompson watches his second shot on the par five 16th hole during his first round at the Barclays.
by Roz Roberts III

Round one of the Barclays experienced a three hour weather delay during the morning.  If hurricane Irene doesn't change course soon, that may just be a warm up.  Many players who teed off in the afternoon were unable to complete their rounds before darkness put an end to golf for the day.  Michael Thompson was able to get through 13 holes before the horn blew.  He currently sits at even par and will continue his round from the par five fifth hole at 7:15am ET.  Michael hasn't seen red numbers yet but every time he's had a bogey to get to one over par, he's followed the bogey with a birdie to get back to even.  Through the first 13 holes, Michael's had three bogeys and three birdies (two of them in bounce-back fashion which is defined as a birdie immediately following an over par hole).

For Michael, and anyone else ranked #101 or higher, the stakes for making the cut are clear - make the cut or your playoff season has ended.  Right now, Michael sits one shot outside the cut but with 23 holes to go he's got plenty of time to make a move.

After Michael finishes his first round he won't have much of a break before his second round gets underway at 9:13am ET.

Video Coverage
In addition to traditional television coverage, the PGA Tour's website will be streaming live video coverage from the Barclays.

Live@ Streaming Schedule

Live@ Channel     11:00am - 6:00pm ET for all four rounds

Traditional Video Schedule:

Day    Date    Network    Time
FRI    8/26    GOLF    3 - 6 PM ET
SAT    8/27    GOLF    1 - 2:30 PM ET
SAT    8/27    CBS    3 - 6 PM ET
SUN    8/28    GOLF    12 - 1:30 PM ET
SUN    8/28    CBS    2 - 6 PM ET

Expected Weather
As hurricane Irene gets closer to the East Coast, the more dire the predictions for Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday.   The PGA had quietly been preparing players to stay through Tuesday as play may not be possible on Sunday or Monday.

Friday's Forecast


Mostly Sunny

High:   86°
Chance of Rain:  10%
Wind:  ENE at 5 mph
Mostly sunny skies. Winds light and variable.

Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Playoff Season is Upon Us

by Roz Roberts III

Thursday marks the start of the PGA Tour's Fedexcup playoff season, as the Barclays gets under way in Edison, New Jersey.  This is just the fifth year of the Fedexcup Playoffs but in that short amount of time the playoffs have started to turn doubters into believers.  Intriguing storylines, large purses at the four playoff events (the Barclays, the Deutsce Bank Championship,  the BMW Championship, and the Tour Championship) and a $10 million dollar bonus to the #1 player at the end of the Tour Championship have contributed to interest from fans and players alike.

Michael Thompson currently sits at #107 but that doesn't mean he can't be #1 at the end of the playoffs.  The points system is structured such that any of the 125 competitors in the first round could potentially claim the $10 million dollar prize.  Two years ago, Heath Slocum started the playoffs as #124 but a win at the Barclays launched him all the way up to #8.

The second event of the playoff series, the Deutsche Bank Championship, is limited to the top 100 players on the points list so all of the players currently sitting outside of the top 100 need make the cut this week or their playoff season is over.  Based on the PGA Tour's current playoff scenarios, a top 52 finish will ensure Michael's playoff push continues at least one more event.

A first round weather delay has pushed Michael's first round start time back to 4:13pm ET from the tenth hole.  He will be playing with Kevin Stadler (#105) and Chris Stroud (#106) for the first two rounds.


Video Coverage
In addition to traditional television coverage, the PGA Tour's website will be streaming live video coverage from the Barclays.

Live@ Streaming Schedule

Live@ Channel     11:00am - 6:00pm ET for all four rounds

Traditional Video Schedule:

Day    Date    Network    Time
THU    8/25    GOLF    3 - 6 PM ET
FRI    8/26    GOLF    3 - 6 PM ET
SAT    8/27    GOLF    1 - 2:30 PM ET
SAT    8/27    CBS    3 - 6 PM ET
SUN    8/28    GOLF    12 - 1:30 PM ET
SUN    8/28    CBS    2 - 6 PM ET

Expected Weather
The weather is expected to be a large part of the Barclays story as hurricane Irene is expected to slam into the eastern seaboard later this weekend.    The PGA had quietly been preparing players to stay through Tuesday as play may not be possible on Sunday or Monday.

Afternoon thunderstorms are possible on Thursday.  Weather has already caused a delay during the morning rounds of round 1.

Thursday's Forecast

Afternoon Thunder-Storms
High :  87°
Chance of Rain:  50%
Wind:  SSW at 15 mph
Partly cloudy early followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe.

Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Playoff Bound!

by Roz Roberts III

It's official!  Michael Thompson, along with 10 other rookies, has had a strong enough season to earn entry into the 2011 Fedexcup Playoffs that start next week at the Barclays!  The field was made official at the end of the Wyndham Championship this weekend.  Michael finished with a two under par 68 in the final round and finished the tournament at nine under par.  That was good enough to finish in a tie for 25th.  The solid weekend performance moved him up on the Fedexcup points list three spots to #107. 

Just getting into the playoffs gives a player a chance to move up the points list dramatically since each of the playoff events are worth 2500 points (roughly the equivalent of five regular season events).  As the Fedexcup Playoffs advance, the fields are limited to smaller and smaller fields.  The four playoff events are held in four consecutive weeks start next week with the Barclays at the Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey.


The point level cutoffs for each week of the playoffs are shown below.

Top 125: The Barclays
Top 100:  Deutsche Bank Championship
Top 70:  BMW Championship
Top 30:  TOUR Championship

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thompson Makes a Move

by Roz Roberts III

Starting Saturday's third round at the Wyndham Championship, Michael Thompson sat in a tie for 61st.  He had made the cut on the number the day before and had a bit of momentum heading into "moving day,  Riding that momentum, Michael posted a four under par 66 which moved him up the leaderboard 31 spots into a tie for 30th.

For the third straight round he finished his round with a birdie on his last hole of the day.  The big difference on Saturday was that the final birdie on hole #18 was the third birdie he had made in the last four holes.  For the round, Michael had five birdies against a single bogey and is now seven under par for the tournament.

Michael's final round gets under way at 11:49am ET.  He will be paired with Alexandre Rocha.

Expected Weather for Sunday's Fourth Round
Afternoon Thunderstorms
High: 88°
Chance of Rain: 60%
Wind: SSW at 11 mph

Partly cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 88°F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Television Schedule
GOLF 1p - 2:30p ET
      CBS 3p - 6p ET



Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Friday, August 19, 2011

Late Birdie Leads to Some "Friday Fist Pumping"

by Roz Roberts III

It came down to the final shot of the round.  Michael Thompson was sitting over a 12 foot birdie putt and sat one shot outside the cut line at the Wyndham Championship.  For Michael, the stakes were high:  make the putt and play the weekend for a paycheck and all but guarantee a spot in next week's Barclays - the first event in the Fedexcup Playoffs; miss the putt and spend the weekend at home, watching the tournament on TV, and hoping his accumulated Fedexcup points were enough to keep him in the top 125 in order to play next week.

Michael drained the putt and threw a couple of fist pumps.  After the round, Michael said "I fought hard today and it paid off. (I) made a great birdie on my last hole to make the cut on the number! Huge! Excited to play tomorrow..."

video

The day didn't get off to a good start.  A double bogey on his first hole (hole #10) put Michael in serious jeopardy of missing the cut early and it got worse with a bogey on hole #14.  Scores all day had been low and the cut line looked to be set fairly solidly at -2.  Michael started the day at -2 and after his first five holes, he was three shots off the cut.  Michael rallied with birdies on four of the next seven holes moved him a shot inside the cut line.  However, a bogey at hole #5 left him needing one more birdie with four holes to go.  Three consecutive pars left Michael one final hole and he was one shot short of the cut.  A solid drive and good approach left him with the aforementioned 12 foot putt.

Since Michael just made the cut and he had an afternoon tee time on Friday,  he'll have a nice early tee time on Saturday.  He'll be teeing off at 8:39am ET with Briny Baird.

Expected Weather for Saturday's Third Round

High: 91°
Chance of Rain: 30%
Wind: ENE at 4 mph

Isolated thunderstorms in the morning, becoming mostly sunny late. High 91F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 30%.

Television Schedule

Sat, 8/20:
CBS 3p - 6p ET
Sun, 8/21:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Bogey Free Round Has Thompson Tied for 40th

by Roz Roberts III

Michael Thompson had a bogey free round of two under par during the first round of the Wyndham Championship on Thursday.  The two under par 68 put Michael into a tie for 40th heading into Friday's second round.  Michael's round was characterized by 16 pars including 12 in a row before a birdie at the difficult eighteenth ended both his par streak and his round on a positive note.

Michael's second round gets underway at 1:10pm ET when he tees off from the tenth hole with playing partners Chad Campbell (-2) and Brendon de Jonge (-1).

Expected Weather for Round 2
 





High: 88°
Chance of Rain: 30%
Wind: W at 5 mph

Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms possible.
High 88F.
Winds light and variable.
Chance of rain 30%.


Television Schedule
Fri, 8/19:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET
Sat, 8/20:
CBS 3p - 6p ET
Sun, 8/21:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Online Scoring Links
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One Last Push to Make the Playoffs

PING Pro Michael Thompson warming up on the practice tee at the Wyndham Championship with his S56 irons.
Photo and caption by @PingTour on Twitter
by Roz Roberts III

This week's Wyndham Championship marks the last event of the 2011 PGA Tour "regular" season.  It is the last chance for Tour players to earn a place in the Fedexcup Playoffs which start next week at the Barclays Classic.  In order to grab one of the playoff spots, a player needs to be in the top 125 on the Fedexcup Points List.  Michael Thompson sits at spot #110 heading which puts him in the "playoff bubble" which is generally considered from spots #110 to #140.

According to The Asbury Park Press' Stephen Edelson, Michael needs to finish in the top 60 of this week's event to guarantee himself a spot in next week's playoffs (see full article here:  Tour Drama).

In what might be Michael's best threesome of the year, he'll be playing the first two rounds with fellow Hooters Tour alums Chad Campbell (#75 on the Fedexcup Points List)  and Brendon de Jonge (#48).  The group tees off from the first hole on Thursday at 8:10am.

The Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina will once again host this year's Whyndham Championship. The course ranked 45th out of 52 in difficulty on the PGA Tour last year.

Expected Weather for Round 1

Isolated Afternoon Thunder Storms

Expected High:  87°
Chance of Rain:  30%
Wind:  SSW at 7 mph


Television Schedule

Thu, 8/18:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET
Fri, 8/19:
GOLF 3p - 6p ET
Sat, 8/20:
CBS 3p - 6p ET
Sun, 8/21:
CBS 3p - 6p ET

Online Scoring LInks
Leaderboard
Michael Thompson Scorecard
Michael Thompson Shot Tracker
Michael Thompson's Group on Shot Tracker
Shot Tracker Leaderboard