PGA Tour Championship Starts Thurs., to Decide $10 M. FedEx Cup Winner

 @authorhmedwards
on September 19 2012 11:27 AM

The PGA Tour Championship starts Thurs., Sept. 20 through the week-end at East Lake in Atlanta, GA to decide who wins the FedEx Cup with total bonuses of $35 million, and $10 million dollars to the winner.  Everyone gets a piece of the pie with payouts like, $3 million for second, $2 million for third, and all the way to the 30th player getting $175,000. FedEx Cup leader Rory McIlroy with 4 wins this season is followed by Tiger Woods with 3 wins for the year. Nick Watney is 3rd; Phil Mickelson is 4th; and Brian Snedecker is 5th.  Even though each of the 30 players has a chance to win the FedEx Cup because points are reset for the Tour Championship, odds are that the winner will be from the top five. Can Milroy win three events in a row; Tiger capture that elusive major; or someone else sneak in for the win?

 

It would be hard to bet against McIlroy who has proven his melt, yet history has not been kind to the Tour Champ, and it might be too much too soon for him. Only Vijay Singh in 2008 and Tiger Woods in 2007 and 2009 have gone into the Tour Championships as #1 and won the FedEx Cup. The last two years have produced winners well outside of the top five. Last year, the winner Bill Haas entered the championship at #25.  In 2010, winner Jim Furyk went into the Championship at #11, so my predictions might not bear out.

 

One of the reasons that lower players have a chance is that points from the year are only considered in assigning a new set of points for players. So, McIlroy starts play with 2,500 pts., Tiger has 2,250 pts., Watney has 2,000, Mickelson has 1,800, and Snedecker has 1,600.  Each succeeding player has points diminished approximately by 200 pts.  

 

According to www.pga.com, the following scenarios could possibly play out to win the FedExCup:

 

No. 1 Rory McIlroy

• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the Cup

• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-5 finish

• Can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

No. 2 Tiger Woods

• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the Cup

• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-3 finish

• Can finish as low as a 3-way tie for 6th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

No. 3 Nick Watney

• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the Cup

• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a 2nd place finish

• Can finish as low as T-4 and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

No. 4 Phil Mickelson

• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the Cup

• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a 2nd place finish

• Can finish as low as T-3 and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

No. 5 Brandt Snedeker

• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the Cup

• Can finish as low as a 3-way tie for 2nd and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

The course at East Lake, ranked 18th on the tour, can be problematic at times. The 70 par 7,154 yard course was re-done in 2008 to restore the course to "Its original fast and firm conditions." East Lake’s signature hole is the 168-yard, par-3 sixth, which plays from an elevated tee to a diagonally angled peninsula green.

 

East Lake Golf Club, the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones, is the oldest golf course in Atlanta. The club donates proceeds from operations to support the East Lake Foundation which helped to revitalize the surrounding area and public housing project. 

 

The only person to really tame the course was Zach Johnson in 2009 who shot 60 in the 3rd round finishing tied for 2nd. However, Woods in 2007 led throughout the final round at East Lake, carding a four-under-par 66. Leading up to the Tour Championship this year Woods has finished 42, 3rd, and 4th. Woods does not have to win the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup; he just has to playing consistent through the week-end with his grooved in swing on a course he has fared well on in 13 starts shooting in the 60s in 31 of his 48 rounds.

 

Nothing is more important than who feels most confident, because everyone is talented. Which person on this fall week-end rises to the occasion, manages the course, plays consistently, and handles the pressure. If you're looking for a pick, go with Woods. He is due if he takes better care of his approaches and putting. Mickelson, who has also risen to the occasion, can be a spoiler. One thing for sure it will be good television ratings with star pairings like McIlroy and Woods, the dueling leaders from the last three tournaments, and a boat load of money.

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