Sep
21
2011
The FEC Parade of Possibilities
By Stephanie Wei under FedEx Cup

Furyk: Give me my wheelbarrow of money!

Some words of wisdom: Don’t try to figure out every possible scenario for Player X to win the FedExCup. The PGA Tour has done a good job breaking it down, but the possibilities seem endless, so just wait ’til it matters — Sunday afternoon. But for FedExCup diehards, the Tour has posted a list of scenarios for each of the top 30 to win the $10 million prize:

No. 1 Webb Simpson
• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the FedExCup
• 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 Dustin Johnson
• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-3 finish
• Can finish as low as sixth and still have a mathematical chance of winning
No. 3 Justin Rose
• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a second-place finish
• Can finish as low as fourth and still have a mathematical chance of winning
No. 4 Luke Donald
• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the FedExCup
• Has a reasonable chance of winning with a second-place finish
• Can finish as low as third and still have a mathematical chance of winning
No. 5 Matt Kuchar
• If he wins the TOUR Championship he wins the FedExCup
• Can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning
No. 6 Brandt Snedeker
• Must win THE TOUR Championship AND No. 1 must finish third or worse
• Can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning
No. 7 Nick Watney
• Must win THE TOUR Championship AND
• No. 1 and No. 2 must finish third or worse
No. 8 Chez Reavie
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 or No. 2 must finish third or worse
• No. 3 must finish second or worse*
No. 9 John Senden
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 2 and No. 3 must finish third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse*
No.10 Jason Day
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 2 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 3 must finish third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish second or worse*
No. 11 Gary Woodland
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish third or worse
No. 12 Steve Stricker
#149; Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 and No. 5 must finish third or worse
No. 13 K.J. Choi
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish eighth or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 and No. 5 must finish third or worse
No. 14 Phil Mickelson
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish ninth or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 and No. 5 must finish third or worse
No. 15 Mark Wilson
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish ninth or worse*
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4 and No. 5 must finish third or worse
• No. 6 must finish second or worse*
No. 16 David Toms
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 10th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 17 Jonathan Byrd
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 fi must finish 11th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 18 Bubba Watson
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 12th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 19 Adam Scott
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 13th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 20 Keegan Bradley
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 13th or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 21 Hunter Mahan
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 13th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse*
• No. 3 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 4*, No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 22 Jason Dufner
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 14th or worse
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse
• No. 3 and No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 23 Vijay Singh
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 15th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse
• No. 3 and No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 24 Geoff Ogilvy
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 17th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse
• No. 3 and No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 25 Bill Haas
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 19th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse
• No. 3 and No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 26 Charles Howell III
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 21th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish sixth or worse*
• No. 3* and No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 27 Aaron Baddeley
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 23th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 3 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 28 Y.E. Yang
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 25th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 3 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 29 Fredrik Jacobson
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 27th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 3 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse
No. 30 Bo Van Pelt
• Must win THE TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 29th or worse*
• No. 2 must finish seventh or worse
• No. 3 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 4 must finish fourth or worse
• No. 5 and No. 6 must finish third or worse

Basically, if you’re outside the top five in points, you have to win the Tour Championship and then hope for those in the top five to play badly. What’s strange to me is that Matt Kuchar can win the FedExCup without actually winning a tournament this season.

Geoff Ogilvy has a pretty good grasp on what he has to do.

“I have to make sure No. 1 finishes, what, 16th? And No. 2 finishes 5th or something,” said Ogilvy in his presser on Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club. “Webb Simpson must finish 17th or worse, which is probably not going to happen, you wouldn’t think. Dustin Johnson has to finish 6th or worse. Justin (Rose) and Luke (Donald) have to finish 4th or worse, which isn’t going to happen because Luke doesn’t finish out of the top 3 anymore, does he?

“I’d love to win this golf tournament. That would be nice because people are forgetting this is one of the Tour’s special golf courses…so it’s still the Tour Championship and it would still be — at the end of your career — it would be pretty special to have a Tour Championship on your mantle as it would a PLAYERS championship, as it would a special tournament amongst all other tournaments. So I guess I’ll view it like that and try to win, and if the right things happen, that would be great. But to think that I was 91st going into Boston to have actually just played the tournament, I think is a good result.”

I agree. What Ogilvy’s done in the last month has been impressive.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem spoke Tuesday about the success of the playoffs and how the guys have embraced it, but didn’t rule out the possibility of tweaking the system again.

“We’re open, and we still have that one sitting out there that we talked about the last couple years in terms of the amount of volatility early in the Playoffs where a player can blow by a lot of guys, and is that a good thing or a bad thing,” said Finchem. ” You can debate that back and forth.  It’ll continue to be debated.

“I’m sure there are some other things that will be debated.  But a couple years ago, we said, why don’t we just take a break here and let it sit for a bit, and I think there’s been a growing recognition that you’ve got to play well all year, but then you’ve got to play well when you need to play well in the Playoffs because they mean more.  So the pressure builds and, as this thing has moved on, I think fans like that.  They like to see that.”

Well, fans — what do you think? Do you like to see the pressure building? Can you sense the pressure building?

Kuchar said Wednesday he thinks the formula works.

“Looking back, thinking that the Playoffs was something that said you were one of the best of the year,” he said. “It’s a great thing to be able to say, not that you just had one great week, but you have a great year.  So I think the Playoffs have become a great event.

“I think there’s so many different ways to look at it, and I was in a position last year where being the No. 1 seed, I had won one of the playoff events, I had had a great, very consistent year, I finished second.  I realized that the Playoffs in any other sport, if you have an off week, you go home.  Even if it’s the first week, even if you’ve been the best team all year and you have a bad opening series, that’s it; you’re done.

“So I think what they’ve done with our Playoffs in golf is kind of a happy medium between giving the guy that’s played well all year an advantage and also knowing that this time of year is what they’re really putting emphasis on, and so having some movement, having five times the amount of points, so there’s a lot of movement, yet there’s still some weight towards having a good, consistent year.  So I think the overall system is really a good system.”

Hunter Mahan was more lukewarm about the system, saying he wasn’t sure if it was fair that a guy can play well for three weeks and then not win the FedExCup. Similar to Jim Furyk’s comments last week, he’s not a fan of the word “playoffs.”

“That would be match play,” he told me before his range session Wednesday morning.

“You could make it so there are 32 guys instead of 30. You might have to sacrifice ratings and take that risk, but if you get Tiger and Phil in the final match, then that’s a big win. I think match play would make it really interesting.”

In terms of ratings, it probably wouldn’t affect anything this year since Tiger wasn’t even in the Playoffs and the reality is golf will never be able to compete with football.

But the players do care about the FedExCup. When I asked Hunter if he felt pretty relaxed this week, he said, “Yeah, compared to last week…there was a lot going on with wanting to finish well so you put yourself in a good position for this week, making the Presidents Cup…”