Alexa

Just like any other sport, homefield only matters if you play well

Just like any other sport, homefield only matters if you play well

The U.S. PGA Tour playoffs figured to be somewhat of a homefield advantage for someone like Vijay Singh, a three-time winner at the Westchester Country Club and a past champion at the TPC of Boston and East Lake Golf Club.
Then he shot 40 on his opening nine holes last week at Westchester and missed the cut in the first of the four-event playoffs.
Steve Stricker had not played at Westchester since 1995, when he tied for 60th and promptly told his wife, "Take a picture because we're not coming back."
He had little choice but to return under the FedEx Cup format, and Stricker warmed to the place rather quickly when he won The Barclays for his first victory in more than six years.
"I think for the most part, most players feel like if they're playing well, they can compete at any course," Stricker said Wednesday.
The next stop in the playoffs is the TPC of Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which starts Friday to accommodate its annual finish on the American Labor Day holiday.
The defending champion is Tiger Woods, who will be making his playoff debut after sitting out the first round, which caused him to fall from No. 1 to No. 4 in the standings.
Three of the top 10 players _ Adam Scott is the other _ have won at the TPC of Boston. That doesn't mean much if the first week was any indication. Plus, the course has gone through another round of changes, this time by architect Gil Hanse and Brad Faxon.
Among the most significant changes:
_No. 4 now plays at 298 yards, which will tempt players to drive the green.
_The par-5 seventh now has a massive cross bunker some 135 yards short of the green, with the face built up so steeply that players won't be able to see the green.
_On the par-3 16th, the green has been moved forward and to the right, closer to the pond players must carry.
_A new green on the 412-yard 17th, along with a 70-yard bunker in front of the green.
_Two pot bunkers in the middle of the 18th fairway, and another one in the lay-up area on the 528-yard closing hole.
The routing is the same, but it's not quite the same course where Woods closed with a 63 last year to turn a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory over Singh.
Woods won't see these changes until his pro-am round. Playing for the first time since winning the U.S. PGA Championship at Southern Hills, he spent about two hours on the practice range and putting green before going to a Presidents Cup meeting with Jack Nicklaus.
Scott won the inaugural Deutsche Bank Championship in 2003. He had yet to see the changes, but just being on the property about 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of Boston brings back fond memories. It was his first PGA Tour victory.
"It's always an advantage if you've won at a course," Scott said.
That would suggest the playoffs bode well for Scott, who tied for 14th at The Barclays and moved up one spot to No. 9 in the standings. He also won the Tour Championship last year at East Lake.
"If you enjoy being at a golf course for four straight week, I think it's an advantage," he said. "If you don't, it won't be much fun."