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Battle in Beantown: Deutsche Bank preview

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By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The FedExCup Playoffs continue this week with the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship, and when the last shot is fired Labor Day evening at TPC Boston only 70 players will be left standing.

The Deutsche Bank Championship is the second of four events in the PGA Tour playoffs, and has produced five different winners since the tournament became part of the playoffs in 2007. Past winners of the event include Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Charley Hoffman, and the defending champion and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson.

The FedExCup leaders will tee off together and marquee groups battling in Beantown (with their current rankings in the FedExCup) are Nick Watney (1), Brandt Snedeker (2), and Tiger Woods (3).

Last week Watney turned his season around, going from two-down to three-up in a four-hole swing to surge past Sergio Garcia on the final day and win The Barclays (and with that victory, Watney leaped 48 spots to his current first place in the FedExCup standings).

Woods, on the other hand, suffered through another troublesome and increasingly common weekend collapse.  Nevertheless — he’ll try to become the second two-time winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship (Singh won in 2004 and 2008).  And to that aim Woods comes into TPC Boston healthy.

“The back’s good,” Woods said at a press conference this week, referring to the lower back injury he suffered last week while sleeping on a soft hotel mattress.

2012 PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy (4), Zach Johnson (5) and Jason Dufner (6) is another group worth watching.

McIlroy has only one previous FedExCup playoff appearance (finishing T37 here in 2010).  But the young Irishman’s 2012 campaign has been as impressive as anyone’s on Tour.  To go along with his second career major victory at the PGA Championship, McIlroy also won The Honda Classic and twice finished runner-up at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Dufner also comes into Boston with two victories this year — the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and HP Byron Nelson Championship. And the native Clevelander also boasts eight top-10 finishes in this season.

“I had a good run in the regular season to get to this point, and I’m excited about the last three events, playing some great golf courses, against some obviously great fields,” Dufner said.

And after skipping last week’s playoff opener Dufner said he is fresh and focused.

“I feel good after the week off,” he said. “I had a nice week at home, just resting, and getting ready for this stretch.”

Other star-studded groupings include Bubba Watson (7), Dustin Johnson (8), and Carl Pettersson (9); Matt Kuchar (11), Hunter Mahan (12), and Keegan Bradley (13); Luke Donald (14), Justin Rose (15), and Stricker (15); and Mickelson (17), Ernie Els (18), and Rickie Fowler (19).

The top 70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advance to the BMW Championship next week. And the top five after the BMW control their own destiny. They can win the FedExCup with a victory in the final event, the Tour Championship presented by Coca Cola — which turns the heat up on the 98 players in the field this week to jockey as close as possible to that magical five spot.

And to add just a little more drama to stakes this week, the 18th green at TPC Boston has been redesigned specifically for the Deutsche Bank Championship.  Scoring will be more difficult with the green raised about two feet.  And subtle changes to the surrounding area add a risk-reward dimension that could result in the tournament being won or lost on a final shot.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

You can follow Pete @TheGreekGrind and GolfWRX @GolfWRX

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

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The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilders Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

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Final-round coverage of Sony Open not surprisingly affected by strike

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Shortly before the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii began, news that members of the telecast team would be striking filtered through the golf mediasphere. Viewers were unsure what type of a patchwork production they were in for as a short-handed team tried to make up for an absence of video and audio workers.

Whit Watson, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing, the main announcers for the telecast through Saturday, were absent. Instead, the team of George Savaricas, Billy Kratzert and Jim Gallagher Jr. called the action from Golf Channel studios in Orlando. Plenty of camera angles weren’t available, and there were no camera crews inside the ropes, which led to some awkward coverage moments. On-course reporting was also absent.

Interestingly, Jerry Foltz, normally a reporter, was pressed into action of a different sort.

So, what’s at issue here? Why the walkout? Per a K5 News report John Culleeny, a representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, indicated last-minute talks broke down.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Golf Channel for second contract for nine months, and they’ve proved fruitless. We rejected one vote a while back and when they put their last proposal out, 83 percent of our members rejected it. After a couple of last minute talks, nothing happened so we just pulled the crew today. We pulled the crew in the Bahamas and we pulled the crew in Orlando.”

More specifically for the IATSE workers at Golf Channel? Below industry standard pay.

“The biggest issue is the fact that Golf Channel wages are below industry standard, below what other people are making…We have people who are stay at home, work regionally in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, whatever. They make more money than people who go on the road for the Gold Channel. And they have to leave their families, stay in a hotel room for weeks at a time, and they’re getting paid less than people who stay home. We want parity.”

Attention now turns to when the strike will be resolved. Reportedly, a lawyer for the IATSE is trying to jumpstart talks, and a meeting between the two sides is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Golf Channel is scheduled to cover this week’s PGA Tour event, the CareerBuilder Challenge, as well as the PGA Tour Champions’ season-opener, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

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Monday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

Monday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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