Here’s hoping for at least one playoff. The Tour Championship and FedExCup finale have a tough act to follow after the thrilling finish to the Solheim Cup! (And competing with football and baseball games this afternoon.)
54-hole co-leaders Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan parred the first five holes to remain at nine-under, but both dropped a shot on the par-3 No. 6. Baddeley dumped his tee shot into the water. Mahan knocked a tough chip to seven feet, but pulled the putt. They matched bogeys and now there’s a three-way tie at the top between Baddeley, Mahan and K.J. Choi, who birdied No. 5.
When I last looked I believe Choi was projected No. 9 in points, but now that he’s tied for the lead, he’s No. 1, followed by Mahan at No. 2 and Baddeley at No. 3.
Here are the scenarios for a playoff for the FedExCup (of course there could be a playoff for the Tour Championship that would have to predicate a second one for the FEC), according to PGATour.com:
*Hunter Mahan wins the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Mahan enters Sunday’s final round tied with Aaron Baddeley for the 54-hole lead.
*Luke Donald finishes solo third. Donald enters the final round tied for fifth.
*Webb Simpson finishes solo 13th. Simpson enters the final round tied for 15th.
In those scenarios, Mahan, Donald and Simpson would each finish with 2,800 FedExCup points and thus require a playoff following the completion of the tournament.
Of course, if Donald finishes second or Simpson finishes higher than 13th, either one might be in position to win the FedExCup outright without having to win the tournament. (Note: Should Donald finish solo second, then Simpson would need to finish in at least a two-way tie for third to overtake him in points.)
If a playoff is needed to determine the FedExCup, it would happen after the tournament champion is determined. If a playoff for the tournament title is needed, that would take place first, then followed by a FedExCup playoff.
In other words, in the above scenario, if Mahan is tied for the lead after 72 holes, he would participate in a tournament playoff. Should he win that, then he would turn right around and participate in a FedExCup playoff.
Got all that?
Bill Haas, who was tied for the lead before going bogey, double-bogey in the last two holes Saturday, is hanging in there at fourth. He’s one-under for the day through 8.
Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson, who was in good position to make a charge, continues to putt poorly. So much for the belly putter. Lefty is even through nine, but we’ve seen him miss several makeable birdies. He’s still T5. So is Luke Donald.
Jason Day is going backwards again, two-over for the round, T5.
“Official” FedExCup points leader Webb Simpson hasn’t played great all week, but he’s really struggling today — four-over through 13. Maybe he has 10 million things going through his head. Unless Webb turns it around in the last five holes, the FEC remains wide open. So does the Tour Championship. Check that — Webb is projected No. 1 now. WTF is going on?!
*Update: Whoa, what do we have here? Since I started writing this, there’s now a four-way tie for the lead. This is starting to get interesting…Haas birdied No. 9 to join Choi, Mahan and Baddeley atop the leaderboard at eight-under. Oh wait, it’s a three-way tie — Choi just DOUBLE-BOGEYED the 8th hole. So now Haas, Baddeley and Mahan share the lead and Mahan is projected at No. 1 in FEC points. OK, I’m going to stop updating all of this because it’s changing every second.
Who’s your best bet to win the Tour Championship? The FEC? Well, the later is nearly impossible to figure out…unless Luke gets hot. As for the former — well, your guess is as good as mine! Baddeley? He’s the best putter. Other than Donald, of course. I’m heading out to the course.
Oh, just curious if anyone finds Steve the weatherman Sands and the whiteboard helpful? Le sigh. At least they got Sands a cooler board this year.
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)