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Inside Golf | Ron Green Jr.

By The Numbers

4 Number of players who have finished in the top 10 of both FedEx Cup playoff events – Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir and Justin Leonard.

10 Number of golfers, including Charlotte's Johnson Wagner, who played their way into the top 70 and thereby qualifying for the BMW Championship this week.

34 Number of PGA Tour victories by both Singh and Phil Mickelson, tied for 13th all-time.

Chip Shots

United States Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said Tuesday he expects to be in contact with Tiger Woods during the Ryder Cup matches. Azinger gave no indication that the world's top-ranked player will be on site at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., during the matches.



The Champions Tour returns to the area next week with the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn and brings with it another solid field. Among those expected to play are Jay Haas, Loren Roberts, Nick Price, Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe, Curtis Strange, Denis Watson and defending champion R.W. Eaks.



During a busy club championship weekend around town, Pine Lake Country Club may have produced the most interesting story. Chad Cox, who recently turned 15, won the men's club championship, adding it to the junior title he won earlier in the summer.

Observations

So much for the drama of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Singh has gone Tiger on us and with his two victories essentially locked up the $10million bonus that comes with winning the playoffs.

It's possible someone could chase down Singh, but he will have to help by playing poorly in the two remaining events. That's not exactly the buzz-builder the tour was hoping to have leading into the Tour Championship, which will again feel anti-climatic, especially since it will follow the Ryder Cup.

The biggest question may be whether Singh will kiss the FedEx Cup trophy when it's presented, something Woods chose not to do last year despite obvious prodding from tour officials.

Mickelson, who has been invisible in the playoffs, said last week that while he likes the new playoff format, it has devalued the regular season.

In what had to send a shiver through the tour office in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Mickelson told reporters at the Deutsche Bank Championship that the new format means players don't “have to play as many events as we used to.”

My Two Cents

Azinger pulled a surprise Tuesday morning when he made Chad Campbell one of his four captain's picks along with obvious choice Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and J.B. Holmes.

Azinger said he would go with the hottest players and, in effect, he didn't find any Americans that fit that bill given that the last U.S.-born player to win a tour event was Parker McLachlin, who won in Reno opposite the British Open in July.

Campbell's last three starts have produced a missed cut, a tie for 65th and a tie for seventh Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Like his counterpart Nick Faldo, who opened himself up to questioning by picking Ian Poulter over Darren Clarke, Azinger's choice of Campbell will draw particular scrutiny.

In choosing Campbell, it meant Rocco Mediate, Scott Verplank, D.J. Trahan, Sean O'Hair and Woody Austin, among others, were left off.

Mediate hasn't finished in the top 50 of his past four starts, but his personality would have provided a touch of spice that seems to be missing now.

You can do all the numbers crunching you want, but the only one that mattered with Verplank was this – his combined record in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup is 10-3-1.

Campbell? He's a nice player and a nice guy who's going to be a father any day now. But he's not the guy I'd have taken.

And if I were Faldo, I'd have taken Clarke to go with Paul Casey rather than Poulter.

Why?

Clarke has won twice this year and he and Lee Westwood have – three different times – teamed to beat the world's No.1 and No.2 together in Ryder Cup play.

Poulter made a spirited run at the British Open but has not broken 68 since January. Poulter and Faldo are good mates, though, which could have had something to do with the choice.

Regardless, the Europeans will be solid favorites at Valhalla in two weeks. There's no argument about that.

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