Bunker Mentality

Hail to the Heath

Bunker Mentality

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There were a glorious few minutes at The Barclays when a five-man play-off featuring Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els looked a distinct possibility. Now that would have been something.

But Heath Slocum played dream-wrecker. The journeyman American drained a clinch 20-footer for victory, earning himself a fat cheque for $1.35 million and perking up his FedEx Cup ambitions with a shot in the arm Iggy Pop would have been proud of.

Slocum had missed 10 cuts heading to New Jersey, but with this win he skyrocketed from 124th to third on the FedEx standings and is suddenly a contender for the (slow-release) $10m bounty at the end of the rainbow. Such is the ridiculous nature of the play-offs.

It was also a good week for Harrington, who bagged his third top 10 on the spin and has clearly dealt with the swing demons that blighted his miserable start to the year. The Irishman is a good performance at the Deutsche Bank Championship away from being a serious FedEx contender.

But then again so is pretty much everyone in the field.

As for Woods, the world number one was left to rue another uncharacteristically poor performance with the putter. You can only imagine the reaction of his two cubs to that missed seven-footer at the last, but it was surely along the lines of: "But daddy, you always make those". (BM accepts that cub number two may not be talking yet, but you have to remember Tiger was wielding a driver aged two)

That certainly used to be the case, but Tiger didn't make 'em at the US PGA and he didn't make 'em again at The Barclays. If they don't start dropping soon there will be opinionated golf bloggers all over the world suggesting that the BEST CLUTCH PUTTER EVER has got the yips.

Anyhow, on we go to Boston, where the reduced field of 100 will compete for yet another FedEx Cup points bonanza and the chance to launch themselves into contention for the big prize. Cue hysteria.

Is this heavily bottom-ended season fair on the players who won during the regular campaign? Of course not, but you can't deny these new-fangled play-offs have got our attention. And that was always the aim.

FIRST PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2009

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