CARMEL, INDIANA | While Dustin Johnson starts Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship with a three-stroke lead on Paul Casey at Crooked Stick, there will be plenty of attention focused beyond the top of the leaderboard.
- There’s the race to finish among the top 30 in FedEx Cup points to advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
- There’s the goal of being among the top five in points going to East Lake because any player inside the top five will automatically win the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus with a win in the Tour Championship.
- And, oh yeah, there still are four open spots on the United States Ryder Cup team, three of which will be filled Monday by captain Davis Love III.
Rickie Fowler factors into two of those equations. After the third round, Fowler was in 30th in FedEx Cup points but that changes hole by hole. He’s tied for 59th at Crooked Stick so he’s not in contention but he has plenty for which to play Sunday.
Fowler is one of the players trying to land a captain’s pick and, depending on whose opinion you most value, he’s either on the team or probably on the team or definitely on the outside looking in. It doesn’t help Fowler that this is his fifth consecutive event.
“Yeah, I’m fatigued and it’s tough to grind it out mentally week in and week out when you play multiple weeks in a row,” Fowler said.
“I had really one goal in mind going through this stretch, and it’s to show that I want to be on that Ryder Cup team. If that wasn’t around, I wouldn’t have played five in a row. I wouldn’t have been in Greensboro.”
Daniel Berger is projected in 29th in points and Jason Kokrak is 31st with 18 holes to play. By not playing at the BMW Championship, Henrik Stenson is now definitely out of the Tour Championship giving him an extra week to rest his sore knee.
In the scramble to be among the top five, Johnson is projected No. 1 followed by Patrick Reed, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Paul Casey. Rory McIlroy is projected sixth and Jordan Spieth seventh.
“Obviously we all know what happens if you do stay in the top five and you win East Lake, nothing can stop you from winning the FedExCup,” Scott said. “You would be pretty unlucky if you were sixth and won East Lake and didn’t win the FedExCup, but it’s possible. So if you rule out one variable, that’s a good thing.
“I would like to stay in the top five and good play takes care of that and that’s all I have to think about.”
As for the Ryder Cup spots, Fowler and Bubba Watson haven’t enhanced their résumés this week while J.B. Holmes and Matt Kuchar are both among the top five on the BMW leaderboard going into the final round.
Perhaps Love already knows the three names he will announce on Monday, leaving him one more choice after the Tour Championship.
Then again, perhaps Sunday will change a number of things.