6 Under-the-Radar Golfers Who Will Surprise Us in the FedEx Cup Playoffs

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2012

6 Under-the-Radar Golfers Who Will Surprise Us in the FedEx Cup Playoffs

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    With a $10 million prize that goes to the winner of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it would seem likely that one of the tour's stars would come away with the big money.

    Even by today's lofty standards, $10 million is still a formidable amount of money, and it would serve stars like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson well.

    However, this year's FedEx Cup Playoffs have a chance to go to a player who is not at the top of the radar screen.

    With the Ryder Cup coming up, some top-level players may have a hard time revving it up for each of the FedEx Cup Playoff events, and that could leave the top prize to a sensational player who is just beneath the upper echelon.

Carl Petterson

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    The Swedish native Carl Petterson has had a sensational season, recording one win, two second-place finishes, one third-place finish and making the top 10 six times.

    He has won nearly $3.3 million in prize money, showing he belongs with the best golfers in the game.

    What gives Petterson a legitimate opportunity is his excellent swing that he is able to repeat on a consistent basis. When Petterson is on his game, he tends to get on a roll, and that will allow him to remain in contention in high-pressure situations.

Keegan Bradley

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    Keegan Bradley is another sensational golfer who is not usually considered with the cream of the crop.

    However, just because he doesn't have the same kind of profile as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson or Rory McIlroy doesn't mean he's not going to walk away with the money at the end of FedEx Cup Playoffs.

    The 26-year-old Woodstock, Vermont, native has a championship, a second-place finish and a third-place finish under his belt this year. He also has five top-10 finishes and has won about $3.6 million this season.

    He has 12 top-25 finishes, and he has made the cut in 18 of his 21 events. He has an average score of 70.18 this season.

Webb Simpson

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    After a stellar year in 2011 in which he earned more than $6 million, Webb has struggled to a large degree in 2012.

    However, despite those struggles, he pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he won the U.S. Open in mid-June and came away with $1.44 million.

    That victory shows that Simpson is capable of his best performances when the pressure is greatest.

    Simpson is not the biggest, strongest or most athletic player on the tour. He is 112th in driving distance and 288.0 yards per drive. But what makes him dangerous? He leads the tour with an average of 4.08 birdies per round.

Scott Piercy

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    Scott Piercy, 33, appears to be coming into his own this year. In 2011, Piercy finished with $1.25 million in earnings. This year, he is well over $1 million ahead of that pace.

    Piercy has one victory under his belt this year, a third-place finish and has been in the top 10 three times and the top 25 another 12 times. That speaks to his consistency.

    Piercy is a big hitter who has averaged 303.7 yards per drive this year, a figure that ranks 14th on the tour. However, it's kind of an all-or-nothing mindset for Piercy as his accuracy off the tee is not always stellar. He has hit 56.55 percent of his tee shots into the fairway, a figure that ranks 155th on the tour.

    If Piercy can harness his big drive, he has a shot to register a substantial upset.

Brandt Snedeker

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    Brandt Snedeker has been impressive in his consistency the last two seasons. He won approximately $3.6 million last year and has followed that performance up with $2.36 million in winnings this season. Snedeker has won one championship, with a third-place finish and four top-10 finishes in 2012.

    He has made the cut in 16 of the 18 events he has entered. That indicates his consistency on the tour, and it has made him a confident competitor.

    Snedeker is a sensational putter, ranking second on the tour in strokes gained per round while putting. As a result, he has an average of 3.90 birdies per round, a figure that ranks sixth on the tour.

Johnson Wagner

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    Johnson Wagner may not be a household name, but he is a solid golfer who has enjoyed a very productive 2012 golf season.

    The 32-year-old Wagner has a victory under his belt and a second-place finish. He also has four top-10 finishes and he has won nearly $2.2 million.

    Wagner's best asset is his competitive attitude. He's not a big hitter off the tee, and he struggles to keep his drives on the fairway. However, he is 20th in FedEx Cup regular season points and 27th on the money-winning list.

    He's not going to fluster easily, and that could give him a chance for a major upset in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.