Sep
15
2012
30 guys, 1 cup: your Tour Championship study pack has arrived
By Conor Nagle under FedEx Cup

Hurrah for mathematics! Hurrah!

I’ll be returning to the question of the FedEx Cup format – and the PGA Tour’s decision to use the event’s convoluted ranking system as the measure by which it will determine playing eligibility from 2014 – in the coming days, as pre-tournament preparations at East Lake begin to gather momentum.

In the meantime, however, you can entertain yourselves with this: a breakdown of what each Tour Championship qualifier needs to either do, avoid doing or rely on happening in order to end the regular season $10million wealthier.

It’s worth stressing, I think, that the following numbers were crunched at PGA Tour HQ (presumably by a team of NASA game theorists) and distributed to the press corps but yesterday afternoon.

You see, I’ve decided to stage a mini-protest and abstain from all weighing of permutations and forecasting of outcomes. Yes, it might prove a pointless, even counterproductive, gesture, but come Sunday evening, the FedEx Cup champion and I will share something in common: we’ll both be entirely unable to explain quite how he came to be holding a giant cheque for $10million.

I’m banking on that yielding a priceless nugget of psychological insight. (Feel free to take notes, students of journalism.)

Ahem:

No. 1 Rory McIlroy
· If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
· Has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-five 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 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 Nick Watney
· 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 Phil Mickelson
· 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 Brandt Snedeker
· If he wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
· Can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning

No. 6 Louis Oosthuizen
· Must win the TOUR Championship AND Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish third or worse
· Can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning

No. 7 Dustin Johnson
· Must win the TOUR Championship AND Rory McIlory (No. 1) and Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish third
or worse

No. 8 Lee Westwood
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish third or worse*; Tiger Woods
(No. 2) must finish third or worse; and Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes second or worse.*

No. 9 Zach Johnson
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish fourth or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) and Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish third or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish second or worse*

No. 10 Jason Dufner
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish fifth or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fourth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish third or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish third or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish second or worse*

No. 11 Bubba Watson
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish seventh or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Wateny (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish third or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish third or worse

No. 12 Sergio Garcia
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish seventh or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) and Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish third or worse

No. 13 Steve Stricker
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish eighth or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) and Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish third or worse

No. 14 Keegan Bradley
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish ninth or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) and Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish third or worse

No. 15 Luke Donald
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish ninth or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) and Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) must finish third or worse
· Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish second or worse

No. 16 Matt Kuchar
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 10th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 17 Carl Pettersson
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 11th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 18 Jim Furyk
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 12th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 19 Bo Van Pelt
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 13th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 20 Robert Garrigus
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 13th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4), Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 21 Adam Scott
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 13th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish fifth or worse*
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fourth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4)*, Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or
worse

No. 22 Ernie Els
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 14th or worse
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish sixth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 23 Hunter Mahan
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 15th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish sixth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 24 Justin Rose
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 17th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish sixth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 25 Webb Simpson
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 19th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish sixth or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 26 John Huh
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 21th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish sixth or worse*
· Nick Watney (No. 3)* and Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 27 Rickie Fowler
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 23th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish seventh or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fifth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 28 Ryan Moore
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 25th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish seventh or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fifth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 29 John Senden
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 27th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish seventh or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fifth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

No. 30 Scott Piercy
· Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
· Rory McIlroy (No. 1) must finish 29th or worse*
· Tiger Woods (No. 2) must finish seventh or worse
· Nick Watney (No. 3) must finish fifth or worse
· Phil Mickelson (No. 4) must finish fourth or worse
· Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) must finish third or worse

Clear?

If, like me, you occasionally suffer from exam-related nightmares, it might be wise to avoid dwelling on the above.

Conor Nagle