GREENSBORO, August 18 – Defending US PGA playoff champion Tiger Woods could fail to qualify for this year's title-deciding events but is likely to keep his spot after this week's Wyndham Championship.The final PGA regular-season event opens Thursday with Woods ranked 108th in the season-long points chase that decides 125 players for the first playoff event, The Barclays next week.
Woods, who is not playing this week, could slide as low as 132nd and miss out on a chance for his third playoff crown in the four years of the system, but such a plunge is unlikely.
Only players in the top 96 of the points race have mathematically secured their places in next week’s playoff opener, but Woods would have to be passed by 18 players and is among those rated 120th or better who are probably safe.
The problems come after that for Woods to reach the final playoff stage.
Only the top 100 in points advance from The Barclays to the Deutsche Bank Championship the next week and only the top 70 in points from there reach the BMW Championship, after which only 30 make the season-ending Tour Championship.
Five players jumped into the playoff field last year based upon their results at Greensboro. The Wyndham winner will secure a spot if he has not already and anyone in the top 142 will seal a berth with a top-10 showing.
The bottom five playoff spots are held entering the Wyndham are held by American Michael Letzig in 125th, American Chris Stroud in 124th, Argentina’s Andres Romero in 123rd, Americans Robert Garrigus at 122 and Jonathan Byrd.
Canada’s Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, is just outside the playoff cut line at 126th, followed by Americans Jeff Quinney, George McNeill, Brett Quigley and Tom Pernice and Australian James Nitties.
Other non-US players with the best chance to move into the top 125 include Sweden’s Henrik Stenson at 133rd, Aussie Aron Price on 138, Aussie Rod Pampling on 148, Swede Richard S. Johnson on 149 and Aussie Mathew Goggin on 152nd.
The Wyndham will test a policy allowing spectators to carry portable telephones onto the course, provided phones are kept in silent mode, calls are made only from designated areas and no photographs or video are taken during competition days.
"We’re going to be kind of the guinea pig tournament on allowing this," said tournament director Mark Brazil. "We’re just going to test it."
Security and volunteers will be entrusted with enforcing the restrictions while allowing spectators contact with friends, family and businesses.
American Ryan Moore will defend his first PGA title this week at the same event where he made his tour debut in 2004 and beat Kevin Stadler with a birdie on the third playoff hole last year.