By Jeff Shain, Tribune Newspapers
September 15, 2011
The FedEx Cup chase isn't the only "tournament within a tournament" in play at this week's BMW Championship. It's also the last chance for players to lock up a Presidents Cup berth.
The top 10 players in both the U.S. and international standings after this week book automatic passage to Australia for November's showdown at Royal Melbourne.
Remember, too, that U.S. captain Fred Couples already has earmarked one of his wild-card picks for Tiger Woods. That leaves even less wiggle room for U.S. hopefuls.
"It's all about playing well this week," said David Toms, 10th and trying to hang on. "Those team competitions mean the world to me. … It's not only fun to represent your country but to be around all the guys and their spouses."
No. 8 Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Toms and Brandt Snedeker are separated by 254,029 points, which is based on money earned since the 2009 Presidents Cup. With 2011 money counting double, even No. 23 Charles Howell could play his way in with a victory.
The international race, based on world ranking, essentially comes down to whether No. 10 Geoff Ogilvy plays well enough to stay ahead of the idle Louis Oosthuizen.
The tournament already had been pushed back from its original Aug. 4-7 date to allow organizers more time for proper permitting.
Imperial Springs is the second stop to come off the 2011 LPGA schedule. Last spring, the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico departed over concerns about drug-related violence in Morelia.
The Chevron World Challenge is open only to players in the world's top 50 — a requirement that allows the event to count toward the rankings. Next week's list will be used to set the 18-man field, and Woods is 46th.
Each of the next four — Bill Haas, Sergio Garcia, Jonathan Byrd and Ogilvy — are in the BMW field. So are 10 of the next 14, who could crack the top 50 with a high finish.
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