Is there such a thing as too much golf or enough money? Apparently there is, if the recent actions of Sergio Garcia and Jason Dufner are any measure.
Garcia is not playing in next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, the second of four in the FedEx Playoffs. Dufner announced at the PGA Championship that he was skipping The Barclays, this week’s event.
Dufner made his decision after playing The WGC Bridgestone, PGA and the Wyndham.
“I'm going to take some rest and probably start practicing towards the end of next week getting ready for Deutsche Bank in Boston and get ready for the playoff stretch and leading into the Ryder Cup,” Dufner said after the Wyndham concluded (via wyndhamchampionship.com).
Had he continued without a break, he would have played six weeks in a row, taken a week off, then played the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup. While Dufner has played in the Tour Championship previously, he has not played in the Ryder Cup before and that is a different kind of high level stress.
“It's big events with me for the rest of the year. Going to get a little bit of rest and get fresh for the first two events that I'll be playing in The Playoffs and really look forward to the Tour Championship and playing in the Ryder Cup,” he explained.
Garcia, once the darling of the European Ryder Cup teams, was at risk of being left off the team for the second time until he won at Wyndham.
He was determined not to let that happen.
He won twice in Europe at the end of 2011, but after a tie for fourth at the Northern Trust Open, he played indifferently all season. He even missed the cut at The Open Championship and the PGA. It seemed that his game had fallen on hard times.
Miraculously, Garcia won the Wyndham Championship last week and is again in contention at The Barclays this week. He did enough to receive a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.
Jose Maria Olazabal, European Ryder Cup captain contacted Garcia after his Wyndham victory.
“He was one of the first to call me and congratulate me, and he was very happy for making his job a little bit easier. He's excited to have me in the team, and he's looking forward to it,” Garcia said.
Garcia is not as high up in the FedEx Cup standings as Dufner, but he said that he is motivated to have some rest because he will be on the Ryder Cup team.
"I have to think that I have a chance at getting to the Tour Championship, so having to play six weeks in a row and then one week off and then the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup is just too much," Garcia said. "Everybody knows how important the Ryder Cup is for me, and I want to be fully fit there.”
He added that he wanted to take a week off someplace along the line, and Boston was the only one he could take.
With the PGA Tour FedExCup points schedule, Garcia would have to be in the top 100 after this week and the top 70 at the end of next week. He is taking that chance. If he wins Sunday he will be in 32nd place with 935 points, and that should hold him through at least one more week.
Garcia and Dufner are not the only two to opt out of FedEx Playoff events. Tiger Woods was a no-show for the first event in 2007, the first year the Playoffs were held. Ernie Els skipped the second event in Boston that same season, and Phil Mickelson skipped the third event. Though two of the three cited different reasons, they missed events to object to some particulars of the FedExCup. Details of those objections were not made public.
Now, with Garcia taking a pass on one event and Dufner taking a pass on another—while it’s not quite the same as Tiger, Phil, and Ernie—does it show that this end-of-season stuff is 10 pounds of golf in a five-pound bag?
Will it become more of a trend in upcoming seasons for those at the top of the FedEx points list?
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.