Three weeks shy of the end of the PGA TOUR’s regular season, the chase for the FedExCup is shaping up to be the tightest and most wide-open race in the five years of the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Hence, the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship (DBC) in cooperation with EMC, sporting its most lucrative purse and winner’s check ever, sets up to play perhaps its most pivotal role in the chase for the USD 10 million jackpot.
Fresh off his record-setting DBC triumph in 2010, Charley Hoffman is set to return to TPC Boston to defend his title among the 2011 PGA TOUR’s strongest field on August 30 to September 5. New England’s Labor Day weekend tradition, the ninth-annual DBC hosts the top 100 in the FedExCup Playoffs standings as the second of four stops in the PGA TOUR Playoffs series and features a record USD 8 million purse and USD 1.44 million first-place prize.
“It’s definitely the top victory in my career,” Hoffman said of last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship win. “It is a major on the PGA TOUR, for the most part. It’s the road to the FedExCup final, and it’s a big event. It’s a climax to the year.”
Among the golfers expected to qualify for the DBC and challenge Hoffman are 25 PGA TOUR champions in 2011, including 2007 DBC champion and 39-time PGA TOUR winner Phil Mickelson, World No. 1 Luke Donald (who finished runner-up to Hoffman at TPC Boston last year), Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and four multiple-time winners on the PGA TOUR this year – Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Mark Wilson and 2009 DBC winner Steve Stricker.
Other past DBC champions expected to secure berths are Vijay Singh (2004, 2008) – the DBC’s only two-time winner and the third-winner player among active PGA TOUR golfers with 34 TOUR titles – and Adam Scott (2003).
With no player having won more than two PGA TOUR events this year, the scene heading into the DBC illustrates as much parity as has been seen in the five years of the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Hoffman climbed from No. 59 to No. 2 in the 2010 FedExCup Playoff standings by virtue of his DBC win and finished No. 4 in the final standings.
Last year, Hoffman earned his second PGA TOUR title with a final round of torrid shot-making at TPC Boston. He made 11 birdies and carded a tournament-record and personal-best 9-under-par 62 on Labor Day to overcome a four-stroke deficit after three rounds and win by a record five strokes with a Championship record-tying overall score of 22-under 262. Hoffman tied a Championship record for the back nine by shooting 6-under 29.
“I haven’t played a better round of golf given the situation,” Hoffman said. “It was a lot of fun knowing that I could do that coming down the stretch in a big-time playoff event like the Deutsche Bank Championship. I think I was, sort of, the poster child last year for the FedExCup. I think what the TOUR is looking for is for someone to come from behind and have a chance to compete for the FedExCup, which I did.”
Since its inception in 2003, the DBC has generated USD 19.4 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation and many New England-area charities.
For more information about the Deutsche Bank Championship, click here.